Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chermoula for Marinating Tofu, Tempeh or Potatoes

Yesterday is now a complete blur to me now. I had a busy day and then had computer problems in the evening that kept me off the blog. Today was much more like a normal day at my house. I spent a little time in the kitchen today making more Middle Eastern food, specifically chermoula.

Chermoula is a Moroccan condiment that can also be used as a marinade. In the past I have used this marinade (with oil) on fish, poultry and lamb). There are many different variations of chermoula other versions include onions, cayenne and salt. Traditionally it contains oil which I left out for obvious reasons. It can also be made as a dry rub rather than a marinade. The mix usually contains parsley and cilantro which I add after the baking to keep it fresh. Here is what I did:

Chermoula for Marinating Tofu, Tempeh or Potatoes
Enough for 14 ounces of tofu and 1 pound of par cooked new potatoes


½ teaspoon coriander seed, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seed, ground
2 teaspoons paprika (not smoked)
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon zested and juiced
¼ cup water

Additional ingredients:

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced


Toast the coriander and cumin and grind in your spice grinder (or using your mortar and pestle). Place the ground seeds in your blender with the paprika, garlic, lemon and water and process until you have a smooth sauce.

To use pour the marinade over tofu slices or tempeh and allow them to soak up the marinade for a few hours in your refrigerator. Bake until the tofu is firm and lightly browned (about 35 minutes at 350 degrees).

If you are going to make the potatoes as well par cook them in the microwave until they are 75% cooked. Cut them into bite sized chunks and toss them in the chermoula while the oven preheats. Roast them in the oven on a half sheet pan with the tofu and they will be finished at the same time.

To serve, top the tofu and potatoes with a sprinkling of parsley and cilantro. The tofu and potatoes are both good hot or cold. I think they are both good on salad, but I say that about everything, LOL.

Nutritional Information (for the entire recipe which will not be entirely absorbed):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 79.28
Calories From Fat (17%) - 13.11

Total Fat - 1.76g
Saturated Fat - 0.21g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 27.96mg
Potassium - 518.52mg
Total Carbohydrates - 22.72g
Fiber - 8.44g
Sugar - 0.79g
Protein - 4.22g


This marinade has a lot of flavor it is not mild. If you like intense flavors you will enjoy this. If you prefer your food more mildly flavored you may want to skip this.


How does my day always seem to get away from me? Does that happen to any of you? I often wonder how we got anything done at home when I worked the same crazy hours as my husband. But even now with me home I still don’t everything crossed off my to-do list. I swear there are more things on my list now than there used to be. Well, it could be that or just that I am older and slower at getting them done. ;-)

Yesterday started like always with my making a bottle of fresh fruit and vegetable juice (similar to this one) for Dan to take to work with his trail mix. Then I made his usual breakfast of cinnamon and ginger oats with flaxseeds, mixed berries and walnuts. While he was having breakfast I put together this lunch for work.

After Dan left for work I relaxed a little and then knocked out my exercise. Needless to say exercise always seems to make me hungry; I think it does that everyone one. At least I hope it isn’t just me. For breakfast I had an odd combination of things. First I made myself a hot water with lemon and a bowl of fruit containing two peaches, a few blackberries and sprinkle of white chia seeds.

The fruit just didn’t seem substantial enough and about an hour and half later I had a small salad which contained: ½ head of shredded romaine, ½ heirloom tomato, ½ cup stove top baked beans (cold) and a dollop of cashew crème fraiche. I may be alone on this but I think the baked beans tasted better cold. ;-)

Lunch was a small bowl of the curried lentil and veggie soup over a little brown rice. I stirred in a handful of shredded spinach once it was warm for added nutrition. I like to add nutrition of meals any place that I can. I finished this with a dollop of cashew crème fraiche.

Yesterday has been gorgeous day weather wise. There a few puffy clouds in the sky and temperatures are in the low 80’s with a nice breeze. I don’t think the weather could be more perfect. First thing in the morning I opened the windows to air the house out. It is so wonderful to get fresh air into the house. I wish we lived in a climate where we could have the windows open more often.

Here is my little angel (Massimo aka Masi) enjoying the fresh air in his favorite window.

After at 10 clicks here is he telling the paparazzi (me), no more pictures you have taken enough. My cats are very vocal. I think it is because they are related to the Siamese breed which you can see in the angular face, long legs and slender body.

