Tempeh kale salad with Tahini Dressing. This vegan salad is done in less than 30 minutes with 8 ingredients, plus optional toppings. It’s quick and easy, making it perfect for a weeknight dinner, side dish or simple lunch.
Massaged kale served with balsamic sautéed tempeh, a tangy and garlicky tahini dressing and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, hemp hearts and toasted sunflower seeds. This quick and easy salad is ready in less than 30 minutes, which makes it perfect for a last-minute weeknight meal. It can also be enjoyed as a side dish or a light lunch.
This recipe was originally shared in 2018 and has been updated with new photos and extra details. I hope that you’ll like it as much as I do!
Ingredients and Substitutions:
- Kale: I’m using curly kale, but lacinato kale would also be great.
- Tempeh: Plain tempeh is cooked (and marinated if you have the time) with soy sauce and balsamic vinegar.
- Soy sauce: This will add a salty, umami touch to the tempeh. Or use tamari for a gluten-free option.
- Balsamic vinegar: This adds a tangy, sweet flavor to the tempeh.
- Olive oil: Used to cook the tempeh and massage the kale.
- Tahini: A creamy sesame seed paste used as the base for the dressing.
- White wine vinegar: Used to add acidity to the dressing.
- Garlic: Grated and added to the dressing for flavor.
- Recommended toppings: Nutritional yeast, hemp hearts and roasted sunflower seeds.
How to Make a Tempeh Kale Salad:
Here are the steps that you need to make a simple tempeh kale salad at home:
- Prepare the Kale
Start by chopping the kale (small bite-sized pieces make the salad much easier to eat!). Then massage it with oil. This helps tenderize the kale, which is otherwise tough to eat.
- Prepare the Tempeh
Next, prepare the tempeh. Simply heat oil in a non-stick pan, cook the tempeh a few minutes and then add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. The tempeh will then absorb the liquid and they’ll be perfectly cooked and flavorful. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook.
- Prepare the Dressing and Serve
While the tempeh is cooking, you can prepare the simple tahini dressing, and then assemble the salad. Add the tempeh and the tahini dressing to the prepared kale. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, hemp hearts and toasted sunflower seeds. Eat!
Tempeh Kale Salad FAQ:
As this is a quick weeknight recipe, I don’t usually marinate the tempeh. That being said, if you have the time, you can marinate the tempeh 2 hours before cooking or the night before. You will need to use more soy sauce and balsamic vinegar to coat the tempeh completely.
Steaming the tempeh is often recommended because it softens the tempeh and helps it better absorb the marinade. It also removes some of the bitter flavor. I personally don’t bother doing this in most of my recipes as it does take more time (and creates more dirty dishes). While it’s certainly worth doing if you have the time and patience, I prefer to keep it simple with my weeknight recipes. If you don’t enjoy the slight bitterness of tempeh, try steaming it for 10 minutes before using.
I don’t recommend skipping this step as it will help soften the tough kale and make it easier to eat. I like to do this with a touch of oil before adding the tahini dressing as it’s less messy.
More Tempeh Recipes:
- Caesar salad with tempeh and sweet potatoes
- Vegetarian tempeh gyros
- Tamari Almond Tempeh Burger
- Easy Sesame Tempeh Rice Bowls
- Tempeh Buffalo Caesar Wrap
Tempeh Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
- 4 cups kale, stems removed, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Nutritional yeast, for topping (optional)
- Hemp hearts, for topping (optional)
- Toasted sunflower seeds, for topping (optional)
- 1 block tempeh, cubed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soya sauce, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
- 4 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons water, as needed
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional)
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- pinch of salt, to taste
- Chop the kale into small bite-sized pieces. Massage with 1/2 tablespoon of oil using your hands for a few minutes to help tenderize the kale. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the tempeh and sauté for 2 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Add the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and paprika (if using). Toss the tempeh until evenly coated and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side
- While the tempeh is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together the tahini and vinegar. It should form a thick paste. Whisk in the garlic, salt and water, adding more water as needed to thin.
- Assemble the salad: Toss the massaged kale with the tahini dressing. Serve with tempeh and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, hemp hearts and sunflower seeds if desired.
If you make this tempeh kale salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!