Anti-Cancer Quick and Easy Lunch (RECIPES)

09/14/2010 09:03 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Meg Wolff One-legged, two-time survivor, healthy cook


This is always a surprise hit for people who are diehard tuna salad or chicken salad fans! People looking for a way to add a healthy, plant-based option to their lunch routine might consider tempeh, a fermented soybean product that has been eaten in Indonesia (and other parts of the world) for thousands of years. Luckily, soybeans are now grown in Maine (where I live), and Maine-made tempeh is one of my favorites.

Try making this tempeh salad and serving it on a whole-grain bread. Or do as I sometimes do and have it on a bed of fresh greens, or with a portion of leftover brown rice.

Even easier: One of my cooking class students told me he skips the soy mayonnaise altogether and just cuts the tempeh in half length-wise (to make it thinner), pan-fries it in a little safflower oil (or other good-quality oil) to brown, and has it between two slices of good bread!

Tempeh is a great way to get protein from a non-animal source. It's also high in fiber and lower in fat than most animal products. For more information on soy, see the Physician's Committee For Responsible Medicine's fact sheet.


Two 8-ounce packages tempeh (I like Lalibella Farms (local) or Litelife.)
1 purple onion, diced
3 ribs of celery, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup soy mayonnaise (I use egg- and dairy-free Heart Health brands.)
Optional: 1/3 cup good-quality cucumber pickle relish (I use Bubbie's brand.)

Slice tempeh into eight squares, put into a pot and add filtered tap water about halfway up. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.

Drain, cool and break tempeh into smaller pieces with your hands (it softens and crumbles more easily after cooking it). Add the celery, scallions, fresh parsley and cucumber relish. Mix.

Add soy mayonnaise to the tempeh, mix and serve. Serves 8-10.

Note: Tempeh salad will keep in the refrigerator for three days. Stir it each time you reuse it.

Here's a quick easy side salad for your sandwich. Fresh Express has a 16-ounce bag of pre-cut vegetables that contains sliced red and green cabbage and shredded carrots. It's delicious tossed with this easy dressing: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons balsamic (I like Spectrum brand Golden Balsamic) or brown rice vinegar, a 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt or 1 teaspoon of soy sauce (I use Eden Organic or Mitoku brands).

I know how people are reluctant to veer away their usual lunch routines and I think these recipes are small steps in the right direction.

Would you consider trying this recipe? Already make it, let me know what variations you like? What healthy plant-based options do you like for lunch?

For more quick and healthy recipes, please sign up for my free newsletter in the bottom right corner of my website.