Color, flavor, texture, and protein — this composed tempeh salad has it all. With an array of colorful veggies and a choice of two Asian-flavored dressings, it’s a perfect main dish salad.
After you follow this recipe for the first time, I encourage you to experiment with different crisp raw veggies, so that each time you make it, it’s a deliciously different experience. Some variations to try:
- Use celery, turnip, raw or lightly steamed broccoli, and/or cucumber in place of any of the veggies recommended above.
- To make this even easier, use an 8-ounce package of baked tofu instead of tempeh. Simply cut into narrow strips and off you go — no need to sauté them, as with the tempeh, so ignore the oil and soy sauce in the ingredient list.
Convenient, versatile, and practically ready to use, tempeh packs a lot of nutrients, from a generous dose of protein to a plethora of B vitamins.
Look for tempeh in the refrigerator section of natural food stores and in well-stocked supermarkets, where you’ll find it shelved near tofu and plant-based meat alternatives. See more in this site’s Guide to Tempeh.
Complete the meal: If you’d like a heftier meal, any simple grain or noodle dish will suffice. For a nice summer meal, serve with cooked or grilled corn on the cob. If you’ve got the grill going, you may as well grill the tempeh as well!
Recipe adapted from Plant Power by Nava Atlas. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky, BittersweetBlog.com.
- Homemade or bottled coconut-peanut sauce or sesame-ginger dressing, as needed (see links in Notes)
- 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 8-ounce package tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch-thick strips
- 2 to 3 ounces baby spinach or arugula, or a combination
- 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1 cup baby carrots (quartered or cut in half lengthwise)
- A few radishes, a 6-inch or so segment of daikon radish, or a small watermelon radish, sliced
- 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cut into long narrow strips
- 2 to 3 stalks bok choy, with greens, thinly sliced, or 1 baby bok choy, thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup peanuts halves or chopped walnuts, or cashews, optional
- Prepare the dressing of your choice if making your own and set aside until needed.
- Heat the oil and soy sauce in a medium skillet. Add the tempeh strips and sauté over medium-high heat until golden brown on most sides, about 5 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, combine the spinach, cabbage, and cilantro in a mixing bowl and toss together. Spread on a large serving platter.
- To arrange the salad, artfully, as you’d like. Consider mounding the carrots in the center, then surrounding them with neat piles of the sautéed tempeh, bell peppers, bok choy, and radish (if using daikon or watermelon radish, peel them) on a large round platter. Or, arrange the vegetables and tempeh on a large rectangular platter, side by side.
- Whichever way you arrange the salad, sprinkle the scallion over the top, followed by the optional nuts. Or, pass around the nuts to top individual portions.
- Use salad tongs to grab a little of each part of the salad to place on individual plates. Pass around the dressing of choice for everyone to use as they wish.