It’s easy to see why kale is king with this simple salad recipe.
I’m so happy to finally share this recipe with you, partially because I feel like I’ve been keeping it to myself for the past several months. It’s a super Simple Kale Caesar Salad with Maple Pepper Tempeh.
It’s loaded with fiber from all those hearty greens and protein and healthy fats from the tempeh and the Caesar salad dressing. Plus the dairy-free caesar dressing is made in a blender, so you’re not washing a million dishes afterward. I hope you guys enjoy this recipe for a quick lunch or dinner – no matter if you’re plant-based or not, this is an excellent dish to squeeze in some plant-based proteins!
Is everyone over kale yet? I hope not! Food trends pop up left and right, but nutrient-dense foods will always be here – they’re classic! Kale is one of those that the media and the wellness industry went wild over. Just think about the craze of kale chips back then, they even made chocolate covered kale chips (hey, I did too!).
Kale is still one of my favorite hearty greens that I keep in the weekly rotation of my meals, mostly in the form of a Massaged Kale Salad which is also the base for this recipe. I’ll also enjoy it blended up in a smoothie or boiled in water with other hearty greens like dandelion, mustard, and chard from local gardens.
Kale isn’t the only star in this show. Cashews take a supporting role when blended with lemon juice, olive oil, and nutritional yeast to create a “cheesy” sauce that’s thick and creamy like caesar, but with added minerals, B vitamins galore, healthy fats, and proteins you won’t get with traditional caesar.
To top it off, the way I prepare this tempeh is going to be your new favorite! It’s sliced thin, cooked in coconut oil, drizzled with maple syrup, heavy on the freshly ground black pepper and a touch of sea salt, then cooked on the skillet until the maple syrup caramelizes. It’s incredible and you can enjoy this tempeh in SO many ways. This way of cooking tempeh was actually inspired by my recipe in the Nutrition Stripped Cookbook called Peppery Tempeh with Polenta which is a must-try.
If you want to read up on cashews, nutritional yeast, or the health benefits of kale, I created “The Kitchen” page to help you learn what the health benefits and nutrition content is of your favorite whole foods used in my recipes. All you do is click on an ingredient and a screen pops up with all the details on it.
- 1 bunch of kale (regular or lacinato)
- [b]For the salad dressing:[/b]
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Sea salt to taste
- Splash of liquid coconut aminos, optional
- [b]For the tempeh:[/b]
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1, 15 ounce package organic tempeh, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Pinch of sea salt
- [b]For the Caesar dressing:[/b]
- Simply put all dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Set aside.
- [b]For the kale: [/b]
- De-stem the kale leaves from the stem by simply placing your index finger and middle finger (in the shape of a claw), and “claw” down the center of the leaf to de-stem while simultaneously pulling the leaf away from you with your other hand. In a large bowl, combine the de-stemmed kale leaves with the remaining ingredients. Lightly pour an additional 1 tsp. of olive oil onto your hands to coat. Using a massaging action (similar to kneading bread dough), start to tear the leaves apart and massage with olive oil. Continue massaging for about 2-5 minutes or until the leaves are softened, the leaves will also turn a more vibrant green. Pour caesar dressing on top and massage in with hands and set aside.
- [b]For the tempeh: [/b]
- On medium heat in a skillet, add coconut oil and thinly sliced tempeh. Lay strips evenly in the skillet. Next drizzle the maple syrup, garlic, black pepper, and sea salt and gently stir to evenly coat the tempeh in coconut oil and maple syrup. Let tempeh cook flat on each side for about 5 minute or until golden brown. This cooking process should take about 12 minutes total or until golden brown.
- To serve, add the kale caesar salad to a bowl and top with tempeh strips as pictured. I like to squeeze fresh lemon on top and more black pepper just before serving.
- Store both salad and tempeh separately for leftovers, in an airtight glass container.