BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Rainbow Slaw

Hi, weather? Is that you? Oh, hi it’s Cory, and I have to admit you’re leaving me more confused than my chemistry textbook.  One day you’re above 80 and I’m drinking a Dogfish poolside and the next it’s pouring down rain. It would be lovely if you could make up your mind!  I dreamt up these wonderful sammich’s when it was hotter than purgatory and now I’m bundled up in my rain jacket cursing the sky because I can’t ride my bicycle.

Wellllll, I am going to post this recipe anyway 🙂

BBQ sauce is inextricably reminiscent of summer time, just the mere aroma of it can send me delving into a wonderful summertime nostalgia. But what to slather it in if you don’t eat meat? Tempeh! DUH! If you have never heard of tempeh, well today is your lucky day.

Tempeh is similar to tofu, but in my opinion, much better. It’s dense, chewy, and much more similar to meat than tofu.  You can buy it at most grocery stores in the natural food section! It’s basically fermented soy; and before all you health-food-phobics tear your hair out and run the other way screaming, that just means it’s easier for us to digest!  Along with offering up a hefty amount of protein and B vitamins, tempeh is a probiotic; it contains bacteria good for our gut.  Please don’t get me started on which bacteria because I am a gigantic microbiology nerd and won’t be able to stop myself once I start.

Rhizopus Oligosporus.

Okay sorry, that was it. I’m done. I feel much better now.

BBQ and coleslaw…they go together like peas and carrots.

bbq1

…Only better.

This recipe perfectly pairs tempeh smothered in a thick smokey homemade BBQ sauce with a tart refreshing and crispy apple coleslaw. Squash it between two pieces of bread and we’ve got a duo that’s sexier together than Brangelina.

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches with Rainbow Coleslaw

  • 8 oz package of tempeh

For the BBQ Sauce:

  • 1.5 cups ketchup
  • 1.5 T white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 T liquid smoke
  • 1 T sweetener of your choice: honey/brown sugar/agave

For the Slaw:

  • 2 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large green apple
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T honey/agave
  • juice of 1/2 lime or lemon
  • salt/pepper
  1. Prepare the tempeh first: cut the block into thin strips and steam for 10-15 minutes.  Lay strips in a glass baking dish and set aside
  2. Now make the BBQ sauce!  Add all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat, stirring very frequently over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Stir that sauce like your life depended on it. The fate of this sandwich rests solely in your hands. I mean whisk. Add more paprika for more heat, and less liquid smoke if you prefer a less smokey sauce.  If you’re a fan of sweeter BBQ sauce, add more sweetener, but calm down you sugar fiend, not too much because it will burn faster when you cook the tempeh.  Trust meh.  Taste and add more salt/pepper if you deem it necessary.
  3. Smother the tempeh in the sauce, coating both sides, and let marinate for at least an hour.
  4. When the tempeh is more saucy than my mother on Mardi Gras, it’s ready to bake.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then flip the tempeh and bake another 10.
  5. While the tempeh is cookin’, prepare the slaw.  Cut the cabbage and apples into really thin strips.  Mix all the liquid ingredients and add in the apples and cabbage at the end, coating them sufficiently.
  6. Toast up some carb-e-liscious bread (or gluten free bread…) and stack tempeh and slaw in between. For a more savory sammich’, I would switch out the cabbage in the slaw for carrots, add 2 T tahini to the slaw, and then layer a slice of gouda cheese in there. This ain’t no Burger King, but you can still have it your way.

 

And don’t think I forgot the music in this post.  (I almost did.  Blasphemy.)

Speaking of excellent duos (peas/carrots, Brangelina, BBQ sauce/coleslaw…) I present to you a new and exciting feel-good jam from San Francisco based boy-girl duo CATHEDRALS.  It’s called Harlem and I’ve got this on replay. Bump this as you’re shreddin’ them apples.

Cacao Date Shake

Okay, so I solemnly swore not to make any dumb date puns on this post but the temptation is all too great.  And I just. can’t. resist.

…I’ve got a hot date tonight.

With my boyfriend  blender. And trust me, it’s going to be really, really good.  No awkward moments where you both pretend to reach for the bill.  You don’t have to laugh at his corny jokes. You don’t have to make out after you’ve scarfed down a salad filled to the brim with red onions.  Just sit…and sip.

