Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola

The layering of flavors and textures in this dish is really quite unique and surprising. My best friend Basil had a few bites and asked, "what am I eating?" but surely not in a disapproving way — indeed, he wanted seconds. I have encountered more than a few vegetarians and vegans who have expressed their dislike of tempeh, but it just depends on how you prepare it, much like tofu, only tempeh is a healthier alternative because of the fermentation process it undergoes. It has a meaty texture that surely will appeal to your carnivorous friends too, especially when you salt it up like I have here.

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola

Notes: For this recipe, I used a fairly mild and creamy Gorgonzola so as not to overpower the rest of the flavors in this dish. If you want to make this vegan, omit the cheese and it will still be a tasty and unique addition to your table. You will likely have more tempeh than you need for this salad, but the strips are delightful to snack on just on their own, so I opted to fry up the whole package.

Precisely because this is such a unique and flavourful salad, this is my submission this month to No Croutons Required. For the November edition I have asked for soups or salads that would grace your holiday table. A kind reminder that it not too late yet to submit your lovely recipes.

Lentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and GorgonzolaLentil Salad with Tempeh, Dried Cherries, Spinach and Gorgonzola
Recipe by
Published on November 18, 2012

Rich, filling and flavorful lentil salad dressed with fried marinated tempeh, dried cherries, fresh spinach and creamy Gorgonzola cheese

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  • 12 oz (340 g) tempeh, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons tamari (soy) sauce
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili or chipotle powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
Other ingredients:
  • 2/3 cup Puy (French) lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 - 3 cups fresh spinach, washed and trimmed
  • 4 1/2 oz (125 g) Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled or chopped
  • Begin by marinating the tempeh. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and tamari. Transfer the tempeh strips to a large shallow pan and pour the olive oil and tamari mixture on top. Toss well to coat, sprinkle with chipotle and salt, toss again, and let sit for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

  • Heat the sesame oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. When hot, add the marinated tempeh strips and fry until they are nicely browned on both sides, turning every few minutes. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

  • Pick through the lentils to remove any small stones and rinse thoroughly. Combine in a medium saucepan with the bay leaves and 3 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.

  • While the lentils are cooking, prepare your dressing. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. When hot, add the shallots and stir until they soften and turn golden brown. Now pour in the water and add the sugar, dried berries, vinegars and salt. Simmer until the mixture thickens up, stirring often. Remove from heat and season with black pepper.

  • To serve, toss together half of the tempeh with lentils, spinach and dressing. Add more seasoning and olive oil as desired. Transfer to serving plates and serve at room temperature garnished with pieces of creamy Gorgonzola and the remaining tempeh.

Makes 4 servings
lentil salad with tempeh

More tempeh based recipes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Tempeh Stuffed Mushroom Tapas
Thai Tempeh Patties with a Red Chili Dipping Sauce
Oseng Oseng Tempe
Tempeh Breakfast Hash-Up

On the top of the reading stack: Dakshin: Vegetarian Cuisine from South India by Chandra Padmanabhan

Audio Accompaniment: Lux by the master of sound, Brian Eno

1 comment:

Priya Suresh said...

Wish i get a plate of this healthy,hearty and filling salad.