Cold Pepper Tempeh Salad

by Chris on January 9, 2010

So, it’s been a little over a week since I began the 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge. (10 in 10 Healthy Challenge is a pledge for 10 weeks….a pledge for healthy life changes. Be sure to check out the list of participants Lori put together!)

Overall, I have been doing okay with it. Wish I was having better luck. I am good-to-go with the eating well. And, the idea of a Positive Daily Affirmation journal has been fully implemented on my other blog. The working out? Yeah, that one needs to get back on track. I have totally gotten out of my routine and need to get back. I know this and will not let months of hard work go to hell in a hand basket because I am in an (unfamiliar) unemployment rut. I will get back, I will get back! (Sounding a bit like Dorothy.) I am going to use Maria and Jenn for inspiration! Maria is kickin’ ass with her Body Combat and Body pump classes and Jenn is a mad woman with kettle bells.

As far as blogging…To coincide with my 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge, I have been thinking about adding a little more (challenge-specific) to my posts at least once a week. Like Lori, I think Saturday will work best. If for anything, maybe it will organize my brain! And, look! Here we are. Saturday.

Today’s topic? Cholesterol. Some time ago, posted about alternative proteins, foods with which I have enjoyed playing with and discovering for myself. How do alternative proteins tie into cholesterol? I ate an alternative protein today (below) and it has a relationship with cholesterol, something I have to watch. My cholesterol is a close resemblance to a Ninja…yet never gets to the healthy leveling out point. It’s a constant struggle I know I share with so many.

Sally Wadyka posted an article for MSN Health & Fitness on 5 Foods That Fight Cholesterol. Interestingly enough, they are also fabulous for a life change eating. And, they are foods with which we all have access!

Delicious and healthy eating + lower cholesterol = Great 2 for 1 deal!
Don’t you think?
Speaking of cholesterol, according to the American Dietetic Association, we need to have a goal of a “total cholesterol under 200, with LDL (the bad one) under 110 and HDL (the good one) greater than 35”.
Now, for the foods…to review the 5 Foods That Fight Cholesterol included in the article…well….4. Since we were an alcohol and tobacco free facility, I originally omitted one of the 5. Plus, I don’t drink red wine…so….Almonds: “According to dietitian Leslie Bonci, who is also the director of sports nutrition at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. ‘Eating nuts, especially almonds, which are high in good-for-you monounsaturated fat, is better than simply eating a low-fat snack like pretzels,’ says Bonci. Of course, they can also be high in calories, so stick with a small serving and choose almonds that are dry roasted without oil.”
Oatmeal: The key is soluble fiber. “ ‘The soluble fiber binds to the bile acids that are the precursor to the development of cholesterol and help flush it out,’ explains Bonci. It doesn’t matter how you get your oats—those instant, just-add-water packets are just as good for you as traditional, slow-cooked versions.” (Just make sure you don’t add any no-so-good ingredients to negate all the benefits.)
Fish: “Omega-3 fatty acids are widely considered to be the best of the “good” fats, and the best place to find them is in fish—especially fatty fishes like salmon, halibut and tuna.”
Soy: “Soybeans, soy nuts and edamame, plus any products made from soy (like tofu, soymilk, etc.) can help to reduce the production of new cholesterol. A little can go a long way—aim for about 25 grams of soy protein a day (the amount in a cup of edamame).” (Looking for some great edamame recipes? Check out Kalyn’s blog, from right here in Salt Lake. She has a ton of great recipes to offer, edamame and more!)

Tempeh, another soy product (a mix of whole soybeans and grains, like rice, millet, and barley), is the star of today’s salad. While I have incorporated tempeh in warm/hot dishes (Tempeh Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms & Tempeh Tostada Salad with Tomatillo Salsa), I went with a cold one here. (I know…I have been on quite the salad kick, lately.)

A lil’ notes about tempeh. If you cook it immediately after removing from its package, the tempeh might have a bit of an acidic taste that isn’t too pleasing on the tastebuds. To help rid the tempeh of any bitterness is cooking it in boiling water for about 10 minutes should help.
Cold Pepper Tempeh Salad
8 oz. tempeh cake/patty
¼ cup Vegenaise/low fat mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. no fat plain yogurt
1 Tbsp. Dijon
1 tsp. Herb de Provence
1 red pepper
½ yellow pepper
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tsp. oil
Boston Lettuce Leaves
Cook the tempeh in boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, in a medium bowl, mix all the remaining ingredients to combine well. Store in the refrigerator until ready.
Remove tempeh from the water, pat dry, and season with Salt/pepper to taste. Discard the boiling liquid and add oil (or vegetable spray) in the pot. Cook the tempeh to brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, and when cook enough to handle, dice the tempeh to desired size. Place in a (non-metal) bowl and let cool.
When the tempeh has cooled, fold it into the Vegenaise mixture. Add additional pepper if needed. Scoop ½ -1 cup servings to lettuce leaves and serve.

Other Articles I read this week that you may find helpful/useful for your 10 in 10 Healthy Challenge.

The 11 Best Foods You Aren’t Eating (Thanks for this one, Susan! – check out Susan’s pomegranate video…she’s so cute!)

13 Smart Tricks for Eating Healthy

Trendy Diets Done Right

Healthy Recipes and Tips

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Pam January 9, 2010 at 1:13 PM

I've got to learn to use tempeh. My husband gets a marinated tempeh sandwich from a local deli that he just loves!

Kalyn January 9, 2010 at 3:05 PM

I have to confess, I've never once cooked tempeh, and have only eaten it a few times. I keep hearing how delicious it can be though.

I was on medication for high cholesterol until I went on South Beach, then it went low enough that I was able to stop taking the medication. I know I need to get it checked again to make sure I am still okay, so thank for the reminder.

The Cooking Ninja January 9, 2010 at 5:27 PM

ooh…I love tempeh but for the life of me, I can't cook it right like I like it. In Asia, the Malays pan-fried it. It's nice and a little crunchy on the outside.

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