(Family Features) As a key part of a nutritious eating plan, protein intake can be a healthy step to take in the new year. One increasingly popular way to add protein to your at-home menu is with protein-packed, plant-based foods like tempeh.
Tempeh’s roots date back thousands of years and originate in Indonesia. It’s an all-natural protein source made with simple, whole-food ingredients – most often fermented soybeans, water and rice – and is high in protein, packed with fiber and low in fat, sodium and calories. Tempeh is also loaded with vitamins and minerals like calcium, manganese, phosphorus and iron, and has all nine essential amino acids. Because it’s fermented, the nutrients in tempeh are easy for the body to digest.
The health benefits of tempeh, including 18 grams of protein per serving, are one reason to give it a try, but another is it’s easy and versatile to cook. It has a firm texture, nutty taste and can be baked, fried, steamed or grilled. Tempeh also easily absorbs marinades, spices and sauces. To prepare tempeh, cut it into cubes, strips or crumble it then toss into a stir-fry, layer it onto a BLT sandwich or simply warm a skillet and sear it until golden brown.
The possibilities for tempeh are nearly endless, and it’s also increasingly easy to find. For example, Lightlife, founded in 1979 as “Tempeh Works,” was among the first commercial producers of tempeh in the United States. Today, it offers its Original Tempeh at more than 18,500 retail stores nationwide.
Find protein-packed meal ideas, like Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes, at lightlife.com.
Sesame Ginger Tempeh Power Bowls with Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes
Pickled Pink Onions:
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette:
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 1 package (8 ounces) Lightlife Original Tempeh
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups baby spinach or kale
- 2 cups cooked tri-color quinoa, at room temperature
- 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
- 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 6 red grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 6 yellow grape cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup pea shoots
- To make pickled pink onions: In small pot, bring white wine vinegar, sugar and salt to boil. Add onions and toss to coat 15 seconds. Turn off heat and let sit 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and bright pink. Set aside.
- To make sesame ginger vinaigrette: In small bowl, stir vegetable and sesame oils with ginger, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and sesame seeds. Pour into two small ramekins. Set aside.
- To make sweet potatoes: In large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sweet potato slices and cook, turning occasionally, 15-17 minutes, adjusting heat as necessary until tender when pierced with knife. Remove to cutting board and cut each slice into quarters. Wipe out skillet.
- To make tempeh: Cut tempeh crosswise into eight triangles. In nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, heat vegetable oil. Cook tempeh with soy sauce until golden brown and warm, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove tempeh from pan and add baby spinach or kale; stir 1-2 minutes just until wilted.
- To assemble bowls: On bottoms of two shallow bowls or plates, spread cooked quinoa. Top with piles of warm sweet potatoes, pickled pink onions, sauteed spinach or kale, avocado, chickpeas, grape tomatoes and pea shoots. Top with tempeh and serve with sesame ginger vinaigrette.
(Family Features) Cooking with your kids is a fun way to bond while teaching basic culinary skills. It provides practical lessons like counting ingredients and dividing portions. Plus, meals cooked together offer kids something to look forward to during lunchtime. They can enjoy the food they helped prepare, and you’ll be able to check at least one meal off your to-do list while teaching valuable life lessons.
One way to make cooking more exciting for the family is to prepare food for a bento box using pantry staples. Bento boxes are considered an act of love in Japan and are a fun way to get your family involved in the kitchen. Bento boxes are similar to single-portion lunchboxes except they feature small compartments for each element of your meal, making it easy to encourage kids to eat fresh fruits and veggies. They also offer a whimsy visual appeal that can make mealtime more entertaining.
Next time you plan a meal with loved ones, try incorporating authentic Japanese recipes like a Simple Teriyaki Bowl, a Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento or Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice. These dishes call for simple preparations, short cook times and pantry basics, making it easy to involve your family in the process.
To create a taste-tempting family meal with genuine Japanese flavors, try Mizkan premium sauces and rice vinegars. For more than two centuries, the vinegars have helped chefs and families around the world delight in the flavors of Japan. Now the taste can be at your table, helping you create authentic meals your whole family can enjoy.
