One-pan Tempeh spag bowl and spicy kale crunch by @livnutritious

One-pan Tempeh spag bowl and spicy kale crunch by @livnutritious

A huge thank you to @livnutritious for sharing this post and yummy recipe with us at My Botique.

Ok, I know what you are thinking … why would anyone want to mess with a good ol’ tradish spag bowl dish?? I just want to clarify, I am not vegan or plant-based but I AM PLANT FOCUSED meaning I’m obsessed with plant-based foods in a massive way with a majority of my meals focused towards foods that stem from the earth. My meat intake is only of sustainable sources at just the minimum amount required to meet my personal health requirements.

I could eat spag every night, I love it .. in fact my husband and I have personal joke about it. So for this reason I have played with the tempeh idea, as I feel not a single soul should miss out on a spaghetti bolognese … and the kale crunch, well it just takes a regular dish to a whole new level of amazing.

On that note, there are so many processed vegan ‘meats’ available. Please please do not buy these ever! Stick to the beans and tempeh basics, these being unprocessed thus being umpteen times better for your overall health…I’m honestly not sure why a simple whole food has to be turned into something processed … it just seems so ridiculous to me. On the reverse of this, keep in mind Tempeh is a phytoestrogen which has both pro’s and cons.. read on…

Phytoestrogens bind weakly to oestrogen receptors to produce an anti-oestrogenic affect, making this phytonutrient notably beneficial for women with hormones irregularities.


  • Lighten heavy periods
  • Combat low energy & mood experienced in the luteal phase (PMS)
  • Relief of pre & menopausal symptoms + reduce risk of osteoporosis and heart disease
  • Possibly lower risk of breast cancer (read on)
  • Relieve acne causative of high androgens
  • Act as an antioxidant to inhibit free radical damage, thus having anti-proliferative effect unlike synthetic oestrogens i.e. ‘The pill’ which devise a proliferative oestrogenic effect, problematic for inflammatory diseases and tumour growth.


  • Isoflavenoids: legumes, with soy beans of the richest source.
  • Lignans: From dietary fibre of nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrains, vegetables and fruits.
  • Coumestans: sprouted beans & alfalfa
  • Conflict…to soy or not to soy?
  • Go for: Fermented soy products i.e. miso and tempeh and unrefined sources i.e. edamame

Avoid or limit: Processed soy products such as vegan meats, milk, yoghurt, ice-creams, soy cheese and soy protein supplements.

In moderate amounts soy is healthy, in large amounts has the potential to cause adverse effects problematic for menstruation, fertility and post-menopausal women however the risk is largely depended on age, genetics, and gut microflora health.

Thyroid health: Soy and soy products are goitrogens which disrupts thyroid function by inhibiting the body’s ability to use iodine, problematic for an under-active thyroid.

While there is evidently a protective effect, there is also conflicting evidence that phyto-oestrogens might stimulate the growth of existing hormone dependent cancers. The results of scientific studies are contradictory, with varying studies reporting both the stimulation & reduction of oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells. My view? With this limited research women with a genetic predisposition, existing or past breast cancer should be cautious with consuming soy on a daily basis but definitely don’t completely avoid phytoestrogens.

Recommended amount? To give you an idea, the amount of phytoestrogens recommended / day is about 100g of tempeh (1/3 packet)…so like everything, its about variety and balanced whilst limited the processed.

Serves 3-4 with 5 minute prep + 30mins to cook.

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • ½ – 1 tsp dried chili flakes (dependent on desired heat level)
  • ½ tsp ground sea salt
  • 1 brown onion finely diced
  • Slosh of red wine (optional)
  • 1 x 300g packet of tempeh
  • 200g (roughly) of Swiss Brown or Button mushrooms, you can also add in additional vegetables if you wish.
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil and oregano leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tins of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp. concentrated bone or vegetable broth or can sub for 1 tsp. stock powder.
  • 1 packet of wholegrain, buckwheat, pulse or bean pasta or zoodles.

For the spicy kale crisps

  • ½ bunch of kale leaves, stem removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. truffle or olive oil (truffle oil tastes extra special PS!)
  • Chili flakes and sea salt to coat.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (for the kale only).

On medium, heat the olive oil in a large pan then add the garlic, onion, chili and salt and Sautee for a few minutes until a little golden. Slosh through the red wine here if you are using it and let it burn off.

Add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes, until the mushrooms soften a little.

Add the tomatoes and concentrated broth or stock to the pan and sir through.

Grate the entire packet of tempeh into the sauce, top with herbs and the bay leaf, stir through until even.

Reduce to low heat and simmer for about half an hour or until the sauce is nice and thick.

Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper.

Massage the chopped kale in oil of choice and make a single even layer on the baking tray then sprinkle with chili flakes and salt (to taste).

Place in the oven and bake for about 15minutes (or until crunchy and golden but not burnt).

Cook the pasta of choice as per packet.

Once the sauce is thick and the kale and pasta are both ready. Serve the pasta evenly into bowls, top with heaped serving spoons of bolognese and sprinkle over a generous amount of crunch, sprinkle with a little parmesan or cashew parmesan if you wish.

Enjoy xx



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