Hot Salad

When the cold weather comes howling at my door, it’s hard to want salad.  Soup is usually the substitute, but there is something I crave and have to find a way to eat— baby spinach and wild rocket salad.  The other day I stood in front of the open refrigerator door, gazing at the full bags of greens, wishing I could come up with an amazing way to make salad hot.  I opened the produce drawer and poked around, pulling out a sweet potato, a crown of broccoli, a shiny red bell pepper, and some tempeh I had been marinating to make something called tempeh bacon.  (Tempeh bacon should in no way be confused with actual bacon.  The texture is completely different, and although it is both salty and sweet like bacon, that’s where the similarity ends.  I really like it, though, and have taken to keeping some tempeh soaking in the marinade in the fridge for a quick lunch.)

I cruised the dried fruit and nut cupboard and took out some dried cranberries and chopped walnuts,  Like starting a painting or a writing a good story, this salad came together with a tentative start and blossomed into one of the yummiest lunches I have ever made.  I ate the leftovers for lunch today, the greens a little bitter and crisp, the vegetables and fruit warm and sweet on top, the tempeh a crisp and chewy crown.

Hot Salad on a Bed of Greens

Hot Salad on a Bed of Greens ( for 2)

For the tempeh:

1 block tempeh, steamed for 10 minutes, cooled, and cut into 16 strips.   Marinate the tempeh in a scant 1/4 c low sodium tamari, 4 tbsp. pure maple syrup,  4 tbsp. apple cider, and 2 tsp. liquid smoke for at least 30 minutes, but overnight is fine.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat.  Add 2-3 tbsp. olive oil and swirl to coat.  Lay 10 strips of the tempeh in the skillet and cook over medium heat until browned, turn the strips over and brown the other side, about 10 minutes.  You can pour a little extra marinade over it after the first flip, and also more maple syrup if you like it a little sweeter.  Turn off heat and let sit, maybe turning once more until you are ready to eat.  (Save the other 6 strips to cook and add to rice and vegetables, or to make a roll up with greens, peppers, and sliced cucumbers.  They will be happy to marinate for at least a couple more days.)

For the green bed:

Wash and dry 6 cups mixed greens.  I use half baby spinach and half wild rocket salad.  Divide between 2 dinner plates.

For the hot salad:

1 peeled sweet potato, cut into medium dice (about 1/2 cubes)

1 c broccoli cut into small florets

1/4 red bell pepper, chopped into medium dice

1 small tart apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1 tbsp. dried cranberries

3 tbsp. chopped walnuts

3 tbsp. fresh sage, minced

leftover marinade from tempeh

6 tbsp. apple cider

salt and pepper to taste


While the tempeh is cooking:  In a large skillet set over medium heat, pour 3 tbsp. olive oil and swirl to coat pan.  Add the sweet potatoes and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring regularly.  Add the broccoli and bell pepper and toss.  If the pan starts to get dry, pour in a little of the marinade and some cider.  Cook about 3 minutes more.  Add the chopped apple, the dried cranberries, the walnuts, and the sage.  Grind in some black pepper and sprinkle with some salt.  Toss well.   Taste the sweet potato.  It should be a cooked but firm.  Add a little more cider and stir again.

To serve:

Spoon the warm vegetables over the two plates greens.  Arrange the five slices of the tempeh on top of each salad.  Serve with warm bread.

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One Comment on “Hot Salad”

  1. lise Says:

    Looks good enuf to eat 🙂

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