Now I’m no vegetarian, but I probably eat a lot less meat than the average American. In the colder months, I might eat meat once or twice a week, and during the hot months it’s closer to once every two weeks. Also, I find that it’s valuable to be familiar with how to prepare and (very important) how to ENJOY foods from various alternate diets and ingredients. So although I’m not vegan, I often cook vegan meals, and even though I’m not on a raw diet, I enjoy the challenge of preparing raw menus.
Why? Well, as Sharon Astyk points out, you don’t always know what foods will be available down the road, or what energy will be available for food preservation or preparation; keeping your culinary muscles and tastebuds limber and stretching your kitchen creativity regularly gives you many more resources for adapting to the unforeseeable.
Secondly, as a person traversing the dietary terrain of living gluten free, I understand the importance and honor inherent in being able to prepare food for those with their own allergies and intolerances. I love to cook for my people. Being able to feed them well according to their individual needs? That’s how I honor their place at my table.
So a couple weeks ago I came up with this recipe – vegan and easily adapted to being raw (and obviously already gluten free), and my dinner companion and I unceremoniously inhaled them.
NOTES: To make it an all raw dish, simply substitute some raw dehydrated flatbread or collard leaves for the taco shells. Also, I make my own kimchi, but you can buy it at the store as well, just make sure to taste it for spiciness so you can balance out the flavors. My most recent batch isn’t very spicy, so I add a pinch of cayenne to the tempeh, but if you have a really hot kimchi, you may want to skip the cayenne. And finally, your fresh veggie and herb mixture can be whatever you like. The one pictured has cucumber, parsley, and Thai basil, and previously I used arugula, cilantro, and tomatoes. Basically, use whatever’s on hand.
Tempeh & Kimchi Tacos
- A dozen taco shells or raw substitute (see notes above)
- 8 ounces GF tempeh
- 1 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 Tbsp. GF tamari
- 1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil, flax seed oil, or hemp seed oil
- pinch of cayenne (optional)
- Fresh chopped veggies & herbs (see above notes)
- optional garnish with lime wedges
Whisk together the molasses, tamari, oil, and cayenne in a medium-sized bowl. Add tempeh, mix well, and set aside for at least ten minutes.
Finely chop your preferred mix of fresh vegetables and herbs. Some suggestions: cucumber, radishes, carrots, spinach, scallions, arugula, tomato, thai basil, chives, cilantro, parsley… you get the picture.
Into your taco shells, layer in your tempeh mixture, veggie/herb mix, and kimchi. Bet you can’t eat just one.
Favorite wacky taco combos?