June 22, 2013 in Fiber, Food and Recipes, General Inspiration, Health, Nutrition, Tempeh, Tofu, Vegetarianism by Matt Maggiacomo

Guys, I seriously haven’t gotten over my excitement about summer. The best part is that it’s just beginning, and the season’s full vegetable bounty has yet to be unleashed!

I wanted to share a few more recipes that have scored big hits with my family. And when I say my family, I’m talking about myself and my wife, Lauren, who is an omnivore. The best thing about Lauren is that she likes good food, no matter what it is, so when she approves of one of my new recipes, I know it’s a keeper.

All of these recipes fall under the same category: They all involve creative uses of tofu and tempeh (aka, minimally processed soy protein) that are designed to satisfy omnivores and vegetarians alike. Additionally, these recipes all employ some fresh, locally sourced plants!

First up, my new favorite: Basil Almond Pesto Tempeh!

First of all, I steamed some tempeh, fresh kale and carrots for about 12 minutes. While that was happening, I combined about a cup of fresh basil from our herb garden, a third of a cup of raw almonds, a tablespoon and a half of cold-pressed olive oil, two cloves of garlic, a teaspoon (maybe two) of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt in a food processor, and then I pulsed until well chopped and mixed.

Final step: I put the steamed stuff on a plate, and I spooned the pesto onto the tempeh. The result was seriously one of the most delicious dishes I’ve assembled in months. Here’s a picture!

Basil Almond Pesto Tempeh with steamed kale and carrots!

Basil Almond Pesto Tempeh with steamed kale and carrots!

Next: Vegan Tofu “Egg” Salad Lettuce Wrap!

One of Lauren’s favorite dishes in the whole world is egg salad. I enjoy it too, and so I’ve devised a vegan version that’s based on this recipe.

The catch is that I’ve developed my own take on the recipe, and I’m keeping it TOP SECRET in case I ever decide to write a cookbook. I might send it to you if you ask really nice. But I also might not. Sorry.

In the spirit of summer, I served the salad in a large leaf of fresh romaine lettuce, along with steamed kale on the side (you may have gathered that I really enjoy steamed kale). Here’s a picture!

Vegan Tofu Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap with steamed kale.

Vegan Tofu Egg Salad Lettuce Wrap with steamed kale.

Finally, Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu with Tomato and Basil Sauce!!

This one satisfies my old love for chicken parmesan. Really, the protein you use doesn’t alter the taste very much — what matters most is the delicious breading and the act of frying the “cutlet” in high quality olive oil.

My favorite trick is to use corn meal as a base and add spices to it. This time around, I added a few pinches each of rosemary, garlic salt, and paprika, and just a half a pinch of cayenne pepper for kick. I dredged slices of firm tofu in this mixture and then fried them lightly in a non-stick pan with just a tablespoon of olive oil. (Pro Tip: When cooking with olive oil, I keep the heat just below medium to avoid reaching the oil’s smoking point; this keeps the fats from becoming unstable and losing their nutritional value.)

Meanwhile, I started some fresh onions and garlic with olive oil in a large saute pan, cooked them on low-medium until soft and translucent, and then added large can of organic crushed tomatoes (not fresh, I know, but I’m super picky about tomatoes and everything in the store sucks right now, and I’d rather used good canned tomatoes than crappy fresh tomatoes — just my preference).

What made this sauce awesome was that it required only ONE other ingredient: more fresh basil from our herb garden! Here’s a pic of this magic in progress:

Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu with Basil and Tomato Sauce!

Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu with Basil and Tomato Sauce!


Question of the Day: What’s cookin’ in your kitchen?!