Last weekend, I was at this brunch place in Montclair, New Jersey- Absolutely fabulous and I was thrilled to see their Vegan and Vegetarian selections on the menu.

After pondering over an extensive menu:) and the indecisive person that I am esp when it comes to food- I decided to try their Vegetarian Chickpea burger with baked Sweet Potato Fries. I must tell you this that during my stay at Double Tree in L A prior to filming Master Chef, I happened to order their Vegetarian burger made of chickpeas and it was falling apart/ crumbling to say the least and dry!!!!

This one that I tried at Montclair was phenomenal!!!! Moist, crisp, dense and came with onion, tomato, sprouts:) and pickle!

OK now, I was also thinking of coming up with a bunch of dishes with Tempeh and have been experimenting in my kitchen. Suddenly, after we finish brunch, I run across the street to WHOLE FOODS and my husband thinks I have lost it as always ūüôā¬†I grab an organic slab of 5 GRAIN TEMPEH. Now many of you may wonder what TEMPEH is?

TEMPEH is made of natural culturing process with organic grains like soybeans, brown rice, millet, barley, rye, apple cider vinegar and tempeh culture (typically Rhisopus oligosporus)LOL (thats my inner Microbiologist speaking out). It is low in calories and a great substitute to meat due to its HIGH PROTEIN content. Tempeh originated in Indonesia and has a distinctive nutty taste and nougat-like textured.

The thing about TEMPEH I have learnt over the past few months is that it easily absorbs the flavors of the other foods with which it is cooked making it adaptable to many types of dishes.  I tried substituting TEMPEH with the Indian Cottage Cheese that I use in my traditional Curry and it turned out delicious!!!

According to my research- the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them, since they also include saturated fat and cholesterol.

I can go on and on about health benefits and effect of TEMPEH on cholesterol ………After 3 days of trips to the park with kids, I decided to take a break today and cook up something with the Tempeh that I had picked at Whole Foods. I decide to make an awesome burger with TEMPEH. I love beets and so decided to use a beet sauce and bake some squash chips to go with my burger.¬†The key is to season my tempeh with a bunch of my toasted spices and to use a binding agent !! The binding agent that I used in this case was CHICK PEAS and it turned out beautiful. I could use potatoes but chose to give Chick peas a shot! I use olive oil and use fresh GRAY SQUASH from my Farmers Market to bake some chips to go with my TEMPEH burger:)