My lunches do not normally look like this. But it was so pretty, I had to snap a picture of my lunch to-go earlier this month.
One of the first things I moved into my office was a mini-fridge so I could easily store leftovers. I might bring a big batch of beans and a large salad and keep them in the fridge all week until nothing is left, replenishing through the week and supplementing with a fresh apple each day. By the end of the week, I might cobble together all the remnants for a take-away lunch.
Although a bit multi-component, this was a simple lunch. Oftentimes, when I end up in an Asian grocer, I gravitate to the exotic mushrooms. They are typically very reasonably priced, even when compared to white mushrooms in a regular grocer. So, I buy a few packages of mushrooms without any plans. This time, I wanted Asian flavours and made my vegan ponzu sauce as both a marinade for tempeh and then quickly stir-fried some snow peas and shimeji mushrooms. Cooked rice would work well as a side but I wanted to ham it up for the camera and made a few onigiri to go. By adding the nori around the rice packet, it makes it an easy side to nibble with your fingers.
What does your lunch usually look like?
PS. I am sharing this with Meat Free Mondays.
Japanese Vegetables and Tempeh with Ponzu Sauce
Adapted from Taste of the East
8 oz tempeh
2 tbsp arame
1/4 cup just boiled water
3 tbsp low-sodium tamari
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp peeled and minced ginger
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp lemon juice
pinch chile flakes
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
300g shimeji mushrooms (or your favourite), trimmed (2 packages)
300g snow peas, trimmed
1. Begin by steaming your tempeh: Place the tempeh in a microwave-safe dish with half a cup of water. Cover it with a lid and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Drain any excess water. Slice the tempeh into 8 strips, then in half.
2. While the tempeh is steaming, make your ponzu sauce: Boil your water and add to arame for 15 minutes or so in a small cup. In a small saucepan, combine the tamari, rice vinegar, ginger, lime juice, lemon juice and chile flakes. Heat sauce over low heat. Once ready, add the arame and the liquid to the saucepan. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce can be prepared in advanced and refrigerated until needed.
3. Place cut and steamed tempeh into the marinade and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Longer is always better.
4. When ready to eat, preheat oven to 350F. Place marinated tempeh, reserving the marinade, on a silpat-lined baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until browned.
5. Meanwhile, heat a wok on medium-high heat. Add toasted sesame oil. When hot, add mushrooms and stir fry until toasted brown, around 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a bit of the reserved ponzu sauce and add the snow peas. Cover and allow to steam for 1-2 minutes.
6. Serve tempeh and vegetables with the reserved ponzu marinade as a dipping sauce for any onigiri you might have, too! Plain rice could also work as a side. 😉