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Monday, January 17, 2011

Cookbook Club 1.1: Veganomicon's Tempeh-Broccoli Rabe-Rotelle

The first book up in Lindsay's cookbook club is Veganomicon.

I've had this book probably since it came out but have only made a few recipes here and there. Widely considered to be the ultimate vegan tome, I'm glad for a chance to use and critique the book.
There are a ton of recipes in here but for the first recipe I picked "Spicy Tempeh with Broccoli Rabe and Rotelle" because I thought it would appeal to G and because all the ingredients interested me. Plus, it seemed like the perfect hearty dinner: a protein, a carb, and a vegetable. Also, for a cookbook of this depth, there are not a lot of photos, so I wanted to pick a recipe that did have a photo so that I would kind of know what I was going for.
The meal was one of those with a 45 minute icon and even for someone like me who runs back and forth constantly checking the book to see if I'm doing it right, the whole thing came in under an hour. I got the ingredients at Whole Foods - that's another post, but I love that place - though most of them probably could have been purchased at a regular grocery store except for the tempeh.
Anyway, as I served it, Greg mentioned how he never eats pasta as sauceless as this was. It has a sauce, but it is absorbed into the tempeh. We agreed that it probably would have been better with more sauce on top. Both the tempeh and broccoli rabe are a bit bitter which I generally don't have a problem with but they would have improved, or at least been more widely palate-friendly, with a bit more sauce. I might make some more up today to throw on top of the leftovers (which it looks like I'll be eating solo). Luckily the sauce is pretty simple.
Apparently G doesn't like tempeh and now I feel bad because I also deliberately skipped a step of frying the tempeh. I actually do enjoy it and even eat it straight out of the package sometimes so I felt there was enough oil in the rest of the recipe that I didn't want to fry the tempeh, despite that probably firming up the texture and perhaps selling G a little more on the tempeh. Oof. Sorry.
Anyway, I'd still recommend the recipe even if I don't make it again. It makes a lot and it's pretty healthy (except for the oil! What is up!). I love the addition of fennel seeds and I love any opportunity to eat broccoli rabe. If you make this (or have) and don't skip the frying of the tempeh, let me know if that changes anything taste or texture-wise. It might even help if you dry-bake it but that would obviously be another step.

Poor Greg suffering through both the horrible meal I served him and my taking a photo of his bowl:

What a trooper.


  1. sure looks good! :o) Sounds like I might not care for it very much. I'm not a big fan of "bitter". Kudos to G for eating it anyway! I've only had broccoli rabe once and that was in NJ and my sister-n-laws. She made a pasta with it. I had to try my best not to make a face when I ate it, and I made myself eat it so it wouldn't hurt her feelings. She did make it jus for me, so I had to eat it....

    I'm liking that you are cooking from Vcon, because I haven't made a lot of things from it myself. If you say it's yummy, then I'll have to give it a try! :o)

  2. for the record i will most likely be eating some of the leftovers probably reheated in a pot with tomato sauce.

  3. i have veganomicon!.. havent tried this.. nor have i tried many recipes from it... they require a lot of prep and ingredients.. but ill def keep this in mind if i want to fix this dish!

  4. It sounds really good. Broccoli Rabe is not something we see a lot down here, it's more of a NY thing.

  5. Michelle - that's nice of her anyway! If you do make it, I'd double the sauce and pour more on top at the end, but I do like bitter sometimes. Or you could just use broccoli with the stem cut really thin lengthwise.
    Burbs - I'm looking at your back right now.
    Movesnmunchies - this was a pretty simple prep, though it does include three separate bowls/pots!
    Shen - I thought I'd seen broccoli rabe on yr blog before, maybe it was baby broccoli?


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