Ok, I know what you are thinking ... why would anyone want to mess with a good old traditional spag bowl dish?? I want to clarify I am not vegan or plant-based, but I AM PLANT FOCUSED, meaning I'm obsessed with plant-based foods in a massive way, with a majority of my meals focused towards foods that stem from the earth. My meat intake is only from sustainable sources at just the minimum required to meet my personal health requirements.
I could eat spag every night; I love it .. in fact, my husband and I have a personal joke about it. So, for this reason, I have played with the tempeh idea, as I feel not a single soul should miss out on a spaghetti bolognese ... and the kale crunch, well, it just takes a regular dish to a whole new level of amazing.
On that note, so many processed vegan 'meats' are available, but please do not buy these ever! Stick to the beans and tempeh basics, these being unprocessed, thus being umpteen times better for your overall health...I'm honestly not sure why a simple whole food has to be turned into something processed ... it just seems so ridiculous to me. On the reverse of this, keep in mind Tempeh is a phytoestrogen with pros and cons.. read on...
Phytoestrogens bind weakly to oestrogen receptors to produce an anti-oestrogenic effect, making this phytonutrient notably beneficial for women with hormone irregularities.
- Lighten heavy periods
- Combat low energy & mood experienced in the luteal phase (PMS)
- Relief of pre & menopausal symptoms + reduce risk of osteoporosis and heart disease
- Possibly lower risk of breast cancer (read on)
- Relieve acne causative by high androgens
- Act as an antioxidant to inhibit free radical damage, thus having an anti-proliferative effect unlike synthetic oestrogens i.e. ‘The pill’, which devise a proliferative oestrogenic effect, problematic for inflammatory diseases and tumour growth.
- Isoflavonoids: legumes, with soybeans of the richest source.
- Lignans: From dietary fibre of nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, vegetables and fruits.
- Coumestans: sprouted beans & alfalfa
- Soy: Always go for fermented soy products, i.e. miso and tempeh, tofu and unrefined sources, i.e. edamame
- Avoid or limit: Processed soy products such as vegan meats, milk, yoghurt, ice creams, soy cheese and soy protein supplements.
Thyroid health: Soy and soy products are goitrogens that disrupt thyroid function by inhibiting the body’s ability to use iodine, which is problematic for an underactive thyroid.
Recommended amount? To give you an idea, the amount of phytoestrogens recommended / per day is about 100g of tempeh (1/3 packet)...so like everything, it's about variety and balanced whilst limiting the process.
Serves 3-4 with 5-minute prep + 30mins to cook.
For the sauce
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 4 large garlic cloves
- ½ - 1 tsp dried chilli flakes (dependent on desired heat level)
- ½ tsp ground sea salt
- 1 brown onion finely diced
- A slosh of red wine (optional)
- 1 x 300g packet of tempeh
- 200g (roughly) of Swiss Brown or Button mushrooms; you can also add additional vegetables if you wish.
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil and oregano leaves
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tins of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Concentrated bone or vegetable broth or can sub for 1 tsp. Stock powder.
- 1 packet of wholegrain, buckwheat, pulse or bean pasta or zoodles.
For the spicy kale crisps
- ½ bunch of kale leaves, stem removed and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. truffle or olive oil (truffle oil tastes extra special PS!)
- Chilli flakes and sea salt to coat.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (for the kale only)
On medium, heat the olive oil in a large pan, then add the garlic, onion, chilli and salt and Sautee for a few minutes until a little golden. Slosh through the red wine here if you are using it, and let it burn off.
Add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes, until the mushrooms soften a little
Add the tomatoes, concentrated broth, or stock to the pan and stir.
Grate the entire packet of tempeh into the sauce, top with herbs and the bay leaf, and stir until even.
Reduce to low heat and simmer for about half an hour until the sauce is nice and thick.
Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper.
Massage the chopped kale in the oil of choice and make a single even layer on the baking tray, then sprinkle with chilli flakes and salt (to taste).
Place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (or until crunchy and golden but not burnt)
Cook the pasta of choice as per the packet.
Once the sauce is thick, and the kale and pasta are both ready. Serve the pasta evenly into bowls, top with heaped serving spoons of bolognese and sprinkle over a generous amount of crunch; sprinkle with a little parmesan or cashew parmesan if you wish.