If you can get past the awkward title I promise – hand on heart – that you will not just like this dish, you will absolutely love it. But first, a confession: it has tempeh.
Is that a deal-breaker? I hope not.
Now, I don’t know about you and your nearest and dearest, but we here at food to glow haven’t always been overly keen on the odd bod pulse cake that is tempeh. Old greedy guts me is better at appreciating its rather earthy charms, but Andrew and Rachel have always been reluctant consumers of this most nutritious form of soy. Until now. In fact, in a food to glow tempeh recipe first, the pan of tempeh sofrito was not only wiped clean, but one of my testers – I won’t say who – was hunting around for any spare dishes of it that might be lurking for photographs, i.e. sat on a board by the front door. Yes, they had been very hungry – that’s why everything tests so well, I keep them starved! – but my ears pricked up for some welcome mmm’s and bowl scraping. Normally bowl scraping is an offence punishable by washing up and an hour listening to Jeremy Vine. But this time I beamed. And no one had to listen to Radio 2.
My family has not all of a sudden converted to tempeh-ism. No, they still hate it. But as it is disguised as a tasty bowl of something they might get at Chipotle (nearest restaurant: 415 miles away) I really couldn’t lose. It is all in the spicing. And add-ins.
If you really can’t get your head around tempeh, can’t get hold of it (in the refrigerated section of any good health food store), it’s too expensive (it is not cheap), soy is not for you (although it is a different beast to the crappy soy things you get in the regular stores and used as a cheap filler ingredient for other foods), well just use organic firm tofu, black beans, chicken, seitan – whatever floats your boat. Adapt the instructions as you see fit. The result of whatever you choose should be saucy and spoon-licking (and sticking) good. Pinky swear.
I have given some options to add in to your spicy tempeh sofritas burrito bowls, but jazz it up with what you like – salsa, guacamole, cheese, chopped veggies, shredded lettuce, spicy crema (yes! And I’ve included a cheat’s version), jalapeños – anything goes. The mainstays here are the brown rice base (or quinoa), a layer of seasoned black beans, and a crowning spoonful of tempeh sofritas.
Win friends and influence people by turning your kitchen table into your personal Chipotle. But don’t charge extra for the guacamole.
Adobo Tempeh Sofrito Burrito Bowls
Mix and match to your heart’s content in this spicy, saucy vegan burrito bowl. Make more than you need. You won’t be sorry.
This looks so ingredient-heavy, but it is very easy. My advice: read the recipe through then take it step by step, even making the sauce up in advance if you like (but really it is easier than it looks – I don’t do difficult!). Have it as a burrito bowl like here, or wrapped in soft corn tortillas or large Romaine lettuce leaves. Any leftovers are great in quesadillas or as an omelet filling. Enjoy! xx
–Inspired by a recipe on yupitsvegan.–
200g package of tempeh
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, ½ tsp black peppercorns, ¼ tsp allspice
Sofrito Sauce Base
2 tbsp evoo
6 spring onions, chopped –
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 roasted peppers (I used ones from a jar), roughly chopped
½ of a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce OR ¾ tbsp chipotle chilli paste, like Gran Luchito brand OR ¼ tsp dried chipotle pepper flakes soaked in a little warm water – brands and intensity vary so use as much or as little as you care to
1 tbsp tomato paste (I like old-fashioned sun-dried tomato paste)
1 tbsp white wine or cider vinegar (or I used vinegar from a jar of jalapenos)
¼ cup of water
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp honey or date syrup
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
70g (heaped ½ cup) sweetcorn kernels
Cooked brown rice or quinoa
Seasoned black beans (1 can of beans, drained and heated with 1 tsp Mexican style chilli powder and good squeeze of lime)
Guacamole or sliced avocado
Diced red onions or spring onions
Chopped sugarsnap peas
Chopped tomatoes or salsa
Adobo Crema – ½ cup of non-dairy yogurt, plain yogurt, crème fraiche or Quark + a few spoons of adobo liquid from the tin of chipotles in adobo sauce OR any Mexican hot sauce + a good few squeezes of lime juice
Special equipment: large sauté pan and a blender
1. First of all, heat a large sauté pan over a low-medium. Add the spices and heat until fragrant – about two minutes. Bash this up in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar until mostly powdered. Set aside.
2. Now, in the same pan heat the oil for the tempeh, and fry the tempeh pieces over a medium heat until starting to colour and crisp up. You may want to add more oil but just a little. Set aside for now.
3. Back to the pan – add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the spring onion and garlic until golden but not burned.
4. Pop the onion and garlic into your blender with the spices you blended, roasted peppers, chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, water, lime juice, date syrup or honey. Blend until very smooth. Taste and adjust how you like – more adobo liquid, some salt – whatever.
5. Now, add the corn and the rest of the spring onions to the pan (last time!); heat until slightly charred – no need to add oil but do so if you like. Pour in the sauce, add the bay leaves and oregano, and stir in the cooked tempeh. Cook this over a medium heat until the sauce is quite well absorbed into the tempeh, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick. The tempeh will lose its shape, but that’s fine – the nature of the beast.
6. Start to load up your bowls, starting with a small layer of rice (confession 2: we used a combination of a pre-cooked pouch of brown rice from M&S and Merchant Gourmet quinoa), warm, seasoned beans, the sofrito tempeh and the rest of your add-ins. A complete and filling meal.