Have you ever craved a chocolate milkshake? Umm…yeah, me too. Far too often than I care to admit.  As in liiiiiike…every day.  And this delicious shake satisfies that sweet tooth. I wouldn’t be posting it if it didn’t.  You think I’d be all up on here posting a weenie little vegan shake that tastes like chalk and rabbit pellet?  Absolutely not.

photo 2

This shake is made with bananas, almond milk, cacao/cocoa, and WOAH you guessed it, sweetened with dates.  I started experimenting with dates when I began cutting back on refined sugars in my baking.  Along with honey, maple syrup, and agave, it turns out making a paste from thick and chewy dates is a wonderful way to add a little natural sweetness. Dates, despite their off-putting wrinkly exterior (see off-putting photo above), are loaded with fiber, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and K.  Mix them up with the rest of the ingredients like potassium-loaded banana and fibrous chia seeds, and you’ve got pure unadulterated creamy dreamy chocolatey goodness that’s healthy, too.

Ladies can I get an amen.

photo 1

Aaaaaand it’s amazing topped with granola for a nice pre-sweat-inducing bicycle ride.

Cacao Date Shake

  • 3 Medjool dates (these are the stickier, sweeter type but really any type will do)
  • 2.5 T cacao (unsweetened cocoa powder will work beautifully too!)
  • 1 banana, frozen if possible
  • 1 cup almond milk, or other non dairy beverage like soymilk
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 4 or 5 ice cubes

The directions are about as simple as it gets:

  1. Add ingredients to blender….
  2. Blend.
  3. Are we following? Groovy.  But wait!  There is ONE exception: the dates!  You can either let them soak for 10 minutes in warm water or (if lazy like myself, read on) throw them in a bowl, cover with water, and microwave for about a minute or a minute and a half. Then take out the pits and add them in with everything else and blend, blend, blend away!
  4. If you have time to plan ahead, it is best to add the chia seeds to the nut milk and let them soak for a good 10 minutes.  Chia seeds are super absorbent little guys and they will thicken up the milk.  This shake is great plain, or you can put on your fancy pants and top it with almond butter, granola, or fresh fruit.
  5. Getcho’ sip on.

 

This sun is out, the birds are chirping…spring is definitely in the air….and all this talk of dates. And hot dates for that matter, or in my case, complete lack thereof.   Regardless, here’s a sweet little lovey dovey ditty by The Donkeys to soothe you while you stab the Blend button repeatedly. Happy Friday kids.

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Here is a green dish that does not involve corned beef, cabbage, or anything Irish for that matter.  But hey, it’s still green!  Eat this and you won’t get pinched!

There’s a saying in my house, “once you start cooking spaghetti squash, ya don’t look back.”

Alright, so I completely made that up. Totally BS. But still, if there WERE a saying in my house, it might be that one. Who knew that you could create spaghetti from a squash? The first time I tried it I felt like how jesus must have felt when he turned water into wine. If only I could turn squash into wine….hmm…more pondering shall be done on that later.

This is great news for all my gluten-free people, but even you gluttonous gluten-devourers (you know who you are…and I’m looking in the mirror with a guilty look on my face and a feeling of shame) can appreciate this recipe.  It’s simple and so delicious.  Honestly, the most difficult part is getting the stupid squash open.  Normally for me this requires hacking the thing in half with a large knife while whoever is within a 20 foot radius of me gasps in horror and prays for my safety.  It can be difficult as spaghetti squashes are rather large and pretty thick, but with several swift stabs and a nice set of muscles on your arms (just kidding, if I can do it, you can do it!) it can be pried open in a few minutes.

Most pesto recipes use parmesan cheese, but the vegan part of this recipe comes from the fact that the cheese is replaced by nutritional yeast.  Don’t be scared by the name! I promise it is not vegan alien food. It hails from the earth and it’s delicious. It’s packed with vitamin B, zinc, folic acid, selenium, and even protein! It packs a punch of flavor that most describe as cheesy and nutty…many people actually put it on their popcorn.  I absolutely LOVE cooking with this stuff, it’s sold as a powder and you can find it in the bulk section of your grocery store. Now, where were we? Ah, yes, spaghetti.  Spaghetti with pesto. Yessssss, of course. Luck of the Irish…er….Italian..

