Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tempeh Bolognese

I love Trader Joe's.  I had never heard of let alone been to a Trader Joe's  before I lived in the city.  Back home, we didn't even have a Whole Foods gasp!  Now that I have one, I am in love with it, though I rarely go.  Whenever I do make it over there, I bring several reusable totes and literally pack them to the top, making them so heavy that I can barely get them into the subway car, then up the stairs to get to my apartment.  But it is so worth it!  I can fill two of these huge bags to the top for $50!  Now, the stuff I get is the kind of stuff that can last a while - I buy my produce at a store near my home.  I stock up majorly on tofu, tempeh, snacks, soy products, tofu dogs, etc. I have not been in a huge tempeh mood lately, more of a seitan mood, and as a result, I have 4 packages of tempeh sitting on the top shelf of my refrigerator. 

Needing to make dinner in a hurry tonight, I spied the tempeh and immediately though: bolognese.  And of course, this recipe was done start to finish in less than half an hour.  A little side salad made it a perfect meal.  I was very proud of myself and the Hubby and my bellies were both very satisfied.  This is definitely something that works really well when you are short of time. 

Tempeh Bolognese

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2  cups onions, small diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. tempeh, grated on a box grater (cheese grater)
32 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb. kamut spaghetti, broken in half

1.  Begin by placing a large pot of water on the stove over high heat and bringing it to a boil.  Once the water has come to a boil, cook the spaghetti until al dente.  Drain and return to pot, tossing in a small amount of oil to coat so the pasta does not stick.
2.  In the meantime, prepare the bolognese: in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil.  Once it is hot, add the onions and the grated tempeh.  (Generally tempeh is required to be simmered before being prepared to remove bitterness, but this sauteing step takes the place of that.)  Saute, stirring periodically, until the onions are lightly browned and the tempeh is emitting a pleasant nutty aroma. 
3.  Using your hands, crush the tomatoes before adding them, along with the juices to the pan.  Stir to coat the tempeh and onions.  Add basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, onion and garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.  Stir to coat. 
4.  Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer the tempeh bolognese for about 15 minutes or until well seasoned.  Season to taste.

To serve:  Place a serving of the pasta in the middle of the plate, followed by the bolognese.  Top with vegan Parmesan if desired and serve.



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