Here’s the second of two recipes Chef Hans Rueffert shared with HealthCentral for those who’ve had a gastrectomy (stomach removal surgery). These recipes are also useful if you haven’t had stomach removal surgery, proving both delicious and nutritious.
Rueffer, who made his name as the second-generation chef-owner of the celebrated Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Georgia, was a competitor on season one of “The Next Food Network Star” (he took home third place) and is a stomach cancer survivor.
Tempeh and Green Okra With Grain
“This is a versatile, plant-based dish that became a staple for me when learning to eat after my surgery,” Rueffert writes. “It uses tempeh, which is a soy-based meat alternative, like tofu. It’s made from whole soy beans which are softened by soaking. The beans are then cooked, slightly fermented, and formed into a firm patty or block.”
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 3 to 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 cup crumbled tempeh
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 cups green okra, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup pre-cooked rice or whole-grain sorghum and quinoa (optional)
- Drizzle of honey to taste (optional)
- Cherry tomatoes, for garnish
In a sauté pan over medium to medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil with three to four cloves of fresh garlic.
As soon as the garlic begins to toast, becoming translucent, add the tempeh. Cook until slightly toasted and crispy around the edges. Add salt and mix well.
Remove toasted tempeh to a bowl and set aside to prepare okra.
Using the same skillet as the tempeh, add remaining olive oil over high heat. Add spices, heating until aromatic. Immediately add the chopped okra for a quick sauté.
Turn off the heat; there will be enough residual heat for the okra to become crunchy, but not raw. Do not overcook.
Add tempeh back in with okra. Mix well. Taste for seasoning.
The tempeh and okra mixture makes a great side dish on its own; or as a main dish, you can serve it over rice or whole-grain sorghum and tri-colored quinoa. Add a drizzle of local honey plus a bit more spice if you wish. Garnish with cherry tomatoes. Whatever you don’t finish, save for lunch or a snack. It’s great cold or warmed with a fried egg.
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Pamela Kaufman, a writer and editor in New York City, got her professional start covering health and fitness for Vogue. Learn more about her life as an adventurous eater and mom to two feisty young boys by following her on Instagram @pamkaufman.