Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry

Tempeh is my new favorite plant protein source. It has an earthy, nutty texture that tends to take on the flavors it's cooked with. It's a fermented soy product (that means you'll get probiotics!) that comes in firm blocks that you can cut, crumble, or leave whole to cook. I have to admit though, the real reason I'm blogging about tempeh is because the nutrition geek in me loves that it's a metabolic motherload of nutrition.

Vitamins and minerals activate hundreds, if not thousands of enzymatic reactions that control chemical reactions happening in our organism everyday, every minute. That's right, we are organisms. Atoms that progress into molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and then finally an organism. Once I started thinking about "what my organism needs" vs "what I want," it changed the food perspective a bit. For example, your organism needs you to consume foods like spinach to harness the iron and make more hemoglobin. Your organism does not NEED you to consume fats and refined sugar in very large quantities. The only reason your organism THINKS you need that cookie (or second cookie) is because your brain is playing tricks on you. The dopamine receptors get altered with large sugar consumption (particularly sugar, fat, salt combo) and suddenly you need more and more to make those same dopamine receptors smile. It's a mischevious little grin because that extra sugar/fat causes inflammation, potenially leading to all sorts of conditions. Ok, done with the science lesson of the day. I understand that most of us don't think about what we eat in terms of turning on or off certain metabolic or hormonal pathways, but this crazy girl does (just every once in awhile!). 
I'll keep the tempeh nutritional powerhouse to the highlights:
3oz of tempeh will serve you:
*delicious nutty texture
*soaks up the flavors infused in the meal
*15g protein!
* 75% maganese! (carbohydrate and protein metabolism, joint fluid)
*~30% copper (hemoglobin formation, cholesterol utilization
* ~30% phosphorus (smile!-healthy teeth and bone builder, helps calcium absorption)
* ~23% vitamin B2
* ~20% magnesium (neuromuscular functions, helps cellular fluid shifts, bone and muscle function)

**I won't even get into the nutritional powerhouse of kale today!

Use Tempeh in this sauce or in your favorite stir-fry solution.

Tempeh and Kale Stir-Fry

1 block (8oz) tempeh, crumbled or cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water or rice vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large bunch of kale, thick center stems removed if desired (eliminates any bitterness)
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Stir tempeh, soy sauce, water/vinegar, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper in medium bowl. Let marinate 15 minutes up to 1 hour.
2.  Strain marinade from tempeh into small bowl; set tempeh aside. Whisk 2 tablespoons water, brown sugar, and cornstarch into marinade.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add marinated tempeh, bell pepper, and onion. Sauté 4 minutes until onions translucent and tempeh slightly browns. Add kale and marinade mixture. Sauté until kale is bright green and wilted while sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
4. Transfer into serving bowl and serve with brown rice.


  1. My wife is looking for a healthy recipe that she can cook later for our dinner because our kids is requesting to eat some veggie dish for our dinner. I think this is suited for their taste. Thanks for this!

    Easy Stir Fry