Salads tend to get a bad rap.
Word on the street is they’re boring, rabbit food, and only worth eating when you’re on a diet. But it doesn’t have to be this way guys. I eat delicious, nutritious salads almost every day and there is NOTHING boring or bland about them cuz ain’t nobody got time for that.
(What she said).
IMO salads are actually one of the least boring meals around because they’re so fantastically versatile. Literally you can choose from thousands of ingredients and combine them a variety of different ways and call it a salad. Granted not all of those ingredients may be the best for your health (cough cough Cobb Salad I’m talking to you) but that’s where I come in.
After enduring an 85 degree day in Seattle I wasn’t quite yet prepared for (kitchen.too.hot.to.cook.need.AC.NOW!) I decided the only thing that one) sounded good and two) I was actually willing to make was a salad (no oven required).
And thus Summa-Time Salad Series was born.
This means that all through summer I’ll be posting delicious salad recipes that are anything but basic. Each recipe will be chockful of nutrients, taste and texture with minimum to no cooking required. Perfect to prep for weekday lunches to bring to work, your neighborhood potluck, or just a hot summer’s eve when you’re too sweaty and tired to slave over the stove.
Can I get a double-tap here?
And because I really wanted to start the series off with a bang- I’m sharing with you one of my and the MLF’s (meat-lovin’ fiance’s) ALL.TIME.FAVES.
Think blackened tempeh charred over an open flame for maximum texture, taste and mega-lean protein. Crisp romaine that’s not only refreshing but chockful of fiber, vitamins and water (hello hydration). Creamy, buttery avocado with over 20 different vitamins and minerals not to mention the good kind of fat that helps you improve heart health and lower cholesterol. And we can’t forget the star of the show- the dressing. Homemade with loads of tangy flavor and REAL ingredients like cashews, capers, garlic, olive oil and sea salt.
Important side note- have you ever read the ingredients on most salad dressing labels? Most of the time they contain words you won’t recognize and if you don’t recognize it then chances are you shouldn’t be eating it. Plus making your own salad dressings are easy and VASTLY improve the flavor.
So yeah, this salad is a winner in our home. I’ve also brought it to plenty of parties and served it for dinner and people just RAVE about it. If you’re still hesitant about tempeh even after all my preaching, then grilled prawns or chicken would also go well with this dish. Just don’t forget to buy local, organic and hormone free when possible.
#NotBasic Blackened Tempeh Caesar with Avocado
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
- 1 package of organic- non gmo tempeh (or protein of choice)
- 2 tbsp GF soy sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp creole or cajun seasoning
- 1 avocado, pitted, skinned and sliced in thick pieces
- 2 heads of romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
Vegan Caesar Dressing adapted from Oh She Glows
- 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours in water
- ½ cup water
- 4 tbsp EVOO
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 ½ tbsp capers
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Additional Topping Options
- Lemon Wedges
- Chopped Tomatoes
- Roasted Chickpeas
- Brazilian Nut Parmesan
- If you have time prep your tempeh by boiling it in water over the stove for 12 minutes to pre-cook and soften the tempeh (I know, I know I said no cooking required but only do it if you want to). Pat dry and cover with the rest of the seasoning and marinate for an hour or two.
- Next combine all caesar dressing ingredients together in a high speed blender on high until well mixed. Set aside.
- If making the vegan parm, combine all ingredients together in blender and set aside.
- Preheat grill and grill tempeh or protein of choice over an open flame until charred and well cooked on each side- for tempeh about 10 minutes each side.
- Grab a huge bowl and toss chopped romaine with the dressing. Scoop onto plates and top with grilled tempeh, sliced avocado and vegan parm.