Thai Peanut Tempeh and other goodies

Today you get a three-for special. Spicy, savory, and satisfying Thai Peanut Tempeh headlines. You’re going to love the opening act (without which, the main event would just be anti-climactic, amirite?) And then, to round out the show, a peek into how I used leftover things piling up in my fridge to create a quick and incredibly tasty breakfast!

So first, let me address the featured photo. It’s not as pretty as the others on this blog because, well, it’s mine. That was my actual dinner last night and I’m no food photographer. But just trust me, as unglamorous as this meal looks, don’t write it off.

The whole thing starts with a batch of this citrusy, spicy Thai Peanut Sauce. This sauce is incredible. Now, the main dish will use up a whole batch, and I tell you this because you might want to make two. This would be a great salad dressing, veggie dip, marinade, whatever. I could put this sauce on anything.

Thai Peanut Sauce

5 minutes  | Nutrition Info
  • 1 large orange, 3-4 small clementines, or 2 tangerines, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled, or about 1 tsp pre-minced
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (no sugar added)
  • 2 tsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste (I use about 3/8 tsp.)

Step 1: Blend it up. That’s it! I put everything in a mason jar and combined it with an immersion blender, but you could also use a food processor or really good personal blender.

Blend well so the orange is fully pureed and the sauce is creamy and consistent. Adjust the seasoning to taste and allow the flavors to develop in the fridge for an hour. (Admittedly, mine only got to gelabout 30 minutes and it was still tasty.) This sauce can be made several days ahead of time and will keep for at least a week.

Variation: You may also replace half of the orange/fruit with about 1 tbsp of honey for a sweetly complex, less citrusy sauce.

Thai Peanut Tempeh

Makes 4 servings | 30 minutes  | Nutrition Info
  • 1 lb tempeh, or 1/2 lb tempeh and 1/2 lb extra-firm tofu (I used the latter)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large bunch kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 8-12 oz. sliced button mushrooms, or as much as you want!
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced (white included)
  • 1 batch Thai Peanut Sauce
  • Several handfuls fresh spinach
  • 1 cup sprouts (I used mung bean sprouts and spicy microgreens, but any sprouts will do), for garnish
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped peanuts (raw or roasted)
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting cooking oil, such as avocado
  • Salt

Preheat the oven to 375.

Crumble the tempeh and/or tofu into a rimmed baking sheet (I lined mine with foil) and toss with olive oil and about 1/2 tsp of salt. Bake for 20 minutes or so, stirring frequently, until the tempeh is crispy.

While the protein is cooking, prepare the rest of the stir-fry ingredients. I waited until the tempeh had cooked about 10-15 minutes before I started the actual stir-fry process. (Remember to keep stirring the tempeh about every 5 minutes so it gets crispy on all sides. Keep an eye on it, even as you start the next steps, and turn the oven off when 95% done. You will leave the tempeh in the oven until you need it.)

When you have about 10 minutes left on the protein, warm a tsp of light-tasting EVOO or neutral tasting oil in a wok or extra-large skillet with a lid, over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3-5 minutes.

Add the carrot, mushrooms, green onion, and kale, and about 2-3 tbsp of water, cover, and steam until kale is bright green and becoming tender, adding more water if necessary. It actually took me about 5 tbsp of water in all and 4-5 minutes.

Stir in the peanut sauce and the tempeh/protein mix, and continue cooking until the sauce is heated through, 1-2 minutes.

Add a big handful of spinach to the bottom of your individual serving bowls and spoon about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the mixture over the spinach. The spinach should begin to wilt under the heat of the sauce. Finish with the chopped peanuts, a squeeze of lime juice, and the sprouts. Enjoy with chopsticks for extra fun. 🙂

Add or substitute any vegetables you like! You can also use chicken or shrimp for your protein, and if you’re not watching carbs, serve over rice, quinoa, or soba noodles. Reheat leftovers and serve in a butter, Bibb, or Boston lettuce leaf with peanuts and bean sprouts (miso-soy vinaigrette optional!) for the next day’s lunch!
Original Recipe: Chef Dawn Ludwig, Always Hungry


Now, if you used the tofu/tempeh mix like me, then you probably had about 8 oz. of tofu leftover. I’ve been building a small collection of leftover ingredients this week. A handful of pinto beans left over from making bean dip, 1/2 an avocado, a handful of black beans from god knows what.

One of the recipes in the Always Hungry book, Black Bean Tofu Hash, is meant to use leftover tofu and almost exactly the rest of these ingredients, and it’s a GREAT quick breakfast. The first true surprise of my program. (I thought I would hate tofu and beans for breakfast.)

Seriously this couldn’t be simpler. It’s almost not even worth providing an ingredient list, but here is one anyway.

Black Bean Tofu Hash

Makes 2 servings | 10 minutes  | Nutrition Info
  • 1/2 lb extra-firm tofu, rinsed and pat dry
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of beans, black and pinto (I used just under 1/2 cup of each)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • dash of cayenne
  • Optional garnishes: 1/2 avocado, 2 tbsp sour cream, fried egg (I LOVE serving mine with all of the above), fresh cilantro, salsa or ranchero sauce.

Literally this is all I did. Prepare the seasoning mix first. Heat a tsp of light-tasting olive oil or avocado oil in a skillet. Saute the garlic. Crumble in the tofu. You don’t have to be delicate about it. Squeeze your fist around the tofu like you’re a kid playing with Play-Doh again and it mostly crumbles by itself. Don’t worry about the excess water that will come out, the tofu will absorb that back in as it cooks.  Sprinkle the seasoning all over everything and stir well. Saute for a couple of minutes, adding a tbsp of water or so after the first minute. Add the beans. Keep sauteing until everything is hot. And that’s basically it!

If serving yours with a fried egg like mine, empty the pan and set the hash aside. I put half away for breakfast tomorrow and the other half directly into my bowl. Crack the egg into the skillet and season with another little pinch of salt or your favorite seasoning blend. Flip it after a minute or so to desired doneness and let it sit right on top of your delicious hash.

Serve with sour cream, avocado, salsa, cilantro… whatever floats your boat, and you’re good to go!

This would also make a great lunch. Serve on a lettuce wrap or over a salad with the same garnishes, a creamy cilantro homemade dressing, some shredded cheddar cheese, etc.

You can also make a big batch of the hash ahead of time for even quicker weekday breakfasts/lunches.

Don’t be afraid to add some greens or veggies in there! (Especially if you need help clearing out your fridge.)  This would be great with spinach or mushrooms, sauteed along with the tofu and beans, or with some leftover bite-sized asparagus or zucchini. I could also see cabbage or brussels sprouts working for this recipe. The sky is the limit.
Original Recipe: Chef Dawn Ludwig, Always Hungry




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