Good morning all!
Going strong after day 2 of the sugar-free challenge. No more pictures to show but my breakfast was the chia pudding I shared yesterday, lunch was leftovers from the recipe I’m going to share today and dinner was a leftover veggie burger with quinoa, arugula and a chipotle cashew sauce. Turns out as long as you do a little reading of labels and have fresh-fruit available, being sugar free isn’t so bad ;)
Today I am going to bring you a sugar-free dinner recipe! I know it’s not intuitively a problem area in terms of added sugar, but a lot of those store-bought sauces and spice mixes contain hidden added sugar, as do a lot of salad dressings and soups. So starting with a recipe that is completely homemade ensures you control every ingredient that goes into it, including being sure it’s completely free of sugar!
This recipe started with inspiration from Rebecca at Vegan Sparkle’s recipe for Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup. The soup looked to die! But it’s not winter here like it is in Australia so I wasn’t looking for a warming bowl of soup and I was out of cashews. So I decided to create a raw creamy pasta sauce using mushrooms and raw sunflower seeds to make a more summer-friendly version! The sunflower seeds are packed with anti-inflammatories like vitamin E as well as magnesium and selenium, so the sauce is not only just tasty, but is also very heart healthy!
Since we’re in the middle of a heat wave here, I chose to go with raw zucchini noodles instead of pasta. This kept the dish nice and light and had the added bonus of providing lots of extra veggies!
I had half a package of tempeh in the freezer so instead of opting for a completely raw meal I decided to add some simmered tempeh into the mix. Now soy gets a bad rep, but tempeh is a great form of soy to include in your diet. In addition to being a great source soy protein that is minimally processed, it is also fermented which means it’s got loads of healthy probiotics, which are gut-friendly bacteria! In addition to promoting good bacteria it also produces the enzyme phytase which helps the body absorb iron and rhizopus, a compound that actually fights bad bacteria. Not a bad little complete protein huh? I simmered it in Italian-inspired spices and flavours that I thought would pair nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms in the sauce. If you make nothing else from this recipe, make this tempeh, you won’t be disappointed!
This dinner was at once both hearty tasting from the mushroom sauce and tempeh, yet light from the zucchini noodles. The miso really adds complexity to the sauce so don’t skip it! Throw in some cherry tomatoes for colour and sweetness and you have yourself a delicious summer meal with absolutely no added sugar or sweeteners!
Zucchini Pasta with Raw Mushroom Cream Sauce and Italian-Spiced Tempeh (Vegan, Gluten-free*, Sugar-Free and High Raw)
This sauce recipe makes more than you will need so save the rest to serve on cooked pasta or another grain, or halve it if you think your blender can handle the smaller quantity.
- 2 zucchini, cut into noodles. I discuss the method I use here, or use a spiralizer if you have one
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Raw Mushroom Cream Sauce
- 1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds (I used seeds that had been sprouted and dried)
- 2/3 cup dried mixed mushrooms, rehydrated
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water, can use more or less to desired consistency
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp white miso paste
- large pinch of salt
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 4 oz. tempeh, cubed
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s *ensure this is a gluten-free soy sauce
- 1/2 tbsp avocado oil or another neutral, high smoke point oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
First mix the marinade ingredients together and place the tempeh in the bowl to marinate. Stir occasionally to ensure all tempeh is soaking up the marinade. Set aside while you make the sauce and cut your zucchini.
Blend all the sauce ingredients together until smooth.
Cut your zucchini into noodles, halve cherry tomatoes and finely chop parsley if you haven’t done so already.
Heat a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the tempeh and marinade. Bring the liquid to a simmer, then reduce heat to low, cover and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 8 min.
To assemble, place zucchini noodles onto a plate. Add about 1/4 – 1/3 of the sauce, top that with half the tempeh and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle parsley on top and serve!
Such a happy looking plate :)
Happy Friday everyone!