Find more tips and ideas for creating flavorful and authentic Japanese recipes at mizkanflavors.com.
Garlic Shrimp with Jasmine Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1/2 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Organic Rice Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Mizkan Ponzu Citrus Seasoned Soy Sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound (about 21-25) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup red onion, large chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup sugar-snap peas
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- To make ponzu rice: In small saucepan, combine jasmine rice, ponzu and water; cook according to rice directions.
- To make stir fry: In bowl, whisk rice vinegar, seasoned soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, vegetable stock and cornstarch to combine. Set aside.
- In large saute pan over high heat, heat oil; add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until pink.
- Add red onion and cook 1 minute. Add garlic, red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas and broccoli; cook 3 minutes until tender.
- Add reserved sauce and cook 2 minutes until thickened.
- Divide rice among six bowls and top with shrimp stir fry. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds; serve.
Miso-Glazed Salmon Bento
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus marinating
Cook time: 6 minutes
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin Sweet Cooking Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon sake
- 2 skinless center-cut salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
- 1 cup thinly sliced seedless cucumbers
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons Mizkan Seasoned Rice Vinegar
- 2 cups cooked short-grain sushi rice, cooled
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- 6 cherry tomatoes
- 2 lemon wedges
- In medium bowl, whisk miso paste, mirin and sake. Add salmon, turning to coat evenly. Marinate 10-30 minutes. Discard remaining marinade.
- Heat large nonstick pan on medium-high heat. Cook fish 2-3 minutes on each side, or until internal temperature reaches 145 F. Cut each fillet into four small pieces.
- In strainer or colander, toss cucumbers with salt; let stand 5 minutes. Squeeze out excess liquid; toss with rice vinegar.
- Pack each bento box evenly with rice, pickled cucumbers and salmon. Sprinkle with green onions and sesame seeds. Garnish with tomatoes and lemons.
Substitutions: If ingredients are unavailable or difficult to find: Use 1/4 cup soy sauce to glaze salmon in place of miso paste; use low-carb rice such as cauliflower or broccoli rice in place of sushi rice.
Tip: To prevent sogginess, separate wet components like cucumber pickles by using aluminum foil or silicone muffin liners inside bento box.
Simple Teriyaki Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
- 1 large boneless chicken thigh
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Mirin
- 3 tablespoons Mizkan Natural Rice Vinegar
- 1/2 scallion
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 2 servings hot, cooked rice
- 1 teaspoon dried seaweed sheet (nori), sliced (optional)
- Slice chicken thigh meat into bite-size pieces. In bowl, mix soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar; marinate chicken pieces in seasoning mix 10 minutes.
- Cut scallion into 2-inch pieces. In frying pan, saute until soft, about 1 minute. Set aside.
- In frying pan, heat oil and cook chicken until browned.
- When meat is browned, pour marinade over chicken and continue cooking on low heat until sauce thickens.
- Place hot, cooked rice in individual bowls. Spread sliced dried seaweed pieces over rice, if desired, and top with chicken and scallions to serve.
Photo courtesy of NPDstock/Shutterstock (Simple Teriyaki Bowl)
Makes 4 servings
- 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry
- 2 teaspoons Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 2 bunches green onions, cut into 1-1/2-inch lengths, separating whites from tops, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Mongolian Sauce*
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed, toasted
- Cut beef across grain into thin strips. Combine next 4 ingredients; stir in beef. Let stand 15 minutes. Stir-fry half of beef in 1 table-spoon hot oil in wok or large skillet over high heat 1 minute; remove.
- Repeat cooking procedure with remaining beef and 1 tablespoon oil; remove. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same pan. Add whites of green onions, garlic, ginger and red pepper; stir-fry 1 minute.
- Stir in green onion tops. Add beef and Mongolian Sauce.
- Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens. Sprinkle with sesame seed before serving.
*Mongolian Sauce: Combine 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch, 2-1/2 tablespoons Kikkoman Soy Sauce, 1 tablespoon dry sherry and 1 teaspoon Kikkoman Hoisin Sauce.