Dinner was a simple salad of: shredded romaine, salsa, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, falafel (from the freezer) and raw sunflower seeds.

Of course Dan has his usual big bowl of strawberry banana soft serve (no oats) for dessert.


Our day started like usual with my making a bottle of fresh juice for Dan to take to work, his breakfast (the usual berry oatmeal with flax) and packing his lunch. After Dan was out the door I did my exercise and walked to the grocery store for carrots and lemons (for the fresh juice).

Our weather has been cool (low 70’s) and grey all day. It was been threatening to rain but no precipitation has made it to the ground. I went to the store early to make certain I was home before the thunderstorms started. As usual the weathermen were not exactly on target. Well, at least they got the cloudy and cool part right. ;-)

By the time I was back from the store I was really hungry. Breakfast this morning was a salad of shredded romaine, eggplant and tomato salad, pine nuts, roasted tomatoes and falafel I had thawed yesterday for dinner.

Lunch was a Mariblu Naturals granola bar and small bowl of curried lentil soup.

I spent most of the day trying to get caught up my email. I am through about 75% of it. Thankfully that means I should get through the remainder tomorrow.

Last night I was talking with a friend and we got on the topic of falafel. When she mentioned that she had a healthy (no oil) version that she liked you know I had to ask for the recipe. ;-) Looking at the recipe this morning it is similar, but not exactly like mine. Since I have yet to post my healthy falafel I got some garbanzos and mini favas soaking today so that I can make them tomorrow. Yes I did say fava beans, they are the reason my falafel are a darker color on the exterior without frying. My falafel is not traditional, but we like them.

After I decided to get the beans soaking for tomorrow chermoula danced through my head. I used to love this but my original version contained a lot of olive oil so I have not make it in years. I knew I had to try making a no oil version to see how that would change the dish. As you can tell dinner tonight was more of an experiment than anything else. My poor husband always has to be my cooking guinea pig.

The reason we had potatoes tonight with dinner was that there was quite a bit of chermoula left in the dish once I removed the tofu. I immediately thought par cook potatoes cut them into bite sized pieces and tossed in the chermoula would be good. I did this while the oven was preheating and got the tofu and potatoes in the oven at the same time.

Dinner was a romaine salad topped with tomatoes, cucumber, lemon tahini sauce, chermoula tofu and chermoula potatoes, which was pictured at the top of the post.

Dessert was a slice of pineapple topped with a little cranberry and orange granita from the freezer.


Assuming the weathermen are right we should be getting more sun tomorrow and returning to a more seasonable mid to upper 80’s. I had planned to make the falafel because it was suppose to rain all day tomorrow, but that was a few hours ago. How can the weather people change their minds so dramatically in just a few hours? Is anyone else frustrated with weather forecasters? *rolls eyes*

Food Philosophy:

I get a lot of interesting emails asking food questions that typically revolve around food philosophy as in why we eat this way or how we changed and what sort of difference it made. Those of you that have been reading a long time know most of this but for the new followers I wanted to cover the basics again.

Back in 2004 we found out my husband had cancer. My first thought was what I can do to help him beat this. In general doctors are convinced that there is nothing that patients can do to help themselves once they have cancer. Not being one to give up control and put my life in someone’s hands I immediately went into research mode. It ended with a vegan diet that morphed in a very healthy vegan diet (no oil, little flour, few grains and little sodium). We are not vegan for ethical reasons it is all about health for us. That is also the reason you don’t see unhealthy foods like commercial faux meat or dairy substitutes. I am very particular about what we eat. Soy protein isolates are high on my list of things we will not ingest and they are rampant in processed food.

Our diet continues to evolve and change as I read more books and studies on nutrition and health. I am always looking to improve our diet and nothing is really off limits, in terms of being removed, if it helps us to be healthier. As I said before my husband lovingly refers to me as “The Nutrition Nazi” like “The Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld. He claims everyday there is something else added to the list of “No ______ for you”. I don’t think I am that bad, but I will admit I am adamant that we eat well (translation healthy) the vast majority of the time. We do occasionally go out to eat but even then we try to make the healthiest choice on the menu and we modify our diet at home to get our average numbers back into balance.

