the nine days: day 9

Tzom kal! (Easy fast!) You may be surprised to see an email about food (don’t look! don’t read it!) today, while we’re fasting, but we all know that fasts come to an end, and then we’re starving. So what do we make to break the fast? Three weeks ago, when the Three Weeks started with the Fast of the 17th of Tammuz, I broke the fast with baked falafel and all the fixings. We *could* do that again…but I decided not to.

My husband likes a good meal that’s kind of carby to break his fast. You want something a little bready to soak up all that extra stomach acid. Nothing greasy. No heavy meat that will give you indigestion. Not a soup, because you just want to CHEW something after you haven’t eaten all day.

So, like I said, we did falafel last time. This time, I’m trying out Sara Forte‘s Tempeh Balls, from her book, The Sprouted Kitchen. Obviously, there will be other additions to the meal (like cheese! and wine? and nuts! and other things that are actually real food…). Can’t wait to see what these taste like! I do love tempeh.


Tempeh Balls

Serves 4 (but probably not after fasting)

1/2 cup lightly toasted cashews
1 T ground flaxseed
2 T water
1 (8 oz) pkg tempeh
2 cloves garlic
2 T olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, oregano, basil, or a combo
1 t fennel seeds
1 t sea salt

1 1/2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
1 t red pepper flakes (but maybe not after fasting?)

In a food processor, pulse the cashews until they form a coarse meal. Don’t overprocess (no cashew butter!). In a small bowl, stir together the ground flaxseed with the water to form a thin paste. Add the paste to the processor along with the cashew meal. Crumble the tempeh and add it, the garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onion, herbs, fennel seeds, and salt to the food processor. Pulse a couple of times to combine. The mix should resemble ground meat. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and let rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes and up to a day in advance.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using your hands, gently roll the tempeh mixture into 1″ balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, thinly coat the top of each ball with olive oil. Bake until the tops of the tempeh balls are just toasted, 15-17 minutes.

While they bake, combine the marinara and red pepper flakes in a saucepan and warm over medium heat until the sauce comes to a bare simmer. Serve tempeh balls with marinara alongside for dipping.


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