Harvest Moon Tempeh Stew

Last night was the Harvest Moon.  The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox and it is said that this full moon is named “harvest moon” because it adds just a bit more extra light when crops need it most before harvest.

My own harvest moon was not particularly photogenic by the time I got to grab my camera for a shot.  So I found this lovely, golden, harvesty, autumnal moon photograph on Pinterest.

This sets the mood for our dish.


Are you feeling a slight chill in the air in your neck of the woods?  We aren’t quite that far along here in central New Mexico, but we did have a gorgeous September day with bright, hot sun shining down through slightly cooler-than-summertime air.  That’s how it is most of the fall for us, the sun remains quite warm in this high altitude but it is tempered by gradually cooling air.

Finally it is not too hot to cook something! Maybe turn on the oven for a few minutes of baking. And with a beautiful harvest of late summer foods available, what comes to mind is a light stew.

Nothing heavy. Not cooked for hours. But wouldn’t a little sweetness and richness be nice to welcome the Harvest Moon?  I thought so.


I cut up an 8-ounce package of tempeh and pan fried them in 2-3 tablespoons of avocado oil. Tempeh is a naturally fermented soybean product and this all organic one from Lightlife also contains brown rice, millet and barely.  They got nice and brown and the oil gave them a richness I’ve been craving!

I soaked 12 ounces of dried kombu seaweed (two pieces) and when it was softened, I cut it into one-inch squares. These went in the bottom of a roomy pot with the tempeh on top and enough water to cover the tempeh. I added soy sauce. I didn’t measure., but I can tell you that you just need enough to make a medium brown broth that definitely has the soy sauce taste but is not something that tastes really salty.  When I begin cooking for fall and winter, I do use a bit more oil and salty taste than I do in spring and summer.

I added a 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric.  Turmeric not only creates a fabulous, warm color and wonderful flavor, but turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that I like.


I layered in some quartered yellow and red onions. This will add a rich, sweet taste, too! I let them start to cook in the simmering tempeh and broth while I rough-cut the rest of the veggies.


Next comes, julienned ginger, roughly cut garlic cloves, celery and carrot chunks. Into the stew they went.


And finally, half-moon slices of butternut squash. Definitely inspired by the idea of a harvest moon!  I laid these on top of the stew and put a lid on.  I continued to cook the stew until the squash was tender—not a really long cooking time altogether—perhaps 30 to 40 minutes total and that is all you will need. I didn’t want my “moons” to fall apart!


And so on this Harvest Moon evening, with thoughts of the coming fall season while we yet cling to the beautiful late-summer warmth, we have something sweet, rich and warm to eat that still reflects the freshness of summer’s bounty.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Our Sunday Supper today is going to be with some friends at their home. We are sharing the job of making the food, so I volunteered to bring veggies and dessert.

Since I have a full day scheduled I had to plan ahead and of course, I wanted to choose something that perhaps everyone hasn’t tried but that would very likely taste good to them. I chose to take advantage of sweet-tasting root vegetables that could be roasted (making them even sweeter) combined with some lovely quinoa.

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains for a number of reasons. Number one, it has a germ that, when it is cooked, forms a ring around the grain. Like Saturn! Number two, quinoa is a very high protein grain and is therefore very sustaining. And three, quinoa is quick and easy to prepare.

I roasted the veggies ahead of time so that late in the afternoon I could finish up the quinoa dish, finish another simple dish of kale, yellow squash and carrot salad with roasted crushed pumpkin seeds on top, and make one of my dark chocolate mousses. For the mousse I’m returning to the “March Madness Mousse” for its richness and because I’ve got all the ingredients.

(Some who follow me may be wondering, “What about your April chocolate mousse installment?” But never fear, April is not over yet and there will be a new mousse recipe before the month runs out.)

The real challenge is, ‘Can I make this quinoa dish so delicious that even someone who mainly consumes standard American fare will enjoy it?’

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad (Serves 6)

  • 2 organic medium carrots
  • 2 organic small parsnips (big ones get too woody)
  • 1/2 organic rutabaga
  • 1 bulb organic garlic
  • 1/2 organic yellow onion
  • 1 1/2 cups organic quinoa
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • cumin
  • cardamom

Wash the veggies and dice the carrots, parsnips, rutabaga and onions into 1/2-inch dice. Peel each clove in the garlic bulb and cut into similar diced size. Coat the diced veggies in olive oil and season them with salt, pepper, cumin and cardamom to taste. (I used about 2 teaspoons of cumin and about 1/2 teaspoon of cardomom.) Spread the seasoned veggies out onto a baking pan so they are in a single layer and put them into a 350 degree oven. Periodically mix them, turning the veggies so all sides get roasted. It takes about a half hour for these to be done at this temperature.


Wash the quinoa in cold water. If you wish, you can quickly roast the quinoa in some olive oil or just dry roast them. I opted for dry roasting because the veggies had plenty of oil already. I used a cast iron frying pan to lightly roast the washed qunioa.  About 5 minutes.

Cook the roasted quinoa with 2X water (give or take) and a two-finger pinch of sea salt. I ended up using 2 2/3 cups because I didn’t want the quinoa to be too wet since I was mixing it with the veggies as a salad. Bring the quinoa to a boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes.

All of this can be done ahead of time. I don’t like to serve veggies that were refrigerated if I don’t have to. So I just left the roasted veggies out for the day until I got home.  Then I combined the quinoa and roasted vegetables. I blanched some frozen peas and threw them in for color. I also slivered up some preserved lemon rinds. Find out what these are and how to make them here. If you don’t have them, try some fresh lemon zest!

Dress the salad as desired. I simply used a little extra drizzle of olive oil and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The result? Here’s what the quinoa and veggies looked like:


And what about the other diners? They all served themselves a generous portion and most had seconds!