Tandoori Tempeh Kabobs with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Tempeh is hands-down my favorite soy product. Pronounced temp-ay, tempeh is a fermented soybean product that also contains whole grains (I love the Organic 3 Grain Tempeh from Trader Joe’s, which includes millet, barley and brown rice), giving it a nice texture and crunchiness. High in protein and fiber and with mostly unsaturated fat, tempeh is a wonderful vegan/vegetarian protein.

What I like most about tempeh, however, is its versatility. I can cut it into strips, cube it, halve it and even mash it to incorporate it into various recipes. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and naturally pairs well with Asian flavors, however, I love using it for other types of cuisine: rustic, with carrots and onions and earthy herbs like rosemary, “down-home,” with BBQ sauce, corn and greens and even sweetened up with roasted acorn squash, nuts and dried fruit. Here’s my latest concoction: tempeh skewers (who doesn’t love food on a stick??) with peanut dipping sauce. You can also see some of my other tempeh creations below (blog posts to follow).

Tandoori Tempeh Kabobs with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce:

Tandoori_Tempeh_Kabobs

Ingredients:

Tempeh Kabobs:

  • 1/2 block of tempeh (I used the aforementioned TJ Organic 3 Grain Tempeh), cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots, preferable organic
  • 1 Tbsp tandoori spice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Sriracha sauce, to taste
  • 2 skewers (can you tell I used chopsticks??)

Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp low sodium teriyaki sauce (I like the Island Teriyaki version from TJ, which contains yummy sesame seeds)
  • Sriracha, to taste

Directions:

In medium saute pan, heat olive oil for 1 minute. Add carrots and saute 5 minutes. While carrots are cooking, toss tempeh with tandoori spice (or if you’re lazy, sprinkle tandoori over tempeh) and skewer. When carrots are done, transfer from pan to plate and add tandoori tempeh skewers to pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until you get a nice sear on all sides of tempeh. Serve skewers over cooked carrots and garnish with Sriracha sauce.

For dipping sauce, heat peanut butter for 20-30 seconds in microwave, or until the peanut butter is nice and melty. Add teriyaki sauce and Sriracha to taste.

 

More tempeh favorites:

Tempeh and Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh_Eggplant_Ratatouille

 

Tempeh-Stuffed Acorn Squash:

Tempeh_Stuffed_Acorn_Squash

 

Farmers Market WTF: Part 4 – Eggplant

Turkish Eggplant

Bored of eggplant? Though eggplant is pretty well known (not really a “wtf” farmers market find), with its blandish taste, you may be getting tired of this vegetable.

Besides the old stand-by, Eggplant Parmesan, what else can you do with eggplant?

I set out to explore this question after picking up some eggplant from the Green City Market. I prefer a smaller eggplant, so I went with some Turkish eggplant (pictured above), along with Chinese eggplant, which is thinner than standard eggplant. The Turkish eggplants look like mini pumpkins, right?

Eggplants are often used as a meat replacement, though they are not high in protein. They are, however, high in fiber. For about a cup of eggplant, you’ll get 2 grams of fiber for only 20 calories. So, for 2 cups (enough to keep you satisfyingly full), it’ll only cost you 40 calories (plus the added bonus of 4 grams of fiber). Eggplants also contain potassium, which helps counteract salt consumption and aids in muscle function.

Keep in mind that fiber generally means filling, making eggplant an excellent addition to meals. I wanted to try using mine in a couple different ways. Let me say first that eggplant is delicious when roasted in the oven, but with the extremely hot weather in Chicago, I’ve been trying not to turn the oven on. So, the following two recipes were done on a stove top – sans oven.
Eggplant Recipe No. 1: Tempeh & Eggplant “Ratatouille:”

Tempeh & Eggplant Ratatouille

Ingredients:

  • 3 ounces tempeh (a fermented soy + grain product similar to tofu)
  • 1 Chinese eggplant, cubed
  • 1 ounce mozzarella cheese (I used a Trader Joe’s fresh mozzarella stick), shredded/chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 basil leaves, washed and diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

  • Sprinkle eggplant with salt (this will draw out some of the water from the eggplant, making it easier/better for sauteeing).
  • Heat garlic in olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add eggplant and saute for about 5 minutes. Add tempeh and saute another 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and basil.

Easy, no? The above recipe is for a single serving. You can double, triple, etc. depending on how many people you’re feeding.

Eggplant Recipe No. 2: Eggplant Chips

Okay, so this one is not so much a recipe as much as a method for cooking the eggplant.

Eggplant chips, served with carrot top pesto smeared whitefish (over purple kale).

Directions:Cut eggplant into 1/4″ slices and sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture. Cook in a lightly oiled (or use cooking spray) pan for about 3-4 minutes per side (depending on how crispy you like the slices).

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.