Thursday, August 11, 2011

MexiTempeh with Cheesy Polenta

Leafy greens. Not featured in the title of this recipe, because this recipe is for those that don’t like leafy greens. For the vegetarians that hate vegetables. For the children that grew up on hot dish. This dish is every bit as comforting as the mysterious casserole and every bit as convenient as the sensational Hamburger Helper. Ok, maybe not every bit as convenient, but this is super easy. You have no excuses.

Back to the leafy greens. Hopefully everyone knows by now that these sturdy green leaves pack a lot of nutrition. Kale is now commonly referred to as a super food, and it is. Other types have just as much bang for their buck. Chard, beet greens, mustard greens – these are all not only healthy but they each have unique flavors and complexities. The trick is in preparing them with enough complimentary flavor to counter some of the minor challenges they have. One being bitterness and the other being texture. Cooked too short, they will be bitter and chewy. Cooked too long and they will be flavorless mush.

In the case of veg haters, the nutritional components and soft flavors of greens matter not. It is those that cook for veg haters that must meet the challenge. I am one of those cooks. Do I criticize my fellow herbivores or loving omnivores for hating on greens? I could never be so harsh. But I will sneak them into my meals. All of them.

One of my new favorite go-to greens is the Trader Joe’s bag of braising greens – conveniently washed and chopped for your green-sneaking pleasure. Whole Foods has also starting offering braising green in bulk next to the salad greens. So now you really have no excuses! For this particular recipe, the spicy pizazz of cumin and chili powder will help to mask your good intentions as well. The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to make the greens invisible.

MexiTempeh over Cheesy Polenta
Serves: 2
Cook time: 25 minutes


2 tsp. canola oil
½ medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, sliced or minced
½ pkg tempeh, crumbled/broken into large chunks
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
(If you don’t have all those, use 1-2 T. taco seasoning)
¾ c. canned fire roasted tomatoes with chilis such as Rotel
3 c. leafy greens (collards, kale, mustard, chard etc.)
2 tsp. flour (garbanzo, potato or all purpose)
Dash of cinnamon
¼ c. cilantro, chopped


In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 30 seconds until fragrant. Stir in crumbled tempeh and spices. Cook until tempeh starts to brown, about 8-10 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

When pan starts to become dry, add in tomatoes and leafy greens. Add ¼ cup of water if mixture is too thick to make a light sauce. Sprinkle flour over stew and stir to thicken. Cook another 5-7 minutes, or until greens are wilted and tender. Turn the heat off. Sprinkle a faint dash of cinnamon over the top and stir in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cheesy Polenta


2 c. Water
½ c. Polenta
½ tsp Salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp miso paste
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp salt
2 T. Nutritional Yeast


In a large sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Slowly add polenta in an even stream, whisking vigorously to avoid clumps. When polenta comes to a boil, lower heat to low and add in remaining ingredients. Let polenta simmer another 15 minutes or so until tender.

1 comment:

  1. This looks fantastic and sound very appetising. Must try!