Monday, April 23, 2012

Tempeh Stew Nicoise

Nicoise olives - a small, tart, lightly salty variety - lend great flavor to this hearty tempeh stew. If you want more hearty olive entree ideas, check out my posts for Zesty Tofu Wraps with Olive Tapenade, or Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Olives and Caramelized Onions.

  • 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vegan sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound (1-inch) cubed tempeh
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup vegan dry white wine
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) undrained cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (3-inch) orange rind strip
  • 1/2 cup pitted nicoise olives
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 cups hot cooked rice
1. Combine the lemon juice, sugar, ground red pepper, and salt in a bowl; add the tempeh and toss to coat.  Arrange in a single layer in an 11x7-inch baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

2. Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the thyme, rosemary, and garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the white wine and bring to a boil.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and the orange rind; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add the tempeh and olives and cook for a final 5 minutes.  Discard the orange rind and sprinkle with the parsley.

4. Place 1/2 cup rice in each of 6 bowls, and top each serving with 1 cup stew.

Note: nicoise olives were too small for my olive pitter.  You can remove the pits from several at a time by lining up on a cutting board and whacking with the flat side of a chef's knife - the olives will split open just enough so you can easily pop out the pits.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1/2 cup rice, 1 cup stew), Calories 407 

Tasting Notes:
I loved parts of this, and wasn't so wild about others.  Namely, the tempeh was some of the best I've ever eaten.  The moment the beautiful golden tempeh nuggets came out of the oven, I nearly scrapped the rest of the recipe and dug in right then.  Fabulous flavor and texture.  The stew itself had way too much onion; I would use only half the amount, and wouldn't miss the rest of the onion one bit.  The olives - salty and juicy - were fabulous, but you'll definitely want at least 1/4 cup more.  I'd leave out the ground red pepper, because it subsumed the thyme and rosemary, and I'd also sprinkle with a touch of orange zest after cooking, because the taste of the orange rind got lost.  Very hearty and filling, a one-dish meal for sure.


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