You have to like curry and fruit in savory places to be tempted by this salad from Terry Hope Romero's new vegan cookbook, Salad Samurai, because it's heavy in both departments. But if you're into that, which I happen to be, this salad will do you just right.
Cubes of tempeh—a nutritious, crumbly slab of fermented beans, usually soy—are tossed with dried cranberries, apples, toasted pecans, and cilantro, and coated in a tangy, copiously curried dressing made from puréed cashews. Romero then makes the filling salad cleverly portable by scooping it into intact radicchio leaves. There are so many textures and flavors at play, every bite is slightly different and delicious in its own way. Tempeh, which has a bit of a natural funk to it, is happily at home with the bold dressing and sweet and tart fruits.
Why I picked this recipe: I admit, I can sometimes be turned off by tempeh. I thought this salad could be an appetizing way to try it, given my love for all the other components.
What worked: I was right. Even if you think you don't like tempeh, give it a go here.
What didn't: I wouldn't have minded the dressing being a touch looser; it felt slightly gunky, especially after time in the fridge. I may add a tablespoon or so more water next time.
Suggested tweaks: The undressed radicchio was just too bitter for me, so I've been eating it (for 2 days now; it keeps well) as Romero suggests, "...heaped on slices of dark bread studded with pecans and cranberries." And this may be tacky to suggest, but chicken in place of the tempeh would be pretty awesome, if you swing that way.
As usual, we have 5 copies of Salad Samurai to give away this week.