Orange and Maple Glazed Roasted Tempeh, Sweet Potato, and Red Quinoa Salad with Rosemary Citrus Vinaigrette

It's not too late to add another special salad to your Thanksgiving spread, especially one this delicious (if I do say so myself!). Your plant based / vegan guests will thank you whole heartedly for this whole foods winner that features the wonderfood tempeh . . oh yes! Even if you're not cooking for or celebrating the holiday, it's a delicious and filling salad for any day.

I think autumn salads, especially for Thanksgiving, are best when they feature one of the season's star produce. I chose sweet potato for this one, but perhaps the true star ingredient in this textural bowl of plant foods is the orange and maple marinated tempeh. Warm toasted walnuts, pumpkin seeds, tart pomegranate seeds, fluffy quinoa, baby spinach, and lots of fresh herbs boost both this salad's flavor barometer, but also the nutrient load. It is literally packed with goodness and is satisfying enough to be a complete meal, but give it a try at Thanksgiving as one of your many side dishes. It might be the first time your guests try tempeh! And because this recipe is 100% plant based, vegan, and wheat and gluten free, it is compatible with most special diets.

About Soy and Tempeh

I grew up eating soy, but in purer forms, such as edamame or tofu. Soy fake meat, cheese, and milk products were either not invented or we just didn't know about them. (I'm not a big fan of them and many are also filled with wheat gluten, but I agree they do serve a purpose for someone transitioning into a vegetarian/vegan diet and who still needs to bite into something "meaty.")

A lot of soy products are (overly) processed, but tempeh is a whole food form of soy in that it's made from naturally fermented soybeans, so it's not only rich in protein, but it also has great amounts of probiotics from the fermentation process. Its nutrient density doesn't end there, tempeh is also full of fiber and healthy fats, as well as rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and copper, among other minerals. On its own, it's rather bland (like tofu), but marinating, roasting, baking, and grilling are all wonderful ways to prepare it. After finally experimenting with tempeh to get it to taste like something, I really love it!

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a beautiful holiday surrounded by those you love! For everyone else, have a wonderful day!

I'm really grateful these days. So many blessings and so much beauty in life. Love is the most important ingredient in life. After that, I'm a firm believer that health is our greatest wealth. I hope you have plenty of both in your life.

xx, Juli

Salad, serves 4 as a side

  • 10 cups baby spinach
  • 400 g organic tempeh (about 100 g per serving)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 2 pomegranates, seeded
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

Orange, Maple, Rosemary Marinade for the Tempeh

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (plus more for garnishing)

Red Quinoa

  • 1/2 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup white quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Rosemary Citrus Vinaigrette

  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp white balsamic or white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Roasting the Tempeh

  1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Coat the tempeh in the marinade and let the flavors meld for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  4. Roast the tempeh and sweet potatoes in the oven on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Remove and set aside to cool.

Cooking the Quinoa

  1. Toast the quinoa briefly in a pot briefly before adding water.
  2. Cook the quinoa. (I use a rice cooker, but on the stove will do fine.) 
  3. Bring the water to a boil, add quinoa. Lower heat and simmer until its tender and fluffy, about 15 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool until you're ready to add it to the salad.
  5. Blend it half of the salad vinaigrette.

Building the Salad

  1. Mix all of the vinaigrette ingredients together.
  2. Toss the baby spinach with half of the vinaigrette and put in a salad bowl.
  3. Add the quinoa, roasted tempeh, and sweet potatoes to the spinach. Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.
  4. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper as desired.
  5. Garnish with more parsley and rosemary and enjoy.