Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tempeh tacos and carrot radish salad

I'm back! I decided to resurrect my blog. Instead of keeping up with the idea of weekly CSA recipes, I decided to make this just generally about the vegetarian meals that I cook for myself to eat throughout the week. I still prioritize cooking with local produce and food without preservatives and additives whenever I can, and I still can't say enough positive things about my CSA, Phillyfoodworks. So watch this space again for hopefully weeklyish vegetarian recipes! 

So today I'm sharing a taco filling recipe that's super easy to make and can also be repurposed as leftovers for nachos or quesadillas or wraps or sandwiches or whatever. The tempeh that I use I buy in bulk from the co-op and is made of non-GMO soy. I love it, but if tempeh isn't your thing just replace with black beans or very firm tofu. Depending on what kinds of soy sauce, tortillas, tempeh and toppings you use, these tacos can very easily be gluten free and/or vegan. 

The salad is really inspired by the physical beauty of the produce I got in my CSA this week, particularly the rainbow carrots. I thought a really simple salad would be the best way to eat them, and plus a slaw type of salad is my favorite because it keeps well in the fridge for a few days, so it's easy to pack in a Tupperware and get a serving of veggies in at lunch at work. 

Oh one last thing -- the radish I used for this salad is *absurd* (see above) and is longer than my arm and is apparently called a "green meat radish" which I find to be a very gross name. I've also seen it in H-Mart as "Korean radish." You could really use any kind of radish here but I think a daikon radish is the most similar. If you're using smaller globe or breakfast radishes, use an entire bunch. 

Tempeh taco filling:
16 oz tempeh or about 3 C crumbled 
1 small yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 jalapeño 
1 can no salt added fire roasted diced tomatoes, or whatever canned tomatoes you have on hand
3 tbsp chili powder (no salt added, if possible)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp kosher salt, or table salt

4 large carrots 
1/2 green meat radish (sometimes Korean radish) or daikon radish or whole bunch of globe or breakfast size radishes 

1/4 c rice vinegar 
1/4 c cider vinegar 
1/4 c olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1 shallot

Prepare Tempeh:
Crumble tempeh into a large bowl. I find that it's easiest to do this by hand but you could also mash and break up the brick of tempeh with a fork. Dice onion, garlic and jalapeño finely, adding them to the bowl of tempeh as you go.  Add all other taco filling ingredients directly in to the bowl and stir very well. The mixture should be only slightly wet (see the bottom of the post for a picture). Set aside for at least a few minutes for the tempeh to marinate and absorb the flavors. (I paused here and made the salad, then came back to cook the tempeh). 

Cook tempeh
Heat 3 tbsp oil in a wide skillet -- you can use less oil if you're using a nonstick pan. With heat on medium low, heat oil for a few seconds and add tempeh mixture, cook for 15 minutes stirring occasionally then bump the heat up to medium and cook for 2 minutes without stirring very much. The goal is really more to steam the tempeh for that first 15 minutes and then quickly get a little color on it. 

Make salad:
Dice shallot fine and whisk together with all dressing ingredients in a small bowl or cup. Set aside. 

Using a box grater or a vegetable peeler, either grate or peel all carrots and radish into ribbons. Toss in large bowl with dressing. It might be just slightly too much dressing, but I never mind that much with a slaw because it'll just fall to the bottom, it won't make the salad soggy. 

Assemble tacos:
Heat tortillas on a medium hot skillet or frying pan that's been rubbed or sprayed with a tiny bit of oil (not necessary if you have a nonstick pan). They just need about 8 seconds on each side. Fill each taco with a spoonful of tempeh mix and top with scallions, cilantro, cheddar or queso fresco, diced jalapeños, hot sauce, avocados, whatever your favorite toppings are! 

This makes enough for a dozen or so generously filled tacos and keeps well for a few days in the fridge. 

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