The holidays are quickly approaching, and for many of us that means the weekends are busy with parties and other social gatherings, we’re braving the crowds to find those perfect gifts for the ones we love, the scents of cinnamon and pine fill the air, and there’s generally good cheer and merriment all around. During this time of year, I find myself getting caught up in tasks or other to-dos and slacking a bit on taking care of myself. Forgoing the gym for an after-work party, staying up way past my bedtime, getting busy and forgetting to eat, enjoying one too many cocktails, and letting the stress get to me are all things I’ve been guilty of in the past. Come January, I’m ready for the new just by virtue of having been on overload. So this year, I’m trying to be more intentional about taking care of myself. No big-deal changes or proclamations, just letting myself sleep more, moving my body on the regular, eating nourishing meals, and enjoying a few more green drinks. And while I tend to make all of my meals from scratch most of the time, I’m finding that occasional indulgences in nutritious, tasty, local foods that are already ready to go (or just about) come in handy during busy times. And I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that this is possible to do in a way that doesn’t compromise my values when it comes to food.
One of my new finds is the Happy Planet line of soups, which are delicious, healthy, often local, and fully in line with how I like to eat. The Thai Chicken soup, in particular, is one that I’ve been enjoying quite a bit lately. It’s delicious (fragrant with lemongrass and has just enough spice to make you notice), it’s made entirely of real food ingredients, most of which are organic (no preservatives, un-pronouncables, modified things, etc.), and the chicken is also organic, free-range, and local (it’s raised in Ontario!). After taking a Thai cooking class in Thailand many moons ago, I have always loved making (and eating) my own Thai food. I have to admit, this is a really good substitution. If I don’t have the energy to create additional feast-y accompaniments, it’s very satisfying to eat on its own. But if I’m being honest, my favourite way to eat it is with some black rice and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. If I’m feeling like doing a little bit of work to make it into a meal (or 3), I’ll prep some of these salad rolls and/or this tangled Thai salad to go along with it. If you’re having a busy week, the salad rolls keep in the fridge tightly covered for a couple of days, and you can keep the prepared salad ingredients in separate containers and assemble as needed. It makes for a pretty good feast. Next time you’re ready to drop a wad of cash on some greasy, mediocre take-out to fuel you through the busy day, I highly recommend you pick up this satisfying and delicious soup instead (and some back rice and cilantro if you’re feeling energetic). Need more incentive, Happy Planet is giving you a discount. Just click here to get your coupon. Happy December, friends! xo
Tempeh, Water Chestnut, and Sweet Potato Salad Rolls and a Tangled Thai Salad
Get the printable recipes here.
Tempeh, Water Chestnut, and Sweet Potato Salad Rolls with Peanut Sauce
3 tbsp neutral oil
1 package (8-oz) tempeh, cut into small cubes
1.5 tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic chile paste
1 large sweet potato,cut into small cubes
1 cup water, plus more as needed
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 can (5-oz) water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
¼ – ½ cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
Rice paper wrappers (12-14)
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and fry until golden brown on the bottom. Turn to brown the other side and add the ginger, garlic, scallions, and chile paste and saute for a minute. Stir in the sweet potato and 1 of cup water and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occassionally. Add in the cabbage and stir to combine. Cook until the sweet potato and cabbage are tender, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the water chestnuts and salt. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as necessary.
To make the salad rolls:
Fill a pie plate or round cake pan halfway with very warm water. Immerse the wrapper in the water for approximately 20-30 seconds, or until it is softened. Pull it up out of the water with both hands, being careful not to let it collapse on itself. Immediately spread it out flatly on a cutting board or counter. See this post for more visual instructions.
Put about ¼ cup of the filling toward one side of the wrapper and fold that edge over. Tuck in the sides of the wrapper and continue to roll the filled wrapper, holding the sides in, until it’s closed and snug.
Continue this process with each wrapper, changing your hot water halfway through. Place each finished roll on a plate and cover with a damp towel.
1 tbsp coconut oil
½ a small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
? cup crunchy peanut butter
½ cup warm water, or more as needed
1-2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp coconut sugar, or other sweetener
¼ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
½ tsp fish sauce or sea salt, or more to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat the coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sweat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the peanut butter and coconut sugar. Gradually whisk in the warm water to thin out the sauce. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with fish sauce/salt to taste.
Tangled Thai Salad
Tangled Thai Salad Dressing
1-2 small Thai bird chile, seeded and minced
4 tsp coconut sugar
½ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup neutral oil
½ tsp fish sauce, or more to taste (can sub kosher salt, if vegetarian or vegan)
Tangled Thai Salad
1 medium daikon, julienned or spiralized
2 large carrots, julienned or spiralized
½ a bell pepper (red, yellow, or orange), julienned
2 heads of bok choy, leaves removed and washed and cut into thin strips
¼ – ½ cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
¼ – ½ cup Thai basil, coarsely chopped
¼ – ½ cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
½ cup unsalted, roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
Put the Thai bird chile, coconut sugar, lime juice, oil, and fish sauce or salt into a bowl. Whisk to thoroughly combine and dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
Put the salad ingredients in a large bowl, toss with some of the dressing until well combined. Do not pour all of the dressing in at once. You may not need it all. Serve immediately or keep individual salad components in sealed containers in the fridge for a couple of days and assemble and dress, as needed.
Thanks so much to Happy Planet for sponsoring this post! As always, all ideas and opinions are my own. I never share any products that I don’t love and use myself. Thank you to my readers for supporting the sponsored work that I do. It allows me to support this site and to continue to create new and interesting content for 80twenty.