there are two different sauces that hold crack status in my kitchen. the first is a miso and tahini dressing from the smitten kitchen cookbook, which is actually labeled "crack" whenever i have a jar in the fridge. it's that good, and i put it on everything! the second is peanut sauce, always made without measuring. i start with peanut butter, and pour an array of ingredients directly into the bowl, tasting and adjusting as i go.
but today, for the benefit of mankind, i carefully measured and added up the additions of various ingredients to arrive at the below recipe. this kale and tempeh salad is the most common use of this dressing in my kitchen, but it makes a mean rice noodle salad, dipping sauce for spring rolls, and so much more.
i suggest using clancy's fancy in the recipe to add a little spice. clancy's is a heavenly blend of flavors, and a go to hot sauce in my house. next time you're in southeast Michigan, pick up a jar or five (you won't be sorry!). it's been an ann arbor classic since 1979 for a reason. in my opinion, the blend of spices in this hot sauce totally ties together the peanut dressing. that said, using sriracha will definitely create a dressing that still tastes amazing!
now - for the salad. i've written the recipe as simple as it gets, because on those days when i've forgotten to plan for a meal and feel the hanger pangs coming, this is the meal i throw together in fifteen minutes and never fail to be satisfied by. a heaping bowl of kale for plenty of nutrition, my favorite peanut dressing, and warm crispy cubes of tempeh for protein and tummy happiness. if you want to get crazy, you can add any veggies you have in the fridge to build it out!
now, go make yourself a big bowl of salad - just like this one!
recipe serves 2 as a main course, and 4 or more as a side.
1 bunch of lacinato kale (you can use any variety, but this is my favorite for salads!)
4 oz of tempeh
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or bacon fat, if you want an extra boost of delicious!)
any other salad veggies you please
for the dressing:
3 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp honey
1 small clove garlic, minced very finely if you're not pureeing the dressing
2 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground ginger in a pinch)
a squirt of clancy's fancy, or sriracha (to your preferred spice level)
first, make your dressing by combining the dressing ingredients in a bowl or small container. you can use a whisk, fork, or immersion blender to really emulsify the mixture - any of the options will work just fine, but it will be the smoothest using a blender. you want it to be as smooth and emulsified as you can get it!
next, slice your tempeh into 1 inch cubes (this can be roughly done, just make them bite size!). heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat (large enough for all the tempeh cubes to touch the bottom) and add the coconut oil once the pan is hot. when your oil is hot, add your tempeh and pan fry, slowly rotating each cube as they brown. if the tempeh soaks up all your oil, add a little more to prevent sticking. once the tempeh is golden on all sides, remove the pan from heat.
while the tempeh is cooking, prep your veggies (but make sure to check on the tempeh frequently!). remove the ribs from your kale leaves, and cut the leaves into small pieces. i like to use a chiffonade technique to do this, rolling the leaves and cutting them into thin strips (though not as thin as an actual chiffonade!). place just the kale in a big bowl, sprinkle it with a little salt, and start to massage the leaves with your hands until the leaves turn a darker green and look almost cooked. this friction will tenderize the leaves and make for a much more pleasant eating experience!
next, prepare any other veggies you want to include in your salad. i often eat this with just the kale as a quick and nutritious meal, but thin slices of carrots or peppers are an awesome addition! just use whatever you have in the fridge!
toss your additional veggies and dressing into the big bowl with the kale, stirring to combine. i like to start with a drizzle of dressing, and slowly add more to taste. everyone has a different preference when it comes to how dressed a salad is, and there is little worse than an overdressed salad!
toss in your tempeh, and you're ready to eat! bing, bang, boom!