I originally called this post “Siete de Mayo,” but the search engines would undoubtedly take it to a place in history which would get lost in translation.  So for those of you who still have some Mexican fixins’ on hand and are looking for a fast weeknight option with flair…this recipe is for you. 

If you haven’t worked with tempeh before, it is surprisingly easy, and – not so surprisingly – good for you.  Tempeh is a soy-based relative of tofu developed centuries ago by Indonesian villagers.  It is a fermented food made from cooked soybeans bound together into patties or cakes.  Different varieties are obtained by combining the soy with rice, millet, flax or wheat and allowing it to ferment for different lengths of time. It is available fresh, frozen or precooked and can be steamed, baked, broiled or fried.

The health benefits of fermented foods are numerous:

  • Fermentation allows the bacteria, yeasts and molds to “predigest” and therefore break down the  carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to create ‘probiotics’ which offer friendly bacteria into our digestive tract.  This helps keep our immune system strong and supports our overall digestive health.
  • Fermented foods are enzyme rich foods that are alive with micro-organisms.   A healthy gastrointestinal tract (GI) is critical to a strong immune system.  Diets rich in fermented foods, as well as fruits and vegetables (think sauerkraut), are best for us to in order to maintain a strong healthy body.
  • Fermented foods aid in digestion, promote healthy flora in our digestive tract, produce beneficial enzymes, offer us better nutrition and allow our bodies to absorb vitamins (in particular C, and B12), minerals, nutritional value and omega 3s more effectively from foods.  They regulate the level of acidity in the digestive tract and act as anti-oxidants.  (Source: Delicious Organics)

Tempeh is a great source of plant protein (20 g for 1/2 cup!), contains Omega 3 oils, has 20% of DV in iron, and a whopping 11g of fiber (44% DV.)

Tempeh Tacos- Serves 4

Tempeh has a somewhat “meaty'” texture and will crumble easily. That’s why it is so versatile and can be used as an alternative to ground beef or sausage.  Similar to tofu, it takes on the flavor of whatever you use to season it with, so apply liberally.  Make sure to buy ORGANIC, as soy is one of the highest crops which have been genetically modifed (GMO.)

8 oz. organic tempeh (I used Lightlife – flax variety)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1.5 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
2 TB olive oil, separated
Organic corn tortillas
Avocado, diced
Cabbage, chopped
Fresh salsa
Raw milk feta (I used goat)
Cilantro

Mix first four ingredients in bowl and break up tempeh with your hands in 1 TB olive oil (to create a ground beef-like texture.)  Heat another TB olive oil in saute pan and cook tempeh until slightly brown.  Move to bowl.

Have toppings ready in small dishes for taco assembly.

Steam corn tortillas or quickly fry in oil (I like mine soft so I use the steam method.)  Put one (or two) on a plate and begin creating your taco according to flavor preference.  Top with chopped cilantro and hot sauce, if desired.

Serve with brown rice and beans…and pretend you’re in Mexico. Oh, I hope you also saved some margarita mix…

This recipe is part of today’s Simple and Nourishing Carnival.


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