The last leaves on my cherry tree are barely clinging on. Instead of changing colors, the green leaves drop. The tree ends up looking more or less like a balding version of itself. Comb over and all. Yesterday, after I slipped out of my meditation, I watched a tribune of cardinals, nightingales and chickadees alight on the almost empty branches. Females and males, twitching their heads back and forth. Silent. Watching. A final coalescence before heading South.
There’s a mad mixing of energies during this time of year. Bright, energetic Summer dwindles as the cool clarity of September inspires and motivates. In the kitchen, the last holdouts of Summertime sit glossy and bursting on my counter: watermelon, peppers, eggplant. And right alongside them: hearty squash, apples, new potatoes.
Outside, there’s hot sun and cool air. Folks are sweating, pulling up their overgrown gardens to make way for kale, beets, cauliflower. The forlorn bodies of cicadas lay like fallen soldiers on sidewalks.
Daily I play with the dichotomy of heavy and light. I’m adding oats and oils to my smoothies to make them that much more grounding, nourishing. I crave cooked greens, eggs, and protein-rich foods. Tempeh bacon has been my major craving as of late. I don’t get intense cravings, generally. So when I do, I take them very seriously.
As with many of my salad recipes, this salad has a lot going on. I can’t stand a boring salad. (Or a boring veggie burger but that’s another story). Salads should be exciting, flavorful, and filling.
As a result of that I have a tendency to make my salads, well, complicated. I mean, let’s be real, this roasted cauliflower and tempeh bacon salad is actually three recipes. The cauliflower and tempeh are awesome all on their own. I was tempted to dedicate wholes posts to each of them. But then I would have to wait to post this salad. And that’s lame. It’s a great balance of earthy and airy, which could not be more perfect during this time of year.
It’s a long process for a salad, so if you’re trying to save time I would go with store-bought tempeh bacon (just make sure it’s wheat-free if you have allergies). The tempeh bacon recipe is truly badass though. So stick that recipe in your back pocket for all of your tempeh bacon needs.
- Roasted Cauliflower
- Tempeh Bacon
- 2 cups pea shoots (chopped roughly) or your favorite sprouts
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 gala or other crisp apple, cored and sliced thinly
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- salt & pepper
- Toss together the roasted cauliflower, tempeh bacon, pea shoots, arugula, and apple.
- In a small mixing bowl or cup, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and cinnamon.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately & enjoy!
- 1 large head cauliflower, greens removed and cut into 2" florets
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- juice of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon coarse Celtic sea salt, plus more to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread the cut cauliflower florets out over the parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon, cinnamon, and cayenne.
- Drizzle the dressing over the cauliflower and toss everything together to combine.
- Add salt and pepper, and toss again to coat as evenly as possible.
- Roast for 15-18 minutes on the center rack, until the cauliflower is fork tender and some pieces are just beginning to blacken.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
- 10 oz fresh tempeh, cut into thin strips (1/4" each)
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- pinch cayenne or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Place a sheet of parchment paper in a medium high-walled roasting dish (you don't have to use parchment, I just like it for easier clean-up). Set aside.
- Place the sliced fresh tempeh in a large sauté pan. Cover about half way with water. Set over medium-high heat. Steam, covered for 15-20 minutes or until the water has mostly steamed off.
- While the tempeh is steaming, make the marinade.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tamari, maple syrup, olive oil, paprika, white wine vinegar, allspice, and cayenne. If you have a garlic press, press the garlic cloves through it directly into the marinade. Otherwise, smash and mince the garlic and add it in.
- Once the tempeh is steamed, remove it from the pan using a spatula and set it in the roasting dish (carefully so that the strips don't break apart).
- Pour the marinade over top. Use your hands to flip each strip over so that they're all coated generously with the sauce.
- Set the dish in the oven on the middle rack and cook for 35-40 mins.