Let the Thanksgiving cooking begin! And not a minute too late, as the holidays are sneaking up on me faster than I can cook and photograph. This is the first of several recipes I really wanted to share here this year.
Thanksgiving is without a doubt my absolutely favorite holiday, and I can’t think of anything better than a day spent entirely focused on food (okay, and the National Dog Show at my house). We have been vegetarian for five years (!) now, and still every year I find that someone is worried about “what we will eat” at the dinner table. Come on guys, it’s all about the side dishes, right?
I could live on a plate of mashed potatoes and cranberries alone, but it’s definitely good to have a few more complete dishes to round out the vegetarian menu. For those of you concerned with serving a vegetarian or vegan entrée or protein at your Thanksgiving table – this one is for you.
It might look like a simple salad, but it’s an entrée that will leave you more than satisfied. Delicious wilted kale accented with all sorts of tasty things like fresh pomegranate seeds, salty olives, and sweet dried cranberries. But the additions of chewy wheatberries and tasty tempeh move this salad from side dish to the center of the table.
Festive Kale Salad with Wheatberries and Tempeh
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Ingredients (4-6 servings)
1 block tempeh
splash of orange juice
1 cup cooked wheatberries (or 1/2 cup dry)
10 oz kale, chopped finely
1/4 cup Spanish olives
1/3 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1 orange, zested
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons orange muscat vinegar
pinch of salt
gorgonzola crumbles (optional)
If you don’t have cooked wheatberries already, you’ll want to get those started first. I cooked several cups in my rice cooker (and tossed the leftovers into the fridge for lunches), but you can also just cook them on the stovetop.
Add 1/2 cup dry wheatberries to 1 cup water in a sauce pan, and simmer until the wheatberries are tender – around 20 minutes. Season with salt, drain, and set aside.
Cube tempeh into bite sized pieces. In a non-stick pan, sauté tempeh over medium high heat in order to get some good color and browning.
Add a few splashes of orange juice to deglaze, and stir frequently. Season with salt, and set aside once it is finished cooking.
While the tempeh cooks, go ahead and prep the rest of your ingredients. Chop the olives and de-seed your pomegranate.
For this kale salad, you want the kale to be chopped very finely. I used a bag of pre-shredded organic kale (from Trader Joe’s) and I still chopped it to be quite a bit finer.
Add the kale to a large sauté pan, along with 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt, and cover with a lid. You aren’t trying to cook it to death, just wilt it, so stir often and uncover after a minute or so.
Once the kale has wilted and softened a bit, remove it and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped olives, dried cranberries, drained wheatberries, pomegranate seeds, and cooked tempeh. Add the zest of one orange over top.
In a small bowl, whisk together the orange vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt to make the dressing. I use this vinegar from Trader Joe’s!
Pour over top of the salad mixture, and stir well to combine. Add any additional salt to taste.
Serve at room temperature, and garnish with gorgonzola crumbles if you love them as much as I do.
I love this salad because it can be a perfect side dish to a bigger meal (like say, Thanksgiving!) but it can also stand on its own as a complete dish.
All the bright citrus and sweet flavors of orange and cranberry pair so well with the salty olives and tangy gorgonzola. This salad has a lot going on, but definitely in a good way.
This is the perfect dish to serve if you’re entertaining vegans (leave out the cheese!) or vegetarians and don’t know what to make, and it is just as good the next day as leftovers.
Several more recipes coming next week! It is most definitely the most wonderful time of the year, and absolutely my favorite food to cook. Happy Friday, friends!