Thursday, May 10, 2012

simple kale salad with maple-sesame tempeh

Since transitioning to a high raw diet a few years ago, I tend to shy away from soy products. Occasionally, I will have edamame or tempeh but otherwise soy products make a very rare appearance in my meals. In my teens, I consumed my fair share of soy protein (in the form of soy milk and veggie burgers) but in recent years, I find that I feel better and have more energy when I reduced the amount of soy from my diet. 

However, (here I go with my old adage): everyone is different and some people may thrive with soy as a main source of protein in their diet. Yet, in our current day and age, we need to be making conscious choices when it comes to soy, and here's why:

A few weeks ago, I attended an interesting lecture given by Jeffrey M. Smith discussing genetically modified organisms (or, GMOs). "Genetically modified" refers to the alteration of genetic material within the seed, or biological makeup, of a plant. Technically, it means that the genes of one organism have been edited and 'planted' within another. GM plants are becoming more dominant and are often created to make plants more resistant to disease and larger crop production. 

In particular, soy has become one of the top genetically modified crops in North America. By choosing organic, non-GMO products (especially when it comes to soy), you are making a much healthier and wiser choice for yourself and the planet. In other words, just say no to those dreaded GMOs.

Recently, I have experimented with using tempeh as a source of protein in my salads (16 grams of protein per 80 grams tempeh). Tempeh is a naturally cultured and fermented soy product; soybeans bind together to create a solid product or 'cake'. Tempeh can be used much like tofu, but is less processed and has a thicker texture and consistency.

This recipe combines the freshness of kale with a denser plant protein source. The maple-sesame marinade uses coconut aminos, a soy-free seasoning sauce made from coconut sap and blended with sea salt. The taste is very similar to traditional soy sauce but is more nutrient rich with enzymes and 17 amino acids.

For an extra variation, try slicing the baked tempeh into cubes which can then be tossed with the kale salad. You'll enjoy this recipe so much you'll be exclaiming "tempeh tempeh tempeh" (I've been watching too many Sex and the City reruns lately, and just couldn't resist this play on Carrie's "Dolce Dolce Dolce" comment in one of the episodes - please humour me lol).

Simple Kale Salad with Baked Maple-Sesame Tempeh
Serves 3-4

Simple Kale Salad

I head organic kale, chopped
2 carrots, julienned (I use the Swissmar peeler - one of my favourite kitchen utensils)
1 tbsp hemp seeds
1 tbsp soaked pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp soaked sunflower seeds

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard 
1 tsp apple-cider vinegar 
pinch of himalayan sea salt
pinch of Herbamare (optional)

Combine kale, carrots, and seeds in a large salad bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple-cider vinegar, and pinch of sea salt until well combined. Combine dressing with salad ingredients, massaging the kale with the dressing. Season with a dash of Herbamare and serve. Salad with keep for two days in the fridge.

Maple-Sesame Tempeh

3 tbsp maple syrup
2-3 tbsp coconut aminos 
1 clove garlic, pressed
pinch of cayenne pepper 
dash of himalayan pink salt
1-2 tbsp white hulled organic sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tempeh into triangle wedges and set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the maple syrup, coconut aminos, garlic, cayenne, and salt. Coat the tempeh wedges in the marinade (either place them in the bowl, or brush the marinade onto the wedges). Pat or roll the wedges with the sesame seeds on a piece of parchment paper. 

Once coated, place wedges flat in a large glass baking dish. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 15-20 minutes (check around 15 minutes). The tempeh should be baked all the way through and slightly crispy on the outside. Serves as wedges or cut into small cubes and toss with salad.

Any other thoughts on soy products or GMOs?


Tiffany Mayer said...

I'm with you when it comes to soy. Not only is it one of the most genetically engineered, it's also one of the most demanding crops when it comes to chemical inputs, such as pesticide. I went vegetarian six years ago because of a bleeding heart for animals and realized that soy isn't always a sustainable alternative. If I buy it, it's got to be organic (which is non-GMO, also). But my main source of protein is pulses and I drink almond milk now.

Mason Neil said...

Wow that's very interesting. I saw a shirt once that said "GMO OMG WTF Are We Eating?" I could live without the swearing, but the shirt really communicated the point.

Lauren said...

I tend to avoid soy as well. I usually go for tempeh when I do have it. I'm going to try this! Yum

barefoot_and_frolicking said...

great comments everyone - glad to hear we are making conscious efforts when it comes to purchasing soy products :)

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