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I grew up in a part of the world that doesn’t really get real winters. Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver winters are nasty in that can’t-get-warm-cause-you’re-always-soaking-wet kind of way, and I do not miss the rain even a little bit, but relatively speaking, they’re mild. Now I live in a part of the world that gets real winters. By all accounts, we’ve had a pretty mild one, and I did manage to commute to work on my bicycle until one day earlier this month when it was -15 C and dumping snow when I admitted defeat and bought a one month transit pass. I really agonized over the decision, totally worried that if I bought the pass the very next day things would clear up and it would be a waste of money. Lucky for me, it’s continued to dump snow and the temperatures have been frigid. Sorry, rest of Stockholm, I think it’s my fault. But fear not, my pass expires on the 3rd of March, and I intend to get back on my bike right then. I expect the weather will adjust accordingly.

Naturally, since I’m now spending my commute sitting on my ass and reading or playing scrabble on my phone rather than biking 40 minutes each way, I’ve decided that all I want to eat is something warm with cheese melted on it. Salads? No! Too cold! I want cheese! And cookies! Feeeeeed me!!!

So, what I’m saying is, I’m feeling a little doughy. Let’s get back to basics, shall we? Let’s whip up a batch of something fast. Something jam-packed with goodness. Something that’s good when it’s warm but equally good when you get home from work all tired and the best you can do is eat it straight out of the container in the fridge. Let’s make this!

Broccoli and tempeh get a lemony olive oil bath. We add some lemon zest too. Heck, let’s throw those spent lemon halves on the tray and roast them too. They’ll make for a pretty garnish – Ina Garten says a plate should always look like what’s in it, and who am I to argue with Ina? While the broccoli and tempeh are roasting we’ll boil up some quinoa in a nice veggie broth. And we’ll toast some sunflower seeds. And then we’ll toss everything together in that pretty bowl we always forget we have, and we’ve got our meal. Just like that. Or we’ve got packed lunches for a few days. Just saying.

I’ve largely broken up with soy, but it still makes a guest appearance in my meals from time to time. We’re like casual lovers now instead of fully committed. I love tempeh. Think of tofu as the white bread of the soy world, and tempeh as it’s way cooler whole grain cousin. Tempeh is whole soy beans which are cooked and then fermented using a special bacteria (what? they use bacteria in cheese making too) which penetrates the beans and binds them together into a delish, firm, cake with an incredible nutty flavour. It’s generally got significantly less fat, more protein, and a higher fiber content than tofu. Tempeh is tough to find in Stockholm but I have found it here from time to time, and when I do I always buy a bunch and keep it in the freezer. The tempeh pictured in this post is actually some I bought in Vancouver, froze, and lugged back to Stockholm with me. Yep, I’m that person.

One year ago: Carrot Ginger Muffins

Lemony Roasted Broccoli and Tempeh With Quinoa Recipe: 

I’m calling for just one lemon in this recipe, to be juiced and zested and tossed with the broccoli and tempeh before roasting. But not all lemons are created equal, nor are all taste buds. If your lemon isn’t all that juicy, you may want to use two. I juiced and zested one one lemon prior to roasting, and once I tossed everything together with the quinoa and tasted it, I decided I wanted more lemon flavour and ended up adding the juice of one more lemon and another glug of olive oil. Along the same lines, I didn’t add any salt to the dish until the very end. If your broth is very salty you may need none at all, or just a little. Taste, and decide.

Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side.

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1 large head broccoli

1 250g package of tempeh

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

juice and rind of 1 lemon (or more – see head notes)

3 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

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Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.

Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a large saucepan and set, covered, over high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork when it has absorbed all of the liquid.

Meanwhile, chop broccoli into small florets and chop the stem into chunks about the same size. Dice tempeh into 2.5cm / 1 inch cubes. Toss broccoli and tempeh onto a large baking sheet, then pour lemon juice, olive oil, and sprinkle lemon zest over top. Use your hands to mix everything together so you know it’s well coated. Pop into the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, until tempeh and broccoli are both starting to brown just a bit. Stir once part way through.

Place the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast until just browned. Careful not to burn them!

In a large bowl combine quinoa, broccoli and tempeh, and sunflower seeds. Give everything a good toss and then decide if you need to add any more seasonings. Salt? Pepper? More lemon juice?

Serve.

Know what you’re eating: what’s good about this? You already knew broccoli is good for you, right? It is a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and high broccoli consumption is thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and some cancers. Tempeh is a good source of protein, is high in dietary fiber, and the fermentation process makes digestion easier and nutrients like zinc, calcium, and iron are more bio available than in non-fermented soy products. Quinoa not only has a very high protein content (about 18%), but it also contains a complete set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron. Sunflower seeds are rich in linoleic acid, vitamin E, B vitamins, and are a source of dietary fiber. They’re fatty though, people, so remember to moderate.

Do ahead: this salad can be stored for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Makes great packed lunches!

All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012

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