This creamy, vegan Kale Salad with Blackened Tempeh, Avocado, Radishes, Pickled Onions is tossed with the most flavorful Creamy VEGAN Cajun Ranch Dressing- serve it as a salad or turn it into a hearty wrap.
Nothing supports inner peace more than letting go.~ Jung Pueblo ~
After a long warm bike ride along our swollen Spokane River, we came home wonderfully tired and totally famished. I sorted through the fridge and found the kale, radishes and sprouts from Saturday’s Farmers Market and pieced together a hearty vegan salad.
Tempeh is coated in Cajun spice and seared until warm and crispy. The Vegan Ranch is spiked with Cajun spices and is easy to whip up – creamy and spicy and totally yummy. Toss it with kale, radishes, green onion, pickled onions and avocado. Then, friends, you have a whole lot of options!
Why this Kale Salad recipe works:
It is so flexible! Serve it up as a hearty entree-sized salad, wrap it up in a warm whole wheat tortilla, or turn into hearty “bowls”, placing everything over a bed of warm quinoa or Black Rice or Cauliflower Rice – a delicious healthy vegan dinner idea!
However you decide to serve it, the flavors are so satisfying! Spicy, but not overly. And of course completely vegan. And you won’t believe how low in calories and fat the Vegan Ranch Dressing is. Take a peek!
And guess what else, it is gluten-free too! The “soy tempeh” was totally grain-free.
I have a little confession. I haven’t always been a huge fan of tempeh. But cooked this way, it’s hard not to like! There are a lot of tempeh recipes out there. Some are good. Some not so much. If you get a bad one, you’ll never want to try it again! But if you like flavor, you’ll appreciate this tempeh recipe. 🙂
What is Tempeh?
Tempeh is a vegan “patty” made from fermented soybeans and or grains. It is very high in protein and calcium and low in fat – with a very textured, nutty flavor. It’s very firm and doesn’t easily crumble like tofu. Many vegetarian and vegan recipes use tempeh as a meat substitute and it holds up well.
Tempeh can be found in the refrigerated section of most health food stores and in the natural foods aisle of well-stocked grocery stores.
How to Cook Tempeh
Since it is a low-fat and high-protein food, many vegans choose to include tempeh in their diet on a regular basis. Remember to always simmer tempeh for 8-10 minutes in seasoned water to soften and help lessen its bitterness. It really makes a difference! Once simmered, season it or marinate it as you wish. It is like tofu, in that it’s a nice canvas for other flavors. So Flavor it up!!!
Together, the blackened tempeh and the cool creamy vegan ranch is a tasty combo.
Fresh farmer’s market ingredients paired with tempeh and a few pantry ingredients. A healthy, affordable vegan meal.
After simmering in a little salted water for 8-10 minutes (to soften and remove the bitterness), coat the tempeh generously in Cajun Spices. I really love this Spicology’s Blackening Blend.
But also know you can also whip some up easily at home with spices you already have on hand. It’s not hard.
And here’s the creamy Vegan Ranch Dressing with Cajun Spice stirred in. Which would also make a yummy dip! Know that you can most certainly use store-bought vegan ranch dressing and doctor it up with Cajun spices if that is easier!
And of course, I had to add some Quick Pickled Onions. 🙂
So serve it up any way that fits your needs….. and enjoy the flavors!
Hope you enjoy this as much as we have!
More kale recipes you may enjoy:
- Kale Farro Salad with Almonds and Pomegranate
- Lemony Kale Slaw (Vegan)
- Farro Bowl with Kale & Figs
- Emerald Kale Salad
- Kale Caesar Salad with Millet Croutons
Cajun Vegan Ranch Dressing
- ⅓ cup vegan ranch dressing (or sub your favorite store-bought ranch)
- ½ –1 teaspoon cajun spice blend (or sub ¼ teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne)
- 1 block tempeh
- 2–3 tablespoons Cajun Spice like Black Magic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4–5 leaves of lacinato kale, tough stems removed ( or use 3 cups pre-shredded kale )
- 1 teaspoon oil, pinch salt, lemon zest from ½ a lemon
- 4 radishes, sliced ( or sub cucumber slices… or ribbons are nice)
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ¼ cup pickled onions (optional)
- cilantro leaves (optional)
- Optional add-ons: sprouts or microgreens, cooked quinoa, large whole wheat tortillas, sauerkraut.
- Make the dressing: Stir the cajun spice into the dressing, starting conservatively. Taste, and add more to taste. You want it bold!
- Prepare the tempeh: Add the tempeh, whole to a sauté pan of generously salted water, just enough to cover it. Let simmer gently 8-10 minutes to help soften and reduce bitterness. Slice it into ½ inch wide slices and generously coat each side with Cajun Spices.Pan-sear the tempeh in a little oil, until crispy and heated through. Set aside.
- Make the salad: Stack the kale (removing any thick stems) and cut into thin ribbons. Place in a bowl and add a teaspoon or two of olive oil ( just enough to barely coat) a generous pinch salt and the lemon zest. Massage with your fingers until tender.
- To the kale add the radishes, scallion, pickled onion and avocado. Toss with some of the Vegan Ranch dressing, enough to coat. ( You can also keep everything separate, especially if making grain bowls)
- Either divide the salad among bowls or place in warm, whole wheat tortillas, topped with the blackened tempeh and sprouts.
- The salad is hearty enough that it will taste good the next day.
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