One of the things that I have been doing is monitoring how different foods or food groups work for me. I think nutrition is a more personal than many professionals realize. One of the things I have found is that whole grains are not something that my body likes. Don’t get me wrong I love the taste of them, but my GI system moves more slowly when I eat grains resulting in an unpleasant slow feeling. I would not have realized that if I didn’t track what I eat, how I feel (energized, sluggish, tired, etc.). Keeping a food and mood journal has done more to help me narrow down work works best for my body than anything else has. It works best if you make one change at the time and give the change a couple of weeks to have an impact. I have learned a lot about myself with this process.

Overall I know both Dan and I feel really good eating this way. It was a tough transition initially but was well worth it. Now we both have low blood pressure, great cholesterol, better complexions, no seasonal allergies, and we lost a few pounds in the process. I have said before that we probably couldn’t have made these changes just for weight. Since we were focused on health that was the motivation we needed. It really is amazing what drastic changes you can make when your life is threatened. We both feel like these dietary changes have become permanent. Once you have felt as good as we do you can’t imagine going back to anything remotely like the standard American diet.

I hope that explains why we have moved to an “uber healthy” vegan diet and gives you some insight into my initial and current motivation.

On that note I need to run. It is getting late here and 6am comes early in the morning. Talk to you all again tomorrow assuming my technology problems are gone.


  1. Thanks for sharing why you eat vegan. I'm glad Dan is doing well!

    The Chermoula recipe looks great. I'm got a block of tofu in the TofuXpress right now -- I may do a variation of that marinade today!

  2. What a fantastic marinade. Love the sound of all of those spices together. Yum. I have really been wanting falafels lately for some reason. Funny you should be noshing on them ;-) I do think nutrition is more personal too. I think there are likely general guidelines, but I think each person is unique and some nutritional needs are based on activity levels (like pro atheletes or runners or weight lifters) and surely each person processes nutrients slightly differently?

  3. JL,

    I had been getting a lot of questions by email recently so I thought I should tell the story again. Dan and I are sort of the accidental vegans. We never intended to be vegan though that is our life, if that makes any sense.

    I have been considering a TofuXpress glad you mentioned it. I assume that since you use it you must like it. Looks like there is something else to add to my next Amazon order. ;-)

    hope you are having a great morning,

  4. Heather,

    I thought of you when I was making this marinade. Of course I would suggest you add cayenne to yours since you like heat. ;-)

    Protein is something that has been pushed in America for so long we all think we "need a lot of it". I used to think that was true for myself too. When I started reducing my protein there was no negative impact on my LBM. Additionally I just feel better (lighter) when I consume less protein. It is all a matter of personal trial and error in my opinion.

    The more LBM you have and the more active you are the more calories you need without question. Someone like you would need to eat far more than most women and it is tough to get a lot of calories from only produce (veg and fruit).

    Like you I do think there are nutrition basics that apply to everyone. One of the things I like about your blog is that even though you are vegetarian your food is far more healthy than most vegan blogs. It goes without saying that I love reading about your workouts. ;-) I love you overall healthy approach to life. :-)

    From what I have read there are significant differences in how people process or absorb nutrients. One that comes to mind immediately is ALA conversion.

    hope you are having a good Wednesday,

  5. I love chermoula...thanks for the recipe. And that granita and pineapple dessert is so cute and so refreshing. Thanks for the ideas.

  6. Rose,

    My original recipe used oil where I call for water. Also sometimes I add cayenne and sometimes I don't depending on my mood.

    The pineapple and granita was a good combination. We just wanted a small treat so I used a cookie scoop for the granita. It was just a enough of a sweet ending to dinner.

    talk to you later,

  7. Haha...you already have falafel from the freezer and you are making more, lol?!? That is a lot of falafel!


  8. Courtney,

    I am starting to run low on falafel in the freezer. Since they are a staple of my diet I can always use more, LOL. ;-) As you know I have an enormous freezer to keep stocked.


  9. "My poor husband always has to be my cooking guinea pig."
    if he EVER gets tired of being your guinea pig....CALL ME

  10. Michelle,

    LOL, that was very sweet! But trust me not every dish is home run. I do still have a stinker now and then. Those recipes never see the light of day, so to speak, like the raw falafel months back. Those were not good so I never got back to them. I need to work on that again soon.


  11. Once again, your blog post has made me hungry for some good wholesome food! I haven't been cooking from scratch much lately, but I am thinking I may try a few of your recipes next week. You and your husband eat good! :)

  12. Angel,

    Thanks! I am happy that I can help. :-)



Related Posts with Thumbnails