Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Salad with Smokey Marinated Mushrooms & Creamy Cashew Tomato Dressing
This salad has A LOT going on - tons of veggies, a creamy cashew and tomato dressing, tempeh bacon, marinated mushrooms grilled on skewers, grilled avocado ... and it all comes together in the most savoury, delicious, just-one-more-big-bite kind of way.
I love a mixture of raw and cooked veggies in my dinner salads; something with enough heaviness to it carry me till morning. This salad accomplishes that, easy peasy.
The dressing is thick and rich, and this recipe makes more than you'll need. It is super yummy as a dip for celery sticks, and I am planning on tossing some zucchini and cucumber noodles with the dressing and some chopped tomatoes, basil, and olives for dinner tomorrow. Versatility!
While there is a bit of prep involved, it's pretty quick to set up and you're free to go about your day as things soak and marinate! Once ready to go, things come together easily. I had made the tempeh bacon a few weeks ago, and put it in the freezer. With that step out of the way, we enjoyed this on a weeknight and it was totally doable. If starting from the beginning, I would suggest making this on a day that you have a couple hours to spare before dinner so that the tempeh has time to soak up the flavourful marinade.
Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato Salad with Smokey Marinated Mushrooms & Creamy Cashew Tomato Dressing (gluten free, vegan)
Makes 2 extra large dinner salads, or enough as a side for 4-6. The tempeh bacon recipe is scaled down and minimally adapted from the original, from the Fresh Restaurant cookbook (definitely recommended, especially if you are not able to eat at this Toronto gem).
Begin by preparing the tempeh bacon, getting the mushrooms marinading, and soaking the cashews and sundried tomatoes for the dressing. Once these steps are complete, everything else is quick.
Tempeh Bacon (gluten free, vegan, nut-free)
makes 12-18 slices of bacon, depending on the size of your tempeh block and how thinly you slice it
1/2 block tempeh, thinly sliced
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp wheat-free tamari
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
Whisk the tamari, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and maple syrup together. As you continue to whisk, add the water and avocado oil. In a large, shallow baking dish or container, lay the tempeh slices side-by-side. Pour marinade over top. If you need to layer the tempeh slices, ensure that you pour marinade over the first layer, and again after you add the next layer so that all the tempeh is covered. Place in the fridge and allow the tempeh to marinate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
When ready to cook, preheat a pan over medium high heat. Add the tempeh slices to the pan (single layer) and cook for 3-5 minutes. Turn each slice over and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn. Set aside for a few minutes to allow to cool a little, and become slightly crispy.
Smokey Marinated Mushrooms (gluten free, vegan, nut-free)
Note: you'll need two skewers for cooking the mushrooms on the grill. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in water as you're marinading the mushrooms to reduce burning the wood.
4 oz (about 6) whole white, cremini, or baby bella mushrooms, washed and halved
1 tbsp wheat-free tamari
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp avocado oil
Whisk together all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Gently toss the mushrooms in the marinade, so that each is well-coated. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes, tossing occasionally in the marinade.
Preheat grill over medium heat. If you plan to grill the avocado, halve it and add it to the grill when you do the mushrooms.
Gently push each mushroom onto the skewer (about 6 pieces on each). We used the top half of our barbecue, because ours runs so hot that it's tough to avoid burning veggies if we don't have them slightly removed! Cook, turning skewers occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked through and lightly browned. Remove mushrooms (and avocado, if grilling) from heat and set aside.
Creamy Cashew Tomato Dressing (gluten free, vegan, nut-free)
Note: Cashews are technically a seed, BUT some people with nut allergies cannot tolerate them. If you avoid cashews or have an allergic reaction to nuts and are unsure about whether or not you can manage cashews, omit them and use the recipe below as a vinaigrette instead (you may need to increase the amount of olive oil and use a bit more plain water instead of the called-for amount of soaking water from the sundried tomatoes, which can be quite salty). You could also blend in 1/4 of an avocado, but note that the dressing will not keep well if there are leftovers if you use avocado.
1/4 c sundried tomatoes (I use the dry, salted kind), set to soak in 1/4 c warm water for about 30 minutes (reserve soaking water - you'll need 3 tbsp of it for the dressing)
1/4 c tomatoes, chopped (this was about 3-4 large grape tomatoes)
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 c raw cashews, set to soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes
Combine the sundried tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, white wine and balsamic vinegars, black pepper, nutritional yeast, water and olive oil and blend - starting on a low speed and slowly increasing to high - until smooth. Drain, rinse, and drain again the soaking cashews, then add to the blender and blend again until completely smooth. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times as you blend, to ensure all the ingredients are integrated. Taste and adjust, if needed. Set aside.
Salad (gluten free, vegan)
1/2 a romaine heart (5-6 leaves), washed and dried
2-3 oz mixed greens
1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 cucumber, sliced or match-sticked
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Tempeh Bacon (recipe above)
Smokey Marinated & Grilled Mushrooms (recipe above)
Creamy Cashew Tomato Dressing (recipe above)
Sliced romaine hearts into thin strips, and toss with mixed greens. Layer lettuces on a serving platter. Top with halved tomatoes, sliced or match-sticked cucumbers, and thinly sliced scallion. Crumble tempeh bacon and sprinkle over salad. Top with grilled mushrooms and avocado. Drizzle with dressing, and serve.
As always, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, or tag me @mynaturalkitchen on Instagram to show me what you've made.