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You know…the old, “I am going to be a vegetarian in college” line!

January 24, 2012

As I continue my quest to add a new recipe to my repertoire each week, I have also made a conscious effort to choose recipes using less meat.  As you can imagine, this decision had lead me to many vegetarian or even vegan recipes.

I, like many others, tried the old “I am going to be a vegetarian in college” back in the day, but what I ended up eating was far from healthy and well balanced.  At that point in my life I did not really understand the fundamentals of a ‘healthy’ vegetarian diet and turned to not-so-healthy options to fill the ‘meat void’.  Thank goodness, over the years, I have become educated about healthy eating, and my time here at Oldways has offered even more insights into all the healthy (and delicious) benefits associated with following a primarily plant-based diet.

I have also never been one to shy away from unfamiliar foods and love trying new ingredients to expand my palate, so when I came across this tempeh and cauliflower “rice” recipe in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day I knew it was a must-make.  My husband and I enjoyed the recipe so much that we actually made it two nights in a row!

(And please don’t get me wrong — I still enjoy my fill of fish, dairy and even occasionally do eat meat — but I have cut down significantly on the amount of meat in my diet and I am using it more as a flavoring agent instead of the centerpiece of most meals.  And, best of all,  I can say that I am truly enjoying this change in my own eating pattern.)

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil (I used olive oil)
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
15 small cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons shoyu, tamari or soy sauce (I used soy sauce)
1/4 cup natural cane sugar (I used about 1 TBS brown sugar Splenda instead, to cut down on the sugar)
2 tablespoons water
8 oz tempeh, sliced pencil-thick
12 oz cauliflower, very finely chopped – almost as small as rice
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large skillet over low heat, combine the coconut oil (or olive oil), shallots, red pepper flakes, garlic and ginger. Cook slowly, taking care not to brown the ingredients, and stir occasionally, until the garlic cloves are soft throughout, about 15 minutes. (I found that the low-and-slow philosophy really paid off here in creating soft and mellow garlic; we cooked it about 20 – 25 minutes.)

While the garlic mix is cooking, whisk together the soy sauce, sugar and water in a small bowl.

Increase the temperature under the skillet to medium-high and add the tempeh. Gently stir to coat. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir again to coat. Cook for a minute or two, then add the cauliflower. Stir and cover. Cook for about 3 minutes.

Uncover, dial up the heat even more, and cook until the cauliflower and tempeh start to brown a bit. If you need to add a bit more water to the pan, carefully do so, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Remove from heat and stir in the black pepper. Taste, add more pepper if you like, and serve immediately. –Enjoy

–Rachel

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