Tempeh Salad

tempeh saladTempeh can certainly be an unusual, if not difficult, taste to get used to. Maybe some people take right to it. I don’t know, but I had to start small and work up.

I like it now, though, and I don’t feel the need for all the well-seasoned sauces and other distractions that I used to put on it. In that spirit, this is a recipe for a deli-style tempeh salad.

It’s in a light dairy-type dressing. But I use Vegenaise to make this one vegan. Of course, your favorite regular mayo will also work.

This is quite similar to a chicken salad and kind of reminds me of that. In fact, I think that it would work well paired with a hearty bun for a sandwich. I enjoyed having it as a side with my 4th of July cookout, though.

The tempeh is steamed for about 10 minutes before mixing it into the salad. It isn’t cooked beyond that. While tempeh is basically ready to eat right from the package (unless you’re buying something fresh that says otherwise), steaming helps remove any bitterness that might be present. It also makes the tempeh swell a bit, which allows it to absorb the flavorful dressing that much better.

German-style mustard gives it a really nice tang from the horseradish. I highly recommend using that. It might not be labelled as German. Often, you’ll find it as deli-style mustard.

The shredded carrots were a nice touch. Other vegetables would work here, too. Maybe peas, asparagus tips, or even grape tomatoes.

This is a very savory salad. The tempeh is mild with a nice texture. In some ways it reminds me of a potato salad, but heartier. The green onions add a little bite and the carrots give it a hint of sweetness.

This would also work well on a sandwich and would probably be a good dish to share with those who love chicken salad. There’s not a lot of dressing. Most of it gets absorbed by the tempeh. So it wouldn’t make a sandwich soggy. It’s a light salad that would be perfect for a picnic.

This kept well and was still tasty several days later. Be sure when serving not to let it sit out at room temperature for too long. You don’t want to risk food poisoning spoiling your nice summer weekend!

Tempeh Salad
Serves 4

8 oz pkg tempeh (I like three grain.)
2 Tbsp vegan or regular mayonnaise
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp German-style or Dijon mustard
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 medium carrot, shredded
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare a steamer. Cut the tempeh into bite-size cubes. Add to the steamer and steam for 10 minutes.

tempeh salad

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sea salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.

Transfer the tempeh to a medium bowl. Stir in the carrot and green onions. Add the dressing and stir well to combine.

Stir in the parsley, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving to let the flavors meld.

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