I have suffered through so many raw kale salads since I went vegan. I’ve tried cutting it into fine ribbons and massaging it with oil, avocado, salt, and lemon. I’ve doused it in tahini dressing and vegan ranch. I just don’t have time for the endless chewing and bitterness of a kale salad, or the bloating that comes later.
Does this make me a bad vegan? I feel like I have to stand up for kale. But it’s gotta be cooked if I’m going to eat enough of it to actually enjoy its nutritional benefits, so I like to eat it in a warm salad with some plant-based protein and flavorful toppings.
My Warm Kale Salad with Maple-Mustard Tempeh and Ruby Kraut packs serious flavor while being incredibly nutritious. Maple syrup and Dijon mustard come together in a naturally-sweetened sweet and tangy sauce to coat the tempeh. A simple creamy tahini dressing adds healthy fat, contrasting with the sour fermented cabbage. And an entire bunch of raw kale steams down into a few generous but manageable servings that will make you feel so virtuously healthy. This salad can serve 2 or it can make 4 smaller servings to go along with some grains and roasted vegetables.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
This warm salad is gut-friendly because it contains prebiotic rich foods as well as sources of probiotics, ensuring a thriving internal microbiome. The fiber in kale makes it an excellent prebiotic food, meaning it helps feed your gut’s bacteria colonies. Fermented foods such as tempeh and sauerkraut also encourage gut health since they contain probiotics. While prebiotics feed gut bacteria, probiotics replenish the colonies of bacteria you need for healthy digestion- they work together to make sure you’re getting everything you need from the food you eat before it passes through you. I’ve linked below a few sources on plant-based microbiome health if you’d like to learn more about this topic!
- Prebiotic Rich Foods
- Why Prebiotics Are Just As Important As Probiotics For Gut Health
- Microbiome: We Are What We Eat (video)
- Healthy Gut: Prebiotics and Probiotics
Warm Kale Salad with Maple Mustard Tempeh and Ruby Kraut
A seasonal warm kale salad with tangy maple mustard tempeh and sauerkraut. Rich in plant-based protein and gut-friendly fermented foods, an easy and flavorful vegan lunch or dinner.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2-4 servings 1x
for the tempeh:
- 1 8-oz block of tempeh
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
for the salad and dressing:
- 1 bunch of kale (about 10 stalks), washed and chopped
- 1/4 cup tahini
- pinch of sea salt
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 3–4 tbsp of warm water
- sauerkraut, homemade or storebought*
- roasted vegetables, avocado, or other add-ins, optional
- Place the block of tempeh in a shallow dish or bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over it. Cover with a lid or plate so the tempeh can steam for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the tamari, dijon, maple syrup, and broth. Set aside. Take this time to prepare your salad dressing as well by whisking together the tahini, lemon juice, garlic powder, and warm water. Set aside.
- After the tempeh is finished steaming, pat it dry. Cut it into 8 slices and then cut those slices diagonally to make a total of 16 triangles.
- Heat a large skillet over medium with 1 tbsp of oil. Add the pieces of tempeh to the pan, trying not to overlap them. Let them cook undisturbed for 5 minutes, then flip each piece and cook for another 5 minutes.
- At this point, your tempeh should be browned and slightly crispy. Now add the maple dijon sauce to the pan and cook for 5-10 more minutes. Spoon the marinade over the tempeh to help saturate it while it cooks. The sauce will thicken up and caramelize- stop cooking before it burns and sticks to the pan. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan you cooked the tempeh in, add the kale along with a splash of water. Cover and steam until slightly wilted.
- To assemble, divide the steamed kale between 2 or 3 dishes. Top with the tempeh, roasted veggies, and sauerkraut or raw cabbage. Drizzle the tahini dressing over each serving and enjoy!
- if you are interested in learning to make your own sauerkraut, there are tons of books and free resources online. I own a copy of Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz which has proved very helpful in making fermentation seem less scary. Amanda at Mama Eats Plants has a really nice guide to making sauerkraut as well.