SOUL FREAKING DELICIOUS: SALADS ARE FOR SUNDAYS

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Submitted Date 08/25/2019
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I am most comfortable in a chair with my laptop or playing around in the kitchen. I collect cookbooks, spices, recipes and could stand in the kitchen appliance aisle at Target dreaming of my next purchase for hours. I adore food, flavors, a well-crafted menu or a new spot for lunch in my local city. This is my first entry of a series I like to call Soul Freaking Delicious because it's all about food that comforts and nourishes. I won't restrict it to dishes that are purely nutritional because I love cake too much. I am not a perfect eater, but I know I can do better. For a lot of us, the kitchen is intimidating. Cooking requires skill, and convenience food requires a microwave. I have been there and I wasn't satisfied. I formed a relationship with my kitchen because I knew if I learned some tricks I could step outside the frozen food section of my grocery store, or I could save hundreds a month if I didn't spend so many dinners in a drive-thru. If you're ready to invest in you, then I am here to guide you.

 

This is not my own original recipe— like I said I collect cookbooks. This recipe is brought to you by Thug Kitchen. They have some notable compilations, I think I have all of their books to date. Thug Kitchen is big on vegan cuisine. I am a meat-eater, but I love to try everything. I didn't know it was a meatless cookbook before I purchased my first copy from them. I almost returned it because I didn't know how I was going to get my family to eat food without protein from meat. I would have been a fool to return my book because I am constantly grabbing it from my shelf when I want affordable meals without meat. I personally think as a country we rely heavily on meat to provide protein, and I do think if more of us knew where to find protein outside of livestock, the change wouldn't feel as stressful. If you want to grab a copy for yourself find it here:

 

 

In an attempt to eat more salads I made an effort to re-create Thug Kitchen's recipe Curry Tempeh Salad. I will explain the recipe but if you truly would like to make your own I encourage you to support Thug Kitchen and purchase a copy of your own. This salad comes together quickly and can be meal prepped easily for a week's worth of lunches. I let mine chill in the fridge, it is warm in my area, and I wanted a cool lunch.

 

 

Cook your Quinoa, First. I didn't read very thoroughly and ended up waiting on my quinoa when I could have been done. Quinoa cooks just like rice, bring your pot to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Doing this step first allows the quinoa to cool. When the grains are simmering set a timer and move on.

Make the Dressing. A salad is never complete without a little dressing. The best part of cooking my own food has been that I don't buy bottled dressings EVER. This is simple to make and pretty hard to screw up. I grabbed a glass— like the recipe instructed and added: non-dairy yogurt and lime juice. I was so excited to try almond yogurt that I didn't even notice I grabbed unsweetened vanilla non-dairy yogurt. Even though I said you can't screw this up, at this point in the recipe I was thinking " Way to go newb..." and went for it anyway. After I mixed the dressing well I popped it in the fridge to chill.

 

 

 

(The dressing is made by combining: yogurt, lime juice, rice vinegar, minced garlic, yellow curry powder, sriracha, and a dash of salt.)

 

Steam The Tempeh. This step is a little trickier you don't have a steamer insert or an instant pot but still doable. I didn't feel motivated enough to pull out my instant pot so I filled a pot of water with just an inch or two of water. Cut my tempeh into bite-sized pieces, and packaged them simply in some parchment paper. I placed an elevated insert in the pot to keep the tempeh above the water. Cover your pot and let steam for approximately 10 minutes. Use your nose and wait until you smell its nutty aroma. While the tempeh steams, prep those vegetables for the salad.

Wash and dice the produce. I diced a Fiji apple, two carrots, and four stalks of celery for the salad. It was at this moment I suffered an injury. I grated my thumb. Please don't grate your finger and practice responsible kitchen safety practices while handling knives, graters, etc. Once I was ready to return to the kitchen I threw my diced ingredients in a bowl that was big enough for the whole salad.

 

 

When the tempeh is done steaming throw it in the bowl and splash some soy sauce on top. Toss the tempeh gently and allow it to soak up the juices. Once cool dump in the large bowl with the produce, as well as the cooled quinoa.

Toast the walnuts. The walnuts don't have to be toasted but it does add a depth of flavor and it requires almost no skill. Spread the walnuts in an even layer on a dry frying pan. Warm on a medium-low heat setting shaking occasionally until there's a nutty scent rising. They burn easily so watch carefully. I took this time to chop some cilantro to garnish.

Put it all together. Add the tempeh that's been marinating to the big bowl with produce and quinoa. Snatch the dressing from the fridge and mix well. The goal is to coat everything evenly. Garnish with toasted walnuts and cilantro. At this point you have two options: you may enjoy immediately with toasted bread, or let the salad chill for at least an hour and enjoy later on a bed of baby spinach. Either way, you made a beautiful nutritious salad.

 

 

I know its nice to skip all my blabbing and get to the recipe but I've learned there are a ton of great tips and tricks if you read the whole page. The recipe is one part of the whole. My goal is to make the kitchen a happier place for others. I don't have a recipe to skip to for today but I invite you to take these flavors and experiment. I got to enjoy my salad for lunch. I think when I make this again I will make more dressing. I found it had a great curry flavor, that complemented the tang of the yogurt. I just would have liked more of that flavor. The crisp apple was sweet without overpowering the salad. I don't' think I will use walnuts next time, I will substitute pecans instead. Overall I don't think the vanilla flavor ruined the recipe and I'm glad I didn't let that mistake stop me from pushing through to the end.

 

If you decide to make this salad for yourself I would love to see photos in the comments. I welcome any questions or suggestions for this recipe or recipes done in the future.

All pictures are my own***

 

Ashley Aker

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  • Ceara 1 month, 3 weeks ago

    Wow, this great. I am considering lessening the amount of meat in my diet so I will be sure to try this!. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your future posts.

    • Ashley Aker 1 month, 3 weeks ago

      Thanks Ceara, I’m glad you liked it. Let me know if you try this recipe or anything else from thug kitchen. 🙂

  • Robert Mitton 1 month ago

    Excellent food post!