Thursday, January 21, 2016

Spicy cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry

Exactly a week ago, I was craving something warm & tasty for lunch. I've been loving cavolo nero this winter, which is basically kale's darker, richer, more intense but sweeter Italian cousin. I like it much more than regular kale! (sorry kale) So I decided to make a spicy stir fry with cavolo nero, tempeh, quinoa and onion, and ended up adding some avocado on top because I think we can all agree that everything tastes better with a side of avocado. Not all my cooking experiments are a big success, but this ended up being super tasty, so when this happens, I like to share it with you! So here it is: your perfectly healthy and nutritional winter lunch (all vegan of course). 
Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Simple winter vegan lunch: Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

What you'll need (for one)
- Tempeh or tofu (about 80-100 grams, pre-marinated)
- 3 handfuls of cavolo nero (alternative: regular kale)
- 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa (I used red & white quinoa)
- 1 small onion
- avocado oil or olive oil
- salt & spices: pepper, smoked paprika, cumin
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 avocado
- a few thin slices of fresh chili 

Tempeh/tofu marinade:
- 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of sambal
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons of tamari or soy sauce
- 1 crushed garlic clove 


How to make it
Preparation: Marinating the tempeh/tofu. I used sesame oil, sambal, smoked paprika, tamari and fresh garlic. I like the marinade to be quite spicy but you can use anything you like. I cut the tempeh into bite-sized pieces and then tossed it together with the marinade in a closed plastic container. Leave this for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. If you want to cheat a little, you can also skip the marinating part and add some of the marinade as you fry the tempeh. 

The best spicy tempeh and tofu marinade

Start off by slicing the onion and fry it in a nice and hot pan with avocado oil until the onion is soft. Then add a few pieces of tempeh (I think this is about 80 grams) and fry it together with the onion. If you haven't marinated the tempeh yet, add some of the marinade at this point. I did this and it worked out fine, but normally I'd marinade it in advance. Keep tossing the tempeh around so it's crispy on both sides. 

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

While you're frying the onion and tempeh, you can cook the quinoa according to the instructions. I decided to mix the regular and red quinoa because they have different textures. I made too much so I could use the "leftovers" the next day.

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

When the tempeh is nice and crispy, add a few big handfuls of cavolo nero and mix it in with the onion/tempeh.

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Once you're sautéed the kale a bit, add about half a cup (3 tablespoons) of cooked quinoa. 

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Keep stirring until the kale has almost completely softened but still has a crunch to it. It only takes a few minutes! Also add a little bit of salt, pepper and other spices at this point. I love smoked paprika and cumin. 

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Pop it into a bowl (how nice are these bowls I received from my mom for Christmas. I LOVE them!) and squeeze half the lemon over it. Now it should look a little something like this:

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

You can perfectly stop here and eat it like this, but I decided to slice up half an avocado, some chili pepper and sprinkle some hemp and sesame seeds on top. 

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

Vegan cavolo nero & tempeh stir fry with avocado

It's really the perfect winter lunch since it's kind of a warm salad with all the health benefits you can wish for in a hearty lunch: antioxidants, minerals, fibre, calcium, iron and vitamins A, B, C and K from the cavolo nero, healthy fats from the avocado, spicy chili to speed up the metabolism and protein from the quinoa and tempeh (19gr per 100gr). It doesn't get any more nutritional than this I think! And it's very tasty too of course :)  

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