Tuesday, 19 August 2014

BBQ Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

       I can't believe I've surpassed 10 000 views! With just over 60 posts, its time for some change. I've been working on something new for the blog. I've been drawing away and tinkering with fonts to create a new title header. As soon as it's complete, I will update the blog and let all my followers know (if you aren't following me yet, go ahead and try it. You can follow No Empty Fridge by email by submitting your email in subscription app in the right sidebar). 

       Anyhoo, seeing as it's been great whether lately, chilly night and hot days, I've whipped up a tasty recipe for BBQ-style tempeh that is perfect on lettuce wraps. For those new to the product, tempeh is made from soy beans, like tofu, but the beans are left whole, then fermented and formed into bricks. Tempeh is a hearty source of protein for vegetarians that can really soak up flavour. The best way to get the most flavour in the shortest amount of time is to steam or boil the tempeh for 10-20 minutes first and then marinate it. By parcooking the tempeh, it absorbs the marinade better and much faster than if you where to solely marinate it. This method also makes the tempeh more moist, so it can better hold up to longer or dryer cooking methods, such as pan frying, baking and barbecuing. 
       I've used this recipe when making fajitas with cilantro lime rice and guacamole and most recently on lettuce wraps with couscous, avocado, balsamic-marinaded red onions and lemon-mustard marinated hearts of palm. So tasty! You can find out how I did all of this below, starting with the main attraction: BBQ Tempeh.  

Serves: 3-5


1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 cup (3 tbsp) ketchup 
3 tbsp sriracha or garlic chili paste 
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey or agave 
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)

3 tbsp vegan margarine


1. In a medium large pot with your steamer basket, add a couple of inches of water and place the full brick of tempeh in a the steamer. Steam for 10-20 minutes covered.
2. While the tempeh is steaming whisk together all ingredients in a sealable container. If you're making my lettuce wraps, you will also want to start preparing your other toppings, see below for more information.
3. When the tempeh is done steaming, let it cool, then slice it into about quarter inch strips, then cut those strips into 3 width wise. 
4. Place the chunks of tempeh into the marinate, seal well with the lid, shake and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, shaking or turning after 15 minutes. 
5. When you are ready to prepare your tempeh, heat up a nonstick pan with the margarine on medium heat. Add the tempeh and all the leftover marinade. Let cook for 5-10 minutes on the one side, until dark brown and then flip the tempeh over and cook on the other side for about 5 minutes before removing from the heat.

If you are serving this on top of lettuce wraps, you'll need:
• Large leaf lettuce: washed and air or patted dry
• 1 cup couscous: cooked by covering couscous with 1 cup boiling water in a large bowl and then covering with plastic wrap to let steam for 5 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. (Fluff and season couscous before serving)
• ~1/4 cup sliced red onion: marinated in 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and a dash of salt and pepper for at least 10 minutes
• 1 can hearts of palm: drained, rinsed, and marinated in 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey or agave and salt and pepper to taste, for at least 20 minutes
• 1 avocado: sliced thinly 

Are you a lettuce wrap fan? Or do you prefer tortillas when you are wrapping up your meal? 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Summer Swiss Chard Pasta

       Based on Grandpa Mark's pasta, this savoury dish is packed with one of my favourite veggies out of the garden, swiss chard. You can enjoy this dish year round, but it's best in the summer with greens and herbs from the garden or the market. I prefer using swiss chard, but you can also use spinach (like Grandpa Mark used to do) in this tasty pasta sauce.

Serves: 3-6


3 Tbsp or 1/8 cup olive oilOne large white onion, cut into chunks4 cloves of garlic, minced1/8 tsp red chili flakes1 tsp dried basil or about 1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves cut into strips1/2 tsp dried oragano1/4 tsp dried thymeHalf a large bunch or 300g Swiss Chard, stems and greens chopped2 cans chopped tomatoesOne can (514mL) chickpeas or white beans, drained and rinsed About 300g pasta


1. In a large pan on medium heat, add olive oil, onions, garlic, chili flakes and herbs and sauté for 2 minutes.2. While the onions are sautéing, chop up the swiss chard stems and add them to the pan. Sauté the mixture for an additional 5-7 minutes or until the swiss chard stems begin to soften up.3. Add two cans of tomatoes and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile start a pot of salted boiling water for your pasta.4. Add the beans and the chopped swiss chard to the sauce. Cover and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.5. Once the sauce is complete, you can add your pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook to al dente. Meanwhile remove your sauce from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.6. When you pasta is finished, strain and spoon the pasta onto plates and cover with sauce. Any leftover pasta can be tossed in olive oil so that it does not stick.7. Garnish with fresh basil if desired and enjoy!