Tempeh Spinach Hummus: The Four Parter

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Part 1: The Guest Post

Check out my post on Stone Soup, the blog of Food and Nutrition Magazine, a publication of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In this article, I highlight my Update Your Plate series, where I demonstrate how to use MyPlate to plan your meals.  While all the UYP posts feature a “MyPlate-ing” of common meals, I chose the most popular one to update for this article: The One Where I Lay a Smoothie on a Plate.

Part 2: The Recipe

I had another post planned for today, but ran out of writing time over the weekend. Check back on Wednesday for a different kind of post.

Therefore, the main part of this post is a recipe I prepared for my last Strawberry Fields open hours session. I’ll ask you, dear reader: what do you think the following is?

SF hummus

If you said guacamole, you wouldn’t be the only one. In preparing this sample for SF, I made a critical error: forgetting that people eat with their eyes just as much as with their taste buds. Usually when I offer samples, one or two people will be like, “Thanks, but no thanks.” This time, once I introduced the above sample as a high-protein hummus, about a third of the customers gave me this look like, “You crazy, girl,” then declined.

Before I go any further, I will point out that of the customers who tried this high-protein hummus, every single one loved it. Like, asked-for-more-please-and-where-can-I-buy-it? loved it. Getting over the initial hurdle to try it was the problem. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have included spinach in the hummus. The green color was just too much for some customers. And who can blame them? I’m used to throwing spinach in everything from soup to smoothies because it adds tons of nutrition without taste. However, not everyone is so inclined.

Now that you know what’s in the green hummus, doesn’t this picture look so much better?


What makes the hummus high protein, you ask? Why, the addition of tempeh, of course.


Tempeh doesn’t change the texture or flavor of this hummus, but it bumps up the protein content considerably. I’ve enjoyed this hummus with everything from crackers, to salad, to sandwiches. It’s that good. Do give it a shot, even if you decide to leave off the spinach.

Tempeh Spinach Hummus

  Prep Time: 10 minutes

  Cook Time: 30 minutes (if roasting garlic)

  Keywords: blender condiment side sandwich vegan tempeh

Ingredients (1-1/2 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 4 oz. tempeh, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt


Preheat oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees F. Place garlic cloves, unpeeled, on baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Set aside. Once cool enough to handle, peel garlic. If using garlic powder (or raw garlic), skip this step.

Add garlic and remaining ingredients (except for olive oil) to food processor or blender. Pulse until chunky. Drizzle in olive oil and blend until smooth. Season to taste.

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Part 3: The Demi-Mitten



I’ve been really into knitting lately. I finished my first long-sleeved sweater and I’m learning about blocking for the first time. I’m particularly proud of these fingerless mittens (or demi-mittens, as I like to call them), which are the first items I’ve knit of my own design. You can tell it’s my design because one demi-mitt ended up being so much shorter than the other, I had to crochet several rows at the top to make them the same length.


Good thing the temperatures are now in the 70’s and 80’s.

Part 4: The Friendly Advice

I get several dozen emails a week related to THIH, about 1/3-1/2 of which are from people interested in becoming a registered dietitian. I love every email I receive, and I answer all of them.

I’ll say it again: I answer each and every one of these emails. It takes a lot of time, but I’m happy to do so. I had the benefit of advice and guidance from wonderful, stupendous, incredible, helpful, *every positive adjective you can think of* RDs when I was researching the dietetics career. I’m very, very happy to return the favor.

There’s one trend I’m not so crazy about, though. I understand that some of those who email me came across THIH by searching for “how to become an RD” or “day in the life of an RD” and fired off an email right that minute. And that’s fine. I’ll get back to you in a day or two.

I don’t expect everyone who emails me to be familiar with my website. It may not be your cup of tea, or my weird sense of humor may turn you off. If you want to ask me about how the cartoons are done or why Subway’s sandwiches are so darn tasty, I don’t care if you address me as “Peter” or “Lanette” (and yes, I’ve had both of those). You don’t need to say the website is wonderful. You can even hate it and tell me so. I don’t mind.

However, for those of you emailing me with a dietetics-related question, I have a bit of friendly advice for you: address me by name. It’s right at the top of the webpage. Even “Happy Jessie” will suffice (I’ve had that, too, and it makes me smile). When someone emails me with a laundry list of questions, and begins the email with “Hi” or nothing at all (about half of them), I’m always a little surprised.

“C’mon!” I hear you say. “Emails are informal. And people are busy. It’s not a big deal. Why are you picking on those who want to become RDs, anyway?”

I’ll tell you why. Two reasons:

(1) Beginning with a “hey” is like saying “I don’t know your name and I won’t bother to find out, but will you spend twenty minutes answering my detailed email?” The email sender usually proceeds to ask me questions that are answered on my “Becoming an RD” page.

(2) Those who email me looking for information on how to become an RD, or what being an RD is like, is connecting with someone in the same field in which they would like to be. Dietetics is a small world, and the field requires professionalism. Imagine emailing a dietetics program director, or (heaven forbid!) a potential employer without addressing them by name. Emailing me without addressing me by name may seem like small potatoes, but getting into the habit of being courteous and respectful of the recipient’s time is a habit that will serve the sender well down the road.

I’ll still answer every email that comes to me, of course, but I will remember how the email begins. And that’s just a bit of advice from your friendly RD, Jessie 🙂

Have a lovely week, everyone!


  1. The hummus looks & sounds great! I add lots of spinach to all kinds of things and luckily we are all used to it and like it. 🙂

    I like your advice to future RDs! I am always surprised by how many people don’t know how to write emails (and the difference between informal & more formal communication). Every quarter I start off by going over how to write an email, but throughout the quarter there are many students that either don’t have a greeting at all or just say “hi.”

    Have a great week!

  2. Jessie, I totally agree putting someone’s name shows that this message is for who they sent it to! I tend to do it with friends even when it is a reply!
    Love the idea of a high protein hummus!

    1. So do I! I think it’s a great practice 🙂

  3. Yep, customers definitely eat with their eyes first!! I made an avocado and banana smoothie this weekend and many people were freaked out about the green color, and the fact that there was avocado in the smoothie. What did I do? Forced them to try! Yep, that’s what I do best 🙂 50% of the time they find that they actually really enjoy the sample.
    I love that you have tempeh in this hummus, but I’m sadly unable to find any hummus recipes that I can really enjoy to its fullest being low FODMAPs and all…tahini is a nightmare for me!

    1. Haha! I can imagine you “convincing” your customers 😉 I’m intrigued by this banana and avocado smoothie!

    1. Thanks, Samantha! 🙂

  4. haha I would have probably loved that hummus all the more because it was green! But that’s just me. 😛

    And I totally know what you mean about people sending emails without a proper hi “insert name here”! What is up with that?!

  5. Now I’m super curious about this hummus! Especially since I love spinach (and hummus in general haha) 😉 Those mittens are lovely! My mother taught me some basic knitting skills but I still have no idea how to turn something into an actual wearable garment. Will you post a picture of your sweater?

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Jessie!

    1. Sure! 🙂 Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Lucy!

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