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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tempeh Salad

Packed for eating on the run tonight.
After the richness of Thanksgiving, I need some vegetables that aren't covered in cheese sauce or deep-fried onions.  This recipe is just the ticket, plus it goes together fast and can be made entirely in advance for a chilled salad. 

Tempeh is a soy-and-grain based food product that has a sturdy texture (unlike tofu) and a robust flavor (also unlike tofu). I'm not going to say that when you eat it, you'll think you're eating a steak but it hits the same textural and flavor points that a lot of meat products do. In fact, as I was cooking this one day, I had a delivery person at the door who commented that dinner smelled really good and he thought he might make some sausage for dinner, too LOL

I like wilted salads, so I top the greens with the hot tempeh mixture.  I get a little crunch by leaving the bell pepper and celery in this recipe raw.  You could saute the pepper and celery as well, though and wait for the whole mixture to cool before adding to the salad for a different effect.

Tempeh Salad
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup oil (more as needed)
8 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 green bell peppers, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
6 cups chopped salad greens or baby spinach
2 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat.  Add the tempeh cubes when the oil is good and hot.  Don't touch them for 3-4 minutes, until browned on one side, then flip them and saute 3-4 minutes longer.  Add the onion slices (and pepper and celery, if you want to cook them).  Saute 5 minutes to soften the veg and to get some color on the other sides of the tempeh cubes, but don't obsess over turning every cube just so.  You might need to add a bit more oil to keep them from sticking.  Season with salt, pepper and 5 spice powder and saute 1 minute more.

Combine salad greens, chickpeas, and raw veg.  Add tempeh mixture either hot or cold and serve.  This will keep several hours in advance if desired.  Drizzle with a touch of olive oil to finish, if desired.

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