Tangy Strawberry Balsamic Tempeh Sandwich (or salad!)

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A few weekends ago my cousin and I were making dinner together. She suggested a salad, I suggested tempeh, she suggested strawberries, and it was a date! Together in her kitchen we were cooking and chatting away, as I volunteered to come up with a marinade for the tempeh.

My go-to ingredient for every sauce, dip, and marinade is always Balsamic Vinegar. I love it! My brilliant cousin Bekah, however, is the one who made this marinade awesome. Bekah came up with the dazzling idea to add orange juice to the marinade, which took this tempeh from delicious and traditional to exotic, fresh, and unique! I swear, I’m never going to want to make tempeh any other way.

Since that night I’ve made this dish in both salad and sandwich form, so I thought I’d share the sandwich variation with you. Although, if you are looking for a gluten free or low carb variation, check the notes and tips section below for the salad suggestion!

Yet again, I am grateful for rented kitchens, family, time together around the table, and experiments. Bring on the strawberries, and bring on the summer.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (plus 1 Tablespoon)
  • ½ teaspoon agave
  • Generous sprinkle of sea salt
  • Sprinkle of pepper
  • 2 Buns, toasted
  • 1 block of tempeh
  • 10-20 Spinach leaves, rinsed and the stems removed
  • 5-10 Strawberries, sliced into thing pieces
  • 4 thin sandwich slices of Havarti cheese

Directions:

  1. Slice the tempeh into thin strips. (I cut the block in half, turned those halves on their ends and sliced those in two. Then I cut those 4 thin squares into 2-4 long strips each!)
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, orange juice, 1 teaspoon olive oil, agave, sea salt, and pepper in a shallow dish and mix well.  Add the tempeh to the dish and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Flip the tempeh pieces to allow equal soaking.
  3.  Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large frying pan. Add the tempeh pieces to the pan once the oil is hot.  Cook for 3 minutes on one side and then flip.
  4. Drizzle 1/3 of the marinade sauce over the tops of the tempeh pieces and tilt the pan to allow the sauce to slide under the tempeh pieces. As you continue to cook the tempeh and rotate it, continue to drizzle the sauce over the tempeh. This will create a caramelized exterior, darken the tempeh, and significantly increase the flavor.
  5. Once the tempeh is cooked, assemble your sandwich by placing a slice of Havarti cheese on each side of a freshly toasted bun (this helps the cheese melt!). Then stack with spinach leaves, strawberry slices, tempeh, and top with the other half of the bun. Enjoy while it’s hot!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 2 large sandwiches (potentially with a few pieces of tempeh left over!)
  • Gluten free and low carb variation: Prepare the tempeh in the same way, but serve over a spinach leaf salad. Crumble some harvarti cheese and slice up a few strawberries to throw on top, and you won’t even miss the bread! Other possible toppings: sunflower seeds and sliced purple onion.
  • Be careful when pouring the marinade into your frying pan- if your pan is too hot and you pour the marinade over the tempeh it may spit! If this happens, simply turn down the heat and wear an oven glove while you pour. I did not have a problem with this but do not want anyone to move too quickly and get burned!)
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen
  • If you like this post, check out these other delicious meals from ‘a rented kitchen!’:

Grandma’s (Strawberry) Lemon Bars

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As soon as I could sense summer coming around the corner, I started craving lemon bars. Unfortunately, as soon as I could see summer coming around the corner, I could also see finals coming around the corner.

Finals are the reason I have been pretty MIA the last few weeks (sorry about that!). However I have good news- finals are officially over for this girl, which means less money spent on coffee and more money spent on food ingredients! She’s baaaack!

Obviously after craving lemon bars for the last several weeks, lemon bars were the first thing I had to make in all my new found free time. This recipe was my grandmother’s lemon bar recipe, which means it’s a winner right off the bat.  However, in the middle of the baking process I realized I had strawberries that were about to go bad, so I added them to the mix, and created a slightly adapted, yet still delicious version of my grandmother’s lemon bars. I think she would be proud.

Give them a try! Strawberries and lemon bars- nothing could possibly say summer more than those things. Enjoy your weekend, and be extra grateful for your grandmothers today.

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Ingredients:

  • ½ + 2 Tablespoons cup melted butter (melt the ½ cup and 2 Tablespoons separately)
  • 1 cup + 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced fresh strawberries (OR a few heaping Tablespoons of strawberry jam)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • ¾ – 1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and lightly butter an 11 x 7 inch baking pan.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, flour, and ½ cup melted butter.  Mix well and press into the prepared pan. Bake for 5-10 minutes until lightly brown.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the remaining 1 cup of brown sugar, baking powder, salt, nuts, coconut, and beaten eggs.
  4. Arrange the sliced strawberries (or jam) over the cooked crust, and then pour the egg/coconut over it all.  Bake for an additional 20-25 minutes at 350˚ F.
  5. Allow the bars to cool for a few minutes, and in the meantime, mix together the confectioners sugar, lemon juice, and remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter.  Pour this mixture over the squares like a thin glaze, and allow to harden.
  6. Cut and serve in squares once the glaze has harden, and try not to eat them all at once! J

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Notes and Tip!: