Maximum healthy, minimal dishes

After explaining the recipe to me, Jens gave a monologue about “maximum implementation, minimal implements.” He really likes minimizing the amount of dirtied utensils. I actually have gotten very exasperated at him as he strategizes about dishes and said, “Just dirty another butter knife, I’m the one who does the dishes and I don’t care!”

So as a preface to this dish, he wants to point out that if you plan ahead, all you’ll be dirtying is: 1 non-stick pan, 1 cutting board, 1 knife, 2 bowls (that you’ll be using to reserve things and eat from), 1 spatula, and 2 spoons. He’s sitting across from me looking very pleased with himself.

This feels very healthy. It’s tasty, but not mind-blowing, but I thought I’d post it anyway because maybe someone will have suggestions on how to improve it. I actually prefer it when blogs post things that aren’t perfect-awesome-mindblowing because it makes them more approachable rather than aspirational.

Jens claims it’s sort of Chinese but I pointed out to him that A) Chinese people usually eat white rice and B) brussels sprouts don’t seem very Chinese to me. I guess if you think of them as stand-ins for Napa cabbage?

For the recipe,


  • 3 bunches of bokchoy, sliced
  • 1/3 lb brussel sprouts (about 30 small sprouts?), cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano, thin slivers
  • 8 oz tempeh, crumbled into small bits
  • 2 tsp. black bean sauce
  • few healthy dashes of 5-spice
  • sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • soy sauce
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or meat stock
  • brown rice
  • butter


1. Start brown rice cooking in rice cooker. Add a slice of butter for richness.

2. In non-stick pan over medium heat, heat up canola oil and splash of sesame oil. When hot, add half of the crumbled tempeh and a splash of soy sauce (Jens’ interjection: Is “splash” too much of a fake term? A dash even is fine.) Leave it alone to let bottom brown. Then stir. Continue until uniformly brown with some burnt-y pieces, about 10 minutes. Reserve in a bowl. Repeat with other half. (If you have a non-stick pan bigger than 10″, you can try to do this in one bunch.)

3. In empty pan, add 1/2 cup stock. Add brussel sprouts with the cut side down. Simmer until stock is evaporated, then flip over and sautee for a few more minutes. Reserve brussels sprouts into a bowl.

4. Add some oil and a little water to deglaze pan. Add garlic, half the jalapeno, most of the tempeh (reserve some for garnish), bok-choy stems (reserve greens), and black bean sauce. Sautee over medium-high heat for a few minutes to work in the black bean suace. Then add the remaining 1/4 cup stock and simmer until bok-choy reaches desired tender (some people like crunchy stems, some people like them soft. Unfortunately Jens and I are on opposite sides of that spectrum).

5. Serve over brown rice. Garnish with reserved crunchy tempeh bits and reserved jalapeno slivers. Season with chili-garlic (sriracha) sauce if you want more spice.

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2 Comments to “Maximum healthy, minimal dishes”

  1. First, hooray for the resurrection of the blog! This is how I know you got a job. Ha.

    Second, I have to say, as the person who does BOTH the cooking and the cleaning in my house, I always appreciate fewer dishes to do. It’s just the principle of the matter.

    And finally: I guess it’s vaguely Chinese? The soy sauce, bok choy, black bean sauce and the random garlic are all very Chinese. I don’t think I’ve ever had brussel sprouts in Chinese food before, but random vegetables aren’t uncommon. The fake!meat is also quite Chinese. And ok, so Chinese people eat brown rice or mixed grains rice (ask my mom about the purple rice we have) when they are trying not to get diabetes, now. It’s not a proud moment in our culinary history, sigh.

    • Ha so true, as soon as recruitment wrapped up I was like, “BLOOOOOG!”

      OMG, my mom is doing the same thing – she’s all about the purple rice and wild rice now that they’re on a “health” kick. Although I don’t know how successful it is, considering every time I go home she wants to give some away to me to get it out of the house.

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