Months of sweets treats and indulgent cuisines from all around the world means it's time for a reset. Kick-off the new year with this healthy recipe to try at home.    

Today's healthy dish hails from California – tempeh with spicy kale and black quinoa. 

This recipe comes from Lonely Planet's The World's Best Superfoods.

What is it? 

If superfoods were weather patterns, this dish plows straight into a perfect storm – the leafy goodness of kale, the firm earthy bite of tempeh, the comforting starchiness of quinoa.


This dish is a relatively modern invention, given that its constituent ingredients couldn’t come together without globalized trade and culinary trends. To be fair, tempeh is from Indonesia and the Dutch love boerenkool (curly kale), and a history of Dutch colonialism could have brought the two ingredients together. But throwing South American quinoa into the mix is a distinctly 21st-century innovation, and it’s the sort of combination that bespeaks a marked Pacific Rim origination. 

You’ll need 

4oz (113g) black quinoa, rinsed 
2 tbs canola or peanut oil 
2 tbs fresh root ginger, minced 
8oz (225g) tempeh, cubed 
4–5oz (100–150g) kale, chopped 
1 chilli, chopped (or dried chilli flakes, to taste) 
juice of ½ lemon 


Step 1: Put the quinoa in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. 
Step 2: Stir, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is cooked but still retains some firmness. 
Step 3: In a deep pan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. 
Step 4: Add the ginger and tempeh to the oil. Cook for about 1 minute until the tempeh sizzles and starts to turn brown. 
Step 5: Add the kale, chilli and cooked quinoa. Stir-fry for about 5–7 minutes, until the kale has cooked a little, but has not totally wilted. 
Step 6: Add the lemon juice. 

Tasting notes

Black quinoa and tempeh have strong notes of terroir – these are earthy ingredients, their solid musk cut by a hint of sweetness. Combined with kale’s fragrant bitterness, this dish, minus any spicy heat, is surprisingly hearty, if not heavy. But throw in some fire and this recipe takes on a whole new texture. Fresh chillies add a fruity heat element that lightens the package, while dried chilli flakes are more one-dimensional, but still nicely undercuts the soily sweet and bitter base. A little ginger provides a nice refreshing zing, as does a squeeze of lemon juice. If you’d rather add some umami (pleasant savory taste) depth, toss in a dash of nuoc mam (fish sauce).

For additional recipes, check our Travel Kitchen page.

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