Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mushroom, Asparagus and Tempeh Sauté

For several years now I've been reading and loving Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks. So have tons of other people, actually, including critics who have bestowed lots of awards upon it. With its killer combination of healthy vegetarian recipes, beautiful photography and elegant prose it is definitely deserving of all those honors. Since I wanted Heidi's personal voice and wonderful food to have a permanent place on my shelf, I gifted myself a copy of her latest book - Super Natural Every Day.

The book is every bit as gorgeous as her blog. Most of the recipes include ingredients that most of us don't use on a daily basis (harissa, farro and green curry paste, just to name a few) but the end result is worth going on a grocery scavenger hunt. I didn't cook tempeh for years, precisely because I didn't want to go on a Whole Foods expedition. As of recently though, both Harris Teeter and Trader Joe's have started carrying it so I've put it on our regular protein rotation. I decided to substitute it for seitan in the Mushroom Sauté recipe in the book and the result was fantastic. Just ask my coworkers how good my leftovers smelled today.

Mushroom, Asparragus and Tempeh Sauté
Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day  
Makes 3 servings
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 oz / 230 g tempeh, cut into about 1/2 inch / 1.25 cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds or slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter 
  • 9 oz / 255 g fresh mushrooms, sliced or cut into strips (I used a mix of shiitakes and creminis)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz / 340 g thin asparagus, though ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch / 2.5 cm pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
1.  In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh, sprinkle it with about 1/4 teaspoon salt and give it a stir. Once it's brown on one side, which should take a couple minutes, flip it with a spatula to give the other sides a chance to brown. Repeat until most sides are golden. About a couple minutes before the tempeh is done, toss in the sunflower seeds. Once the sunflower seeds are toasted, remove everything from the pan and set it aside. Wipe down the pan so you can use it for the mushrooms.

2.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of non-dairy butter over medium-high heat. Toss in the mushrooms and sauté them undisturbed for about 4 minutes or until their undersides are brown. Flip the mushrooms over with a spatula and let the other side brown. When the mushrooms are almost done, add the garlic, asparagus, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Give everything a quick stir and let it cook for about a minute.

3. Stir the tempeh and sunflower seeds back in and remove the pan from the heat. Add in the lemon zest and serve immediately. We enjoyed our sauté with these vegan twice baked potatoes.

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