Tempeh-Beet Curry

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This is a quick, filling, and nutritious curry recipe that my boyfriend and I came up with in New York. It became our go-to when we didn’t have too much time to cook before going out. It makes a great mid-week dinner!

You can usually find tempeh in Wholefoods or Trader Joe’s. If you’re looking for it in Ireland, you would probably need to swing by your local health food shop as it hasn’t made it to the supermarkets yet, as far as I know.

Tempeh is made of fermented whole soybeans. When you add tempeh starter to soya beans and let it sit for a day or two, it becomes a loaf-like fermented food product. The use of the whole soya bean along with the fermentation process leaves us with a very nutritious end product with a high protein content (the same as meat!) and lots of B vitamins!

Tempeh has become one of those trendy health foods because it is thought to reduce cholesterol (due to its isoflavone and niacin content),  increase bone density (high calcium and copper content), and even help balance your gut bacteria thanks to the good bacteria which grow during fermentation! It also adds an awesome meat-like texture and a bit of a nutty flavour to your plate of veggies.

Soy is quite a controversial topic amongst health nerds, and for good reasons too. Nutritional cook Susan Jane White gives us a great low-down on the controversies surrounding soy in her first cookbook, so what I’ve written below is mostly based on that (to read more about her thoughts on it, check out her blog post here).

Soy has traditionally been used for years in the East as an excellent plant-based source of protein and vitamins. Once word got out West about how great soy products were for peoples’ health in places like Japan, this drove consumer demand for soy products way up worldwide. This high demand led to more and more industrially produced soy products.

Big companies found cheaper ways of making tofu, soy sauces, soy milks and other soy products, leaving them nutritionally deplete. Some cheap techniques used include chemical isolation and genetic modification (that’s why soy is often associated with GMO!). So, by the time your average slab of tofu or dash of soy sauce gets to your table, it’s only a shadow of the nutrient-dense powerhouse it was when it was first grown! Very sad news for all soy lovers, I know! 😥

What’s more is that the soybean is used to make up a lot of animal feed, and so a lot of forests are being destroyed to make space for soy to be grown in vast monocultures, often as GMO, causing environmental degradation, water wastage, and all the usual problems associated with the dominant meat industry.

Since low-quality soy is now so cheap to produce, it is often thrown into processed foods as an inexpensive bulking agent, so that is why so many of our chocolatey treats contain soy isolate or some other kind of soy derivative. Kind of like how corn and wheat have ended up in everything. As a result, people are beginning to develop sensitivities and intolerances to soy (again similar to the corn and wheat stories).

My thoughts on soy are that it is best to avoid it if you can, especially in processed foods. When I do buy it, I try to only use it once a week, buy mostly fermented products such as tempeh or miso paste, and make sure that it is organic, ethically produced, and non-GMO.

*This recipe is vegan-friendly, refined sugar-free & gluten-free*

Tempeh-Beet Curry

IMG_0479SERVES: 4   |   PREP TIME: 10 min  |   COOKING TIME: 30 mins

INGREDIENTS

1 medium onion, sliced

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots, peeled and chopped into half-moons

2 raw beets, peeled and chopped into matchsticks

1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets

1 packet of organic, non-GMO tempeh

3 handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons mild curry powder (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 can full fat coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

salt & pepper to taste

rice or quinoa (to serve)

METHOD

  1. If you don’t have leftover rice or quinoa in the fridge, it’s best to start that first!
  2. Heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, and sweat for 3-5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the carrots, beets, and garlic. Leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
  4. Add in the curry paste and stir until everything is coated. Follow this with the can of coconut milk, the broccoli, and some salt and pepper. Stir, bring to the boil and leave to simmer at a low to medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tempeh. Leave for 3-5 minutes, or until the tempeh is heated through and the veggies are cooked. I like them with a bit of a crunch!
  6. Stir in the spinach and allow to wilt.
  7. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lime, and stir.
  8. Serve in a bowl on top of quinoa or rice. Enjoy!
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