Tag Archives: Vegetarian Times

ASK GRETTIE – Stumped By Tempeh

My latest Ask Grettie column on Chic Vegan.

I just tried tempeh for the first time at a restaurant today and really liked it, but I am not sure how to prepare it on my own.  Do you have any tips, or recipe suggestions for preparing tempeh?


Hi Monica!

I am glad to hear that you like tempeh.  Tempeh is a wonderful source of protein and is further beneficial due to the fact that it is fermented.  In addition, cooking with tempeh is a great way to add protein to your meals without buying processed meat substitutes.  As with anything in life, moderation is key since tempeh can be high in fat.

I understand that tempeh can be a bit intimidating to prepare, but once you cook with it a few times you will realize that it is actually very easy to work with.¬† Tempeh can be prepared using the same methods that are used to cook meat (barbecuing, baking, broiling, stir-frying)¬†.¬† One of my favorite ways to use tempeh is as a ground beef substitute.¬† Sarah Matheny of ‚ÄúPeas and Thank You‚ÄĚ likes to make ground meat substitutes with tempeh by grating it. ¬†You simply take the block of tempeh and grate it on your cheese grater then add it to your recipe.¬† Alternatively you can crumble a block of tofu with your fingers or pulse it in your food processor and garner the same results.

TIP РSome people find tempeh to be slightly bitter.  If you steam the tempeh for 20 minutes, the bitterness disappears.

Recipe Ideas

  • Peas and Thank You is a blog with a lot of¬†recipes that include tempeh¬†and it is a great place to start.¬† Sarah just came out with her first book, Peas and Thank You ‚Äď Simple Meatless Meals the Whole Family Will Love and it is a worthwhile purchase (For my review of the book click¬†here).
  • Vegetarian Times¬†is also a great resource for tempeh recipes and they have a great recipe search function on their site that I am sure you will find helpful.¬† Their¬†recipe for tempeh bacon¬†has a four star rating.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.  Cooking is an art form and can be a lot of fun to play around with.  Once you make a few recipes containing tempeh you will have the confidence to whip-up meals containing tempeh without even following a recipe.  Let me know if you come across some winning recipes along the way since I am always looking for recommendations as well.

Here’s to health!


**Do you have a questions for Grettie? She is here to answer any of your health and nutrition related questions! Email her at askgrettie@chicvegan.com .**

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoosvanrobin/with/5455578241/


Filed under Chic Vegan Column, Education, Food Substitutions, General Vegan, Protein, Vegan, Vegetarian

MEXICALI CHOP – With Crunchy Tortilla Strips

I came upon this recipe for Mexicali Chop Salad recently on Vegetarian Times website and thought I would share it with you. ¬†This recipe is courtesy of Real Food Daily…a restaurant I have yet to try, but hope to soon! ¬†I think this salad would make a wonderful meal paired with my Baja Corn Chowder and topped off with my Mexican Wedding Cake Bites.

Ann Gentry who is the chef-owner of Real Food Daily in the Los Angeles Area wrote this about her recipe, “When Real Food Daily first opened, I used to sneak away to a nearby Mexican-inspired restaurant for a black bean‚Äďand-corn salad with guacamole, chips, and a beer. ¬†One day, I realized I could make my own version.‚ÄĚ

Extra Dressing will keep for one week in the fridge.



1 1/2 tsp. canola oil

3 6-inch corn tortillas

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. maple crystals or sugar

1/8 tsp. salt



1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped green onion

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Pinch cayenne pepper



1 head romaine lettuce, sliced (8 cups)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped (2 cups)

1 avocado, diced (1 cup)

3 celery stalks, sliced (1 cup)

1 cucumber, seeded and diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed corn kernels

3/4 cup cooked pinto beans

1/2 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, drained, and sliced

1/3 cup finely chopped red onion

1. To make Tortilla Strips: Preheat oven to 350¬įF. Brush oil on tortillas. Cut in half, then cut into 1/8-inch-wide strips. Spread on baking sheet. Combine chili powder, maple crystals, and salt in bowl. Sprinkle chili powder mixture over strips. Bake 15 minutes, or until crisp. Cool.

2. To make Dressing: heat oil, garlic, cumin, coriander, sugar, and salt in saucepan 2 to 3 minutes over low heat, or until garlic begins to sizzle.

3. Blend remaining Dressing ingredients with garlic oil in blender until smooth.

4. Toss together all Salad ingredients with Tortilla Strips and 1/4 cup Dressing.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

Top image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of kathrynlovett.com

Image of Ann Gentry courtesy of VegNews.com

Bottom image of Mexicali Chop courtesy of VegetarianTimes.com


Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Salad, Salad Dressing, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian


Baked Spiced Chickpeas

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

I¬†know all of us are always looking for healthy snack alternatives that will hit the spot and satisfy.¬† This recipe does the trick.¬† Packed with protein and fiber, chickpeas are an amazing addition to your daily fare.¬† I made some of these BAKED SPICED CHICKPEAS this afternoon so¬†it would be ready for the kids to nosh on when they got¬†home from school.¬† WARNING – These¬†are addicting!!! …and may be too spicy for wee ones (just reduce the cayenne).


1 1/2 Tbs. oil

25 oz. can Westbrae Organic Chickpeas

SPICE MIX INGREDIENTS (from a Vegetarian Times recipe used for a  nut mix):

2 tsp. coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika (I used La Chinata smoked sweet paprika from Spain)

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. ground allspice (optional)

1/2 tsp. salt (optional.  omit if you want the mix to be just sweet & spicy)


Preheat the oven to 425¬į.

Westbrae Chickpeas

Westbrae Chickpeas

Wash and drain the chickpeas.  Place the clean chickpeas on 2 layers of paper towels and gently rub the tops of them with another layer of  paper towels.

Rinse Well

Rinse Well

Place on a Paper Towel Lined Platter

Place on a Paper Towel Lined PlatterGently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

Gently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

Gently Dry the Beans by Rubbing the Tops

You want to get the chickpeas as dry as possible.¬† Notice that some of the chickpea’s skins will come loose.¬† Remove the skins.

Remove Loose Skins

Remove Loose Skins

While the chickpeas are air drying further, make the spice mix.  Pour all of the spices into a bowl and mix well (I used a mortar and pestle that I bought at Cost Plus World Market so I could grind the spices together).  This recipe will not use all of the mix, so reserve the excess for later.

Grind the Spices Together

Grind the Spices Together

Place the clean and dry chickpeas in a bowl and coat them with the oil.  Once coated with oil,  sprinkle on the spice mix to taste (I used 3 tsp.).

Coat the Beans w/ Oil

Coat the Beans w/ Oil

Place the seasoned chickpeas on a lined cookie sheet (I used a Silpat) and put the sheet in the oven for 40-60 minutes.  Carefully watch the chickpeas at the end as they can quickly burn.  Once done, the chickpeas will be browned and crunchy.  As the chickpeas cool they will become even crunchier.

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

Baked Spiced Chickpeas

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


Filed under Beans/Legumes, Recipes, Sides, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian