Kale Tempeh Salad - Places & Spaces

Kale Tempeh Salad

I was never a big fan of anything that was made from soybeans. Firm tofu, super soft tofu, and soy milk wasn’t really up my alley. It probably had something to do with that soy-machine my mom bought to make soy everything. This started one day when we roamed around in a giant warehouse in Hong Kong where there was a little stall promoting healthy homemade soy drinks (and soy everything). Since we could try that stuff for free, my mom got drawn to it like a bee to honey. Like a real mom, she bought it on the spot. “It’s healthy for you!” And yes, she hauled that thing all the way back to Holland. Eventually, she used it two or three times. It was too much of a hassle according to her and that thing never saw the living daylight again. Yep, that’s my mom.


I’m still not very fond of tofu/soy products but after I tried my friends tempeh, things are getting better. I like the structure of the packed beans, it doesn’t taste that bad at all, it doesn’t break down in pieces during the cooking process and it absorbs flavours in no time, unlike the tofu kinds we know.

Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans and pressed into a ‘cake’. The fermentation process changes the properties of the beans which make it easier to digest. It is high in protein, phytonutrients, and minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, and copper. It may taste funny the first time, but with the right amount of flavouring and spices, it is a winner! I can even coax my die-hard carnivorous friends to eat it without fuss.


I’ve used kale in this recipe but you can easily replace it with spinach or other greens.

Kale Tempeh Salad
serves 2

1 1/2 cup tempeh, diced
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs coconut sugar
1 piece ginger (approx 3 cm), grated
1 tsp five spice powder

1 cup pomegranate seeds
2 handfuls of kale
1 tbsp apple vinegar
1/2 shallot, minced
pinch of salt & pepper
1 tsp olive oil

Put the tempeh with the spices, sugar and half of the grated ginger in a small bowl. Toss around until the tempeh is covered with the marinade and set it aside. Heat up some coconut oil in a skillet and add the tempeh when the oil is hot. Let it sauté on a medium heat until the sugar has caramelized and the tempeh is warm and crunchy. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a bit.

In the mean time toss the kale and pomegranate in a big bowl with a salt, pepper, apple vinegar, olive oil, the minced shallot and rest of the ginger. Add the tempeh when it is cooled down and toss it around with your hands.

Serve with a warm toast or just straight from the bowl.


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