None of my own recipes today but I am sharing one from the sensational new cookbook, Salad Samurai! Authored by Terry Hope Romero, vegan chef extraordinaire, probably best known as co-author of the vegan bible, Veganomicon, but also as the brains behind Viva Vegan, Vegan Eats World and more.
[Vanessa. K. Rees is the talented photographer behind the show-stopping pictures accompanying the recipes in the book. All photos in this review are my own but you can check out some of those in the book here (N.b. The name of the book was later changed).]
If you’ve ever thought salad was boring, unsatisfying, not a real meal, rabbit food…this book will definitely make you think again. My first impressions were that it was a small volume, but I opened it up and was overwhelmed by how much is packed in, and all creative and unique ideas.
One of my favourite things to do is to sit down with a new cookbook, a pen and some sticky notes and bookmark everything I want to make. I soon realized that it was a slightly pointless job with this one though as I’d be filling the whole book!
It’s divided into chapters according to season- proving that salad isn’t just for summer! There are also chapters on Salad Toppers and Salad Dressings as well as a Sweet & Savory chapter featuring the “salad-like” creations Terry enjoys for breakfast.
I dove straight into that section as I didn’t even need to buy anything to make the Overnight Oats with Mexican Chocolate Crème. I’m sure many of you, like me, have got into the overnight oats thing by now. But this simple meal gets kicked up a notch with a cinnamon chile chocolate crème. Just slightly spicy, this will put a bit of pep in your step. Oh, and it might sound and taste decadent, but I promise it’s healthy.
One craze I hadn’t yet tried was coconut bacon, though I’ve wanted to for a while now. Terry’s recipe for Coconut Bacon Bits certainly didn’t disappoint. These are really easy to make and perfect on anything. The suggestion to sprinkle them on granola is genius!
They’re listed as an optional ingredient in one of the summer recipes, The BKT (Bacon, Kale, Tomato) Bowl. I’m always drawn to tempeh dishes and, fortunately for me, the book has quite a few. This is a seriously hearty salad. The tempeh bacon (yes, more “bacon”!) was big on flavour and I don’t think you can go wrong with kale, cherry tomatoes and avocado.
Luckily for you all, you don’t have to wait for your own copy to arrive to get stuck in, as the publisher, Da Capo Press, have kindly allowed me to share this recipe with my readers.
- 1 Recipe Tempeh Bacon Bites or 8oz store-bought tempeh bacon
- 1 pound Curly kale
- 1 Red onion, sliced into half moons
- 1 pint Red cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- Coconut Bacony Bites (see page 48) (optional)
- 2 Tbsp minced shallots
- 4 tsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp Smooth Dijon mustard
- Pinch of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Tempeh Bacon Bites
- 8oz Tempeh
- 2 Tbsp Maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp Tamari
- 1 Tbsp All-natural Ketchup
- 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
- 3/4 tsp Liquid smoke
- Tempeh Bacon Bites
- Slice the tempeh into 1/4" thin strips. Then stack a few strips at a time and slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces, about 1" long.
- In a ceramic or metal baking dish, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the tempeh bits and gently toss to completely coat with marinade. Let stand for 10 minutes or cover and chill overnight.
- Use a fork to transfer the tempeh pieces (leaving any marinade behind) to a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet preheated over medium heat. Lay the pieces in a single layer, and if desired spritz with a little cooking spray. Cook until well browned on one side, flip, and cook the other side until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. After the tempeh is browned on both sides, pour the marinade over it and simmer until the marinade is absorbed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Store chilled and consume within 2 days for best flavour.
- For the salad
- Strip the kale leaves off the stems, tear or chop into bite-size pieces. Wash and spin the kale dry, then transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour half the dressing over the kale and massage for a minute.
- Add the tempeh bacon, red onion, tomato, avocado and remaining dressing to the kale. Use tongs to combine and coat everything with the dressing. Serve immediately and pass around the Coconut Bacony Bits if using!
The latest dish from the book to grace my tastebuds was the Pesto Cauliflower & Potato Salad. This is my favourite so far. Grilled cauliflower is simply irresistible! And just a few simple easy ingredients dress it up and turn it into a lovely light dinner.
A few people have expressed concerns that the recipes in the book might be complex and require a long list of hard-to-find ingredients. Just to allay your fears, that’s not the case at all. There may be a few less familiar ingredients but they’re few and far between. Most of the recipes specify that they take 30 minutes or 45 minutes to prepare, certainly doable for weeknights. I found the timings to be accurate, even slightly overestimated perhaps.
So, what’s next? I’m sticking to the Summer chapter for now to help me narrow down the options. But even within the chapter, the Green Curry Lentil Quinoa Salad, Mexican Roasted Corn Salad with Avocado and Plums Love Arugula Salad are just a few of the recipes calling to me.
If you haven’t got a copy of Salad Samurai yet, I hope I’ve convinced you! Let me know what you’re making and enjoying.
[Disclosure: I was sent a free copy of this cookbook for review purposes, but, as always, all opinions are my own]