Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Maple Glazed Tempeh: How to Achieve Balance

When I was in high school, my cross-country coach used to threaten to make me run hurdles. Everyone knew it was a joke -- me jump over hurdles? The girl who regularly fell over nothing on our long runs? With my long limbs and gawky frame, I was constantly picking myself up off the ground, and today, I still have scars on my knees from all the contact with the pavement, asphalt and concrete.

My balance has improved since those days, but I still find myself on the verge of an embarrassing spill from time to time (ie. yesterday when I skidded across the lobby of my office building). I may not ever be able to traverse a balance beam like those adorable gymnasts with ribbons in their hair, but not all areas of my life are as unbalanced as my center of gravity. I do know how to bring some equilibrium to my diet. After indulging in steak, cookies and full-fat bowls of ice cream, I am more than happy to give my body a break with some heart-healthy whole grains, low-fat proteins, and fiberlicious greens.

A couple weeks ago, that break came in the form of the pictured maple glazed tempeh with green beans, shitake mushrooms and brown rice. I discovered the recipe on 101 Cookbooks, my go-to site when I'm craving something healthy, and as usual, adapted it to my tastes. While it wasn't as flavorful as I hoped, I loved the combination of the tempeh, green beans and shitake mushrooms. After two nights of the hearty dish, I felt right with myself again and ready for more chocolate. (You know, to balance out all the greens and roughage and what not.)

Maple Glazed Tempeh with Green Beans, Shitake Mushrooms and Brown Rice
Adapted from recipe on 101 Cookbooks

Serves 2

8 ounces tempeh (I used Lightlife)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons ginger
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Green beans, cut into pieces
Shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Combine soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Cut tempeh into triangles and marinate in soy-maple mixture for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package instructions.

3. When tempeh is done marinating, saute in a frying pan over medium heat, reserving the marinade to stirfry with the vegetables. When both sides are golden brown, remove from the skillet.

4. Add sesame oil to hot skillet and saute onions until slightly tender. Add the green beans, the marinade and cook for a couple minutes before adding the shitake mushrooms and the tempeh back to the pan. Cook together until marinade has reduced and coated the veggies and tempeh, and then serve over brown rice.


The Duo Dishes said...

Funny that you made this. Just saw a recipe for coconut maple tofu that would be awesome to try. It was a bit similar to this. Perhaps the coconut would give you a bit more flavor and extra crunch?

Esi said...

I am always trying to get balanced, but fail more often than not :) At least you have a jumping off point for even better flavor!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'd like to indulge in steaks, ice cream and cookies. Let's indulge together. :) With pie.

Claudia said...

I make something similar - but no maple syrup. And I am craving something healthy (the winter comfort foods are finally starting to wear me down). Off to the grocery store - thanks for the inspiration.

Diana said...

Duo Dishes - Oh I love the sound of that! I bet coconut would be great in it! I'll have to make a note on the recipe to try that next time.

Esi - Hah, I fail most of the time too! Even my "healthy" recipes somehow end up covered in cheese and nuts!

Duckie - Yes, please! But the pie must be heated and served with a big ole scoop of vanilla ice cream! :)

Claudia - Glad I could help! 101 Cookbooks is so great for healthy alternatives to winter comfort foods. I can always find something inspiring there!

Erica said...

Hahah. I totally fall all the time too. love 101 cookbooks and this look wonderful! Hope you had a good one

Heather said...

i tend to completely lack equilibrium in my diet, too. yesterday: brownie (albeit low fat) for breakfast, pad thai for lunch, hot dogs for dinner. today? yogurt, salad with low fat vinaigrette and a low fat stir fry. i wish i could only stick with the good days!! it always amazes me that i spend 45 min on the treadmill every morning doing something good, and then i spend 10 minutes at lunch destroying it.

Sara said...

I have actually never had tempeh before, I want to try it though. This looks delicious.

Apples and Butter said...

I'm totally a faller. Can we talk about eating it in the middle of the crosswalk crossing Santa Monica at Sepulveda - do you know how big that crosswalk is!! Anyway, I can relate! I love the healthy stuff on 101 Cookbooks though I must admit I've never made one of her recipes myself. You're making me reconsider!

Kirby! said...

I made this a few months ago! I really liked it, but my boyfriend kind of hated it and said that the flavor was too "weird." I have no idea what he's talking about. I really liked the maple flavor! And I'm not usually a huge fan of tempeh either.

Diana said...

Erica - Isn't 101 Cookbooks the best? I've been loving all her recipes lately! Hope everything goes well with your move this weekend!

Heather - I have the same problem! I think nothing of going for a long run and then negating all the good with a big ole bowl of ice cream! But it's better than eating it after doing nothing at all, right?

Sara - I really like tempeh -- it has a great nutty texture/flavor that works really well in Asian dishes. Definitely try it sometime -- just be sure to marinate it well first.

Apples & Butter - Oh my gosh -- that is a HUGE intersection! That is totally something I would do. Except in front of lots of people I know rather than just strangers...

Kirby - Hmm, I didn't think it tasted weird either! Maybe he's just weird! ;)