I think I may have found my new favorite sauce for stir-frying. But first...
I am going to admit something right now: I like wine. It's yummy. I don't drink it all the time, but when I do, I enjoy it - especially in winter! There's something nice about hanging out with a group of people and that nice warm feeling of a good class of vino.
Lately, I have been craving salt like crazy (and I think I know why). December is an inevitable onslaught of social gatherings (excellent), great food (yay), and wine. Always wine.
Here's the thing: all food has an energetic quality. From a Macrobiotic perspective, it can be expansive (yin) or contractive (yang). Wine - and all sugars and alcohol - are incredibly expansive. When we ingest a high proportion of expansive foods over a given period, the body seeks balance by asking for more contractive foods. Salt - and animal products - are contractive.
Thus, my hypothesis: my increased intake of wine of late has caused a bit of an imbalance and my system is asking for salt to even things out.
[Interestingly, miso is one of the best remedies for sugar cravings!]
Have you ever noticed this happening to you? Cravings are a symptom of something out of balance. Check out this article here on how to uncover what your cravings mean...
Conveniently, there are some delicious (and rather nutritious) ways to work a healthy amount of salt into the diet without piling on the bleached white stuff in shakers at restaurants.
Sea vegetables - hijiki, wakame, arame, dulse, kelp, kombu, and nori - are great natural sources of salt. I love making miso soup with kombu for a deliciously rich, salty dish when the craving strikes. It's also super nutrient-dense: try out this recipe here.
Miso itself is also a great way to work some contractive saltiness into your food, along with the benefits of fermentation. I decided to use some of the brown rice miso we had on hand to make a sauce to accompany a tempeh-sweet potato skillet this past week. Delish. It was just what I was after: savory, salty, and truly flavorful. It added a really nice kick to the veggies (and would be a great marinade on its own for pretty much any other Asian-inspired recipe).
The key here was the addition of cloves: they offer a very specific dark flavor. I don't use them in my cooking very often, but think I may have to start doing so more often!
The sauce itself is a simple combination: miso + tahini (for creaminess) + ground cloves. I mixed these in a small bowl and then transferred to a makeshift piping bag made from waxed paper. (Roll your 6" x 6" square into a cone (like one of those pointy water cooler paper cups), fill with sauce, and snip off the bottom corner. It generates less plastic garbage - and is less expensive - than using a plastic baggie.) Once the veggies and tempeh were done, I used the piping bag to 'decorate' each plate. YUM.
Do try this out! It's a yummy mix of seasonal veggies and protein-tastic tempeh. Super filling, super warming, super delish. As always, vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
- 1 block tempeh, cubed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted and divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
- 3 cups kale, loosely packed
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp brown rice miso
- 1/2 tsp cloves, ground
- gomasio, for garnish
- 1. Preheat oven to 375F.
- 2. Toss sweet potatoes with 1 tbsp coconut oil and spread on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tender.
- 3. In the meantime, prepare your other ingredients (chopping, etc).
- 4. Heat remaining oil in a skillet on medium. Toss in garlic; sautee for 30 seconds.
- 5. Add mushrooms. Sautee until softened and slightly browned.
- 6. Add tempeh. Continue to sautee until browned (about 7 minutes). While tempeh cooks, combine tahini, miso, and cloves in a small bowl until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag (or makeshift waxed paper piping bag described above).
- 7. Add kale and tamari, stirring to combine, then cover with a lid. Allow everything to steam for 2-3 minutes until kale is bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat.
- 8. Remove sweet potatoes from oven and toss into your skillet, mixing well so they're spread throughout your mixture.
- 9. Transfer to bowls and use piping bag to dress with miso sauce. Garnish with gomasio and serve!