Hearty and Flavorful, this Cuban-Style Vegan Tempeh Picadillo tastes just like the original, but is plant based and vegan!
I’m so intrigued by all the plant based options that have become mainstream lately. I’m not plant based (yet), but I love experimenting with different ways to recreate the traditional Latin recipes I grew up eating. I recently returned from a trip from London, and the vegan food movement is even bigger than it is in the USA! I saw ads for vegan chick’n sandwiches at KFC (yes, you read that right), vegan meal delivery and more! I think it’s official, plant-based eating is here to stay!
My Cuban Style Vegan Tempeh Picadillo replaces ground beef or turkey with tempeh. Like tofu, tempeh is a soy-based product. It’s made by fermenting cooked soybeans and then forming the mixture into a firm, dense cake. For this recipe, I use a food processor to gently pulse it up, so that it resembles ground meat. Pretty cool, huh?
There are many ways to live a plant based lifestyle, and there are lots of terms for it, depending on how strict your diet is. I think it’s helpful to define the terms:
- A vegan diet is entirely plant-based. It excludes meat, fish, dairy and eggs – basically anything that comes from an animal.
- Vegetarians also eat a plant-based diet, but their menu may include dairy and eggs.
- A flexitarian is a vegetarian that sometimes indulges in meat or fish but mostly sticks to plant foods.
- Plant-forward or plant-based is a style of cooking and eating that emphasizes plant-based foods but is not strictly limited to them. Meat may be included but it’s usually not the main feature of the meal.
People are definitely embracing plant based-eating, and there are many reason why. Whether you’re considering eating less meat or giving it up entirely, the benefits are clear: less risk of disease and improved health and well-being. Specifically, less meat decreases the risk of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes
- Many cancers
Besides the obvious health benefits, there are environmental and ethical reasons to make the switch, too! But whatever your reason is, plant based eating can be super delicious, and you can remix many Latin staples into plant based version, with a few tweaks. Try replacing ground beef with tempeh, soy crumbles or lentils. You can make a yummy plant-based ropa vieja using jackfruit! A delicious plate of rice with habichuelas is a protein packed, plant based meal that requires no tweaking at all!
Going plant-forward is easier than ever these days. My Tempeh Picadillo is a great way to introduce plant based eating to your family, in a way that’s familiar and super delicious. It’s always best to choose ingredients and flavors you know your family will enjoy. Experiment with a meatless meal once a week, then add more days as you get used to it. Odds are good that you will get used to it! Your heart health and your waistline might get used to it, too. Bon appetite!
Cuban Style Vegan Tempeh Picadillo
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp sofrito
- 8 oz tempeh crumbled
- 2 tsp Loiza Organic Sazon
- 1/2 tsp Loisa Organic Adobo
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp pimento stuffed olives
- 2 tbsp raisins
- 1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, diced
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Heat a saute pan on medium heat, then add the olive oil and sofrito. Cook for 30 seconds.
Add the tomato sauce, broth, olives, raisins, and diced roasted red peppers. Cook the tempeh picadillo on medium low for 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated, but the mixture is still moist.
Serve with rice, avocado and sweet plantains.
Use a food processor to crumble the tempeh, or a cheese grater works well too!