I was in the mood for a “meaty” tasty pasta sauce and wanted to throw in some beautiful Russian Kale, which I got in my Farm Fresh box. I used to make this exact recipe with sausage meat, which is delicious, but since I try to prepare vegetarian dinners as much as possible, I knew that tempeh would be the perfect substitute.
If you don’t know what the heck tempeh is (tem-pay) and many don’t, allow me to give you a brief explanation. Originating in Indonesia, it’s a fermented food made from soybeans. I’m a bit of a nut about fermented foods because they are so very healthy for your gut. If you think about it, virtually every traditional culture has a fermented food as a staple of their diet: sauerkraut, yogurt, pickles, tempeh, and the reason is that they provide healthy bacteria for your gut – so suffice to say that Tempeh is healthy and has a nutty taste and chewy texture. It also absorbs the flavors of whatever you’re cooking it with, so it’s very versatile.
I always go on about eating only foods, which my grandmother would recognize, and if she saw a piece of tempeh, she’d probably think is was a scrubbing brush for the sink, however, if my grandmother was Indonesian, she would know exactly what to do with it!
Okay – so let’s gone on with this quick, hearty supper.
Tempeh & Kale Fusilli
1 package of whole wheat fusilli
I package tempeh, cubed
1/4 cup tamari sauce
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1tbsp canola or grapeseed oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1tsp fennel seeds
1 small bunch Russian Kale, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup of chicken or veggie stock
Place the cubed tempeh into a shallow bowl. Mix together the tamari, sesame, garlic and pour over the tempeh. Cover the bowl and allow the tempeh to marinate for a few hours.
Heat the oil in a large saute pan and fry the onion until lightly browned. Add the fennel seeds and mix well. Add the tempeh and as it fries and begins to brown, smoosh it so that the cubes break up.
Add the chopped kale and stir in the stock. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down low until the kale becomes tender. Remove from heat.
Simultaneously, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet. Drain and place back in pan with a little sesame oil. Add the tempeh and kale mixture and combine well, making sure the pasta is well blended.
Serve in warm bowls either with real or vegan Parmesan cheese.