Recipe: Smashed Tomato Penne with Crumbled Tempeh

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There's nothing more satisfying than putting a seed in the ground, watering it, and watching it transform into a plant. Even better is when the plant produces food you can eat!

For most of human history, this was the way we sustained ourselves. By eating the food that grew near us, in the season when it was ripe. We've co-evolved with plants so that they can give us what we need when we need it. For example, tomatoes are juicy, and can provide us with fluids during the time of year when we most need it - Summertime.

I like to cook my tomatoes. The heat breaks down the cell walls and makes them even more juicy and delicious, as well as making their nutrients more available for us to digest and assimilate.

The recipe below is a great way to use up the bounty of cherry tomatoes either in your garden or at the market. It's also beneficial if you are trying to cut down on your meat consumption, as the tempeh is flavored and cooked like Italian sausage. Try it, and let me know what you think!

Smashed Tomato Penne with Crumbled Tempeh

12 oz. penne pasta
2 T. olive oil, divided
8 oz. tempeh
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. fennel seeds
2 T. soy sauce
1 qt. cherry tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 T. fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
sea salt to taste

Put a pot of water over high heat to boil. When boiling, tip in pasta and cook according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, warm 1T. of oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the pepper flakes and fennel seeds and stir to coat. Crumble the tempeh into the pan, add the soy sauce, and stir again. Continue to cook over med. heat, stirring and breaking up with a spoon occasionally, until browned, 10-15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the oil to the pan, then the garlic, thyme, tomatoes and salt. Saute over medium heat until the tomatoes start to release their juices. Smash the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, and cook to your liking. Add the tempeh back into the pan, then the cooked pasta. Stir to combine, and serve.

serves 3-4