Tempeh is a firm, chewy cake made from fermented soybeans, and its dense texture makes it a hearty yet cholesterol-free and very low-fat stand-in for meat. It’s a staple of vegan cuisine. You can crumble into chili, or slice it and throw it on the grill. Here, we use it as a substitute for beef in fajitas. Tempeh does well marinated (it really soaks up the flavors). For this weeknight-friendly recipe, combine the tempeh with the marinade in the morning, pop it in the fridge, and then finish the recipe in the evening. We use plain old soy tempeh, but you can use other varieties, such as flax or three-grain. Serve with salsa (either End-of-Summer Pico de Gallo or Fiery-Sweet Peach Salsa) and a dollop of Guatemalan Guacamole.
Wild-caught sablefish (a k a black cod, Alaska cod, butterfish) from Alaska is a fatty, mild-flavored fish with luscious, buttery texture. It’s an ideal candidate for smoking. If your fillet is long, cut it in half so you can pull the thinner tail end, which will cook more quickly, off the grill when it’s done. If you can’t find sablefish, use wild Alaskan salmon instead. Your choice of wood will influence the taste. For more pronounced smoky flavor, use hickory. For subtle smokiness, use applewood. Serve atop crackers, flaked over a tossed green salad or with bagels and cream cheese (with capers, of course).
Arctic char is a relative of salmon and trout, with flavor is somewhere between the two, and it has a luscious fattiness. The fish is native to chilly Arctic waters, and it’s a good option for sustainable aquaculture since the fish are cultivated in closed recirculating tank systems, according to Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish. I had a hot-smoked Arctic char salad similar to this one at the Los Angeles restaurant Ammo. This recipe demonstrates how easy it is to smoke fish on a standard grill. Serve the smoked arctic char warm or chilled. This recipe also works well with wild salmon.
This wheat berry salad always wows those new to whole grains. The smokiness of the grilled tomatoes, creaminess of the eggplant and haunting complexity of the spice paste create quite a sensation. Soft wheat berries have a toothsome starchy quality that works well in this recipe.
This grilled fish in parchment recipe is a NOURISH Evolution classic. Flaky white fish, like sustainable barramundi or catfish, are tough to grill, but that doesn’t mean they need to be left out of the summer repertoire. Just wrap them up in parchment (a classic French technique called “en papillote”) with a handful of summer veggies and you’ve got yourself a whole meal on the grill. Not inclined to fire up the grill? You also can cook the fish in the oven at 450 F for 10-15 minutes.
Bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean and is the name of a beef dish in which paper-thin sliced meat is soaked in a flavorful combo of soy sauce, black pepper, ginger, rice wine, and pureed fruit. In this version, readily available pureed kiwifruit stands in for traditional Asian pear to help tenderize the lean grass-fed beef. To make the beef easier to slice super-thin, pop it in the freezer for 30 minutes. If you don’t feel like firing up the grill, you can stir-fry the beef. Serve in lettuce cups with short-grain brown rice. We also love it on warm tortillas with a dollop of Fiery-Sweet Peach Salsa. [amd-zlrecipe-recipe:79]
This grilled asparagus recipe comes from Savigno, Italy, a hamlet it the hills south of Bologna, by way of my friend Alberto Bettini. Along with being the third generation to run his family’s incredible restaurant and inn, Da Amerigo, Alberto is passionate about preserving traditional foods and recipes. He shared this one with me in much the same manner as it has probably been passed on for centuries (Alberto calls it an ancient recipe): by simply describing it. Like many Italian recipes that have endured the ages, this one is simple in technique and ingredients, yet surprisingly complex in flavor. Serve this asparagus as an appetizer (it’s great as part of an antipasto platter), tossed with pasta, or simply snacking on out of hand.
Beef brisket is a tough cut that lends itself to slowly smoking on the barbecue. Soaking the hardwood is crucial for successful barbecue. As you may have learned while camping, wet wood produces lots of smoke–bad for camp-outs but just what you want for barbecue. For beef brisket and other relatively lean cuts, basting is necessary to keep the meat moist; any kind of high-quality beer will work well in this recipe. Hardwood chunks are ideal, since they burn slowly and produce gentle, consistent smoke.
Skirt steak is a great choice for a weeknight meat craving: It cooks up superfast and takes great to rubs. A few slices served with a plateful of veggies (like our Romaine Slaw) and whole grains (like our Herb-Flecked Bulgur) brings something traditionally thought of as a nutritional no-no (steak) into a more nourishing category. Make up a big batch of the spice rub to keep on hand for even faster dinners on the fly.
The inspiration for these buffalo burgers is somewhat obvious — the combo of hot sauce, blue cheese and celery is a buffalo wings classic — but the tie to sustainability and healthy ecosystems might not be as clear. I was turned into a buffalo (bison) lover by Dan O’Brien, of Wild Idea Buffalo, who talked about bringing back bison in order to save his beloved South Dakota plains. The two, it seems, are healthiest when living together … a perfect illustration of a thriving ecosystem. These flavorful burgers will be a hit at any summer barbecue.