Tempeh Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

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 or simple lunch.

tempeh kale salad on plates

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 you’ll like it as much as I do!

tempeh, kale and tahini dressing in a jar
tempeh on a frying pan

What you need: Kale, tempeh, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, tahini, white wine vinegar and garlic.

How to Make a Tempeh Kale Salad:

Start by chopping the kale (small bite-sized pieces makes it much easier to eat!). Then massage it with oil. This helps tenderize the kale, which is otherwise tough to eat.

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.

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!

Notes on the Recipe:

  • 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.
  • Make sure to massage the kale. I like to do this with a touch of oil before adding the tahini dressing as it’s less messy. This will help soften the tough kale and make it easier to eat.

More Tempeh Recipes:

tempeh kale salad on plates
tempeh kale salad closeup
Tempeh Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing
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5 from 1 vote

Tempeh Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

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 or simple lunch.
Course Salad
Cuisine vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 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)

Tempeh

  • 1 bloc tempeh, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)

Tahini Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons water, as needed
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • pinch of salt, to taste

Instructions

  • 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. 

Notes

If you have leftover dressing, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Add more water to thin as needed when using it later.
We usually have a small portion of tempeh left. If you don’t use the whole block, store the rest in an airtight container in the fridge and use in salads, sandwiches or other meals.
As kale is tougher than most salad greens, it can be eaten the next day without getting soggy, however, it is better when served immediately.
If planning your meal in advance, 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. When ready to cook, simply add the tempeh to the non-stick pan with oil and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side.

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!

2 Comments

  • Saralyn

    5 stars
    This was really good! Thanks for the recipe. I’ve had tempeh a few times before but been a little disappointed. I loved this preparation, and flavor combination. I had a lone carrot I needed to use up, so I peeled it into ribbons and added it in to the salad. It was delicious. Thank you!

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Nourished by Caroline

I’m Caroline, a registered dietitian located in Kelowna, British Columbia. I focus on plant-based nutrition and intuitive eating. I believe in living a balanced life, while eating the food you love. Learn more about my practice here or book an appointment today!