Sometimes I go to the Wednesday Famer’s Market with a recipe in mind and a shopping list in hand. It’s definitely a faster and more efficient way to food shop.
This past week I didn’t. I had just returned from a lovely vacation in Hawaii and was now gearing up for the world premiere PR campaign of a documentary I’m producing. My mind was in many places, though not in the kitchen. But I missed cooking and sharing my recipes. So I left the film world behind to take a meditative stroll though the quieter of the two Larchmont Farmer’s Markets with hope to solidify an inventive recipe to share with all of you.
Frecker Farms had beautiful bright green Romaine. Country Fresh Herbs had tall, forest green stalks of kale and adorable baby patty pan squash. Oh, I am a sucker for those baby vegetables. While I didn’t quite have a recipe in mind, I somehow knew that I needed to buy these vegetables and that one would speak to me in my kitchen. I picked up a few other items and went home.
Now, I will confess, it was a few days before a recipe came a calling to my mind. It was when I opened an overstuffed fridge drawer of vegan cheeses and charcuterie, tofu and such that I saw the two packages of tempeh and the light bulb moment occurred. Aha! I’ll make a kale and romaine Caesar salad and use crisped tempeh cubes as the croutons. And I’ll roast the squash, too, and add that. Done!
And so the oven was turned on, the veggies washed and dried, the pantry ingredients gathered and measured and a delicious and healthy dinner created. Especially the dressing! It’s a keeper!
For roasting the squash and tempeh I used garlic infused EVOO. It’s a great way to add garlic flavor without the fuss and risk of burning the garlic at such high temperature.
I do hope that you’ll try this salad as is, even if you’re not vegan. Tempeh is a high protein, vitamin packed soy or soy and grain product like the Trader Joe’s brand pictured, that’s a staple in plant based cooking. While the tempeh croutons added a crunchy and chewy texture to the salad, the roasted squash added a burst of juicy sweetness.
Overall, a very satisfying supper. All hail Caesar Salad!
Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad with Roasted Baby Squash and Tempeh Croutons
5 cups packed greens – Kale and Romaine washed, dried and torn in pieces
4-dozen baby patty pan squash, washed and dried, left whole
2 packages plain tempeh, cut into small cubes (I got 24 per package)
Garlic infused extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Kosher or sea salt
Dressing (recipe follows)
Fresh black pepper
Fresh grated or pre-grated plant based Parmesan cheese
Set oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash lightly with the garlic infused EVOO and a sprinkling of salt of choice. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes until lightly browned and just softened. They will continue to cook out of the oven. Remove and set aside to cool a bit.
Turn oven up to 425 degrees. Toss the tempeh cubes with a generous amount of garlic infused EVOO and some salt. Spread onto a clean sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Bake about 20 minutes until browned and crisp on the outside, turning as they cook. Remove from oven and set aside. You can do these first 2 steps ahead and leave the squash and tempeh at room temperature a while or refrigerate.
When ready to serve toss the greens with about 2/3 of the dressing or to taste. You will need some left to drizzle on top. Divide the greens into 4 serving bowls. Top each serving with ¼ of the roasted baby squash and 10 -12-tempeh croutons. Drizzle some of the extra dressing over the tempeh croutons. Top each salad with a few capers, fresh cracked black pepper and a generous amount of the vegan Parmesan. Serve extra capers, vegan parm, any leftover dressing and lemon wedges on the side for guests to add. Enjoy!
2 T caper brine from a jar of capers
4 T fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup EVOO
In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup dissolve the salt in the caper brine and lemon juice. Add the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, mustard and garlic and whisk until all is incorporated. Slowly whisk in the EVOO. Taste for seasoning.