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Vegetable Tagine with Baked Tempeh

January 24, 2011

Maybe the title is a little pretentious since it has two words people don’t usually use in conversation: tagine and tempeh.

Well, if it makes you feel a little better, this is not actually a tagine because it does not require a tagine dish. This is what a tagine dish looks like:

It is used in middle-eastern cooking, so unless you cook a lot of middle-eastern food, you probably don’t need it. The hole in the lid lets some steam escape so that the flavors in the base can become more condensed.

You do not need a tagine for this recipe.

You do, however, need tempeh. Tempeh is a fermented soy food. It is a traditional soy food, like tofu, but it has a more engaging texture. Because it is a traditional soy food and is fermented, it is good for you. (Some of you readers may know my aversion to the proliferation of soy foods these days, but fermented and traditional soy foods–like tofu, miso & tempeh get my OK stamp.)

You can read about tempeh here on Wikipedia. I buy mine at Trader Joe’s (whenever we’re there, which is seldom, because there is zero-zip-nada in West Michigan.) Do not be intimidated by tempeh, even if you are not a vegetarian. It is tasty and interesting. Tell your meat-loving family that if they’re man (or woman) enough to eat meat, then they should be able to handle the spices in this dish. (Well, maybe that wouldn’t work, but it wouldn’t hurt to try.)

You can find the recipe, originally published in Cooking Light, here. I did not find this difficult to prepare at all. It took a little time, but it was mostly crushing spices and chopping vegetables. The dish didn’t need much care once it was in the oven/on the stove.

We even fed some to Evelyn. She seemed to like it, at first, but she wasn’t woman enough to handle the spices, so she ate applesauce. (I would recommend easing up on the amount of red pepper it calls for. I used 1/4 t. instead of 1/2 t. and I still wondered if that was too much.)

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