Pesto Spaghetti Squash

  • 1 spaghetti squash (large yellow & oval)
  • 8 T olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • 3 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 6 T pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  1. Start by cooking up that beast of a squash. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Split the spaghetti squash in half with a large, slightly terrifying knife.  Scrape out the seeds and place each half, cut side up, on a baking dish.  Drizzle each half’s inside flesh with 2 T olive oil and a shake of salt and pepper.  Cook for 30-50 minutes depending on the size of the squash, just keep checking periodically. They are done when you can easily pierce the inside and drag a fork through the yellow part creating spaghetti-like strands all the way down to the rind.
  3. When it’s ready, fork out as much of the spaghetti strands as you can into a bowl and set aside.
  4. To make the pesto, put the nuts, basil, 1 tsp of salt, and garlic into a food processor until finely ground.
  5. Add remaining 6 T of olive oil to the pesto, then the nutritional yeast, and process until smooth and creamy.
  6. Combine ‘spaghetti’ and pesto sauce.  If you fancy a lot of sauce, I would double the sauce recipe 😉 Noms.

 

Because it’s St. Patty’s, you should totally jam out to some Irish music while you’re gettin down to bidness. Here’s an acoustic version of a Dropkick Murphys song. Cheers!

Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers

Behold…the magic, the mystery, the complete and absolute marvelousness! I have been scouring the earth (and by earth I mean online recipe database…) far and wide for literally a year and a half for an easy veggie burger recipe that doesn’t make your tastebuds shrivel in repugnance.

I have tried an endless amount of different combinations; quinoa and black bean, white bean and spinach, a variety of expensive nuts…and not one…ONE, I tell you, has tasted like anything but spiced up snippets of cardboard.  I wasn’t too hopeful about taking yet another stab at the whole vegan burger brigade, but I am beyond thrilled that I did.

 Chickpeas and lentils form the base, while a mix of seasonings like cumin and chili pepper give them their Indian-spice feel. They are a tiny bit spicy, so if you are a wimp not into heat, take out some of the chili peppers and jalapeños.  Also duly noted, these vegan and gluten free babies actually hold together just like their meaty equivalents!  This means we can cook them in the pan without fearing for their survival post-pan-flip.  What a concept, right?  Mind= blown.

These are fantastic for quick make-ahead lunches and dinners.  Or breakfasts if you’re a total weirdo (Hi, right there with you) and just reallllllly fancy these veggie burgers. Make them now, eat as many as humanly possible, then wrap the rest in tin foil and freeze.  Absolutely perfect on a toasted bun with hummus, tahini, or avocado. Perhaps all 3 if you’re feelin’ fine n’ fancy. Get some.

Spicy Indian Veggie Burgers 

  • 1/2 cup dried red or green lentils, cooked according to package
  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion diced finely
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup oat bran or oat flour..perhaps a little more (you can make this by simply putting rolled oats into a blender or food processor)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  1. Place chickpeas, lentils, garlic, and spices into a food processor and blend until the beans are very smooth.  If you don’t own a food processor, don’t worry.  Just smash the smithereens out of them until they become a paste.  Warning: this may require muscular arms….
  2. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl.  Stir in the red pepper, onion, jalapeño, and carrot.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.  Add in the oat flour slowly…use only as much as you need so that the burgers bind together and don’t fall apart.  You don’t want them to be droopy gooey hot messes but you don’t want a bunch of crumbly patties either.  Strike a balance here. Form them into normal sized patties.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat…make sure it’s non stick!  Spray the pan with olive/canola oil before you drop each burger in and, if needed, in between while flipping them.  Place a couple burgers in at a time and brown each side. Repeat until all the patties are done.  Stick ’em between burger buns or even lettuce rolls or on top of a fresh salad.  Some ahhhmazing toppings are hummus, guac/avocado, tahini, tomatoes, and duh…mustard&ketchup.
  4. These make about 9 burgers depending on how hideously ginormous or pathetically teeny you make them…wrap them individually in foil and freeze if you want to keep them around longer.  They will last for several months before tasting the way the back of the freezer smells 😉

Lastly, while I was crafting up these burgers and every nook and cranny of my house was filled with the smell of Indian food, I began to reflect on the time I saw Ravi Shankar perform in Santa Barbara at the Arlington Theatre. What an amazing performance, the sitar and the tabla never cease to move me.  They say that George Harrison was greatly influenced by Shankar, and here is a Beatles song to play while you cook.  I recently heard a slowed down acoustic version of Dear Prudence while dancing the night away at an old crumbling saloon in historic Folsom, and I can’t stop listening to the original… Dear Prudence- The Beatles