Smokey Tempeh Salad with Soy-Ginger Dressing

My older brother is visiting me this weekend. I'm downstairs at a coffeeshop waiting for him to wake up. We're two years apart and I spent most of my childhood alternatively worshiping and hating him (like a lot of little sisters, I think). He considers it his job as my older brother to make fun of me for pretty much anything and everything but he particularly likes to tease me about how much of a  stereotypical Seattleite I have become. So in case he needs some more ammunition here is a tempeh salad with local organic vegetables from my CSA. But I don't feel bad because it was delicious!

In fact, if I didn't tell him what it was, I bet he would like it. The tempeh is cooked with molasses and chipotle which gives it a great smokey flavor. It makes this a hearty and satisfying salad. The soy-ginger dressing and crisp vegetables make it refreshing, perfect for a summer lunch.
I've always been very good at following recipes, whether for baking or cooking in general. However, I'm much less comfortable pulling things out of the fridge or cabinets and throwing together a dinner without a recipe. I am always super impressed by the people who can do this, like my mom or my aunt (who hates going grocery shopping and is able to make a delicious dinner from seemingly empty cupboards). But with the CSA I need to be more flexible and so I am doing this a lot more. For this I followed recipes for the tempeh and dressing but used whatever vegetables I had available for the salad so I encourage you to play around and make it however you want.
One thing I really like about this cookbook (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison) is that is really helps me throw meals together. There are easy and easily modified recipes but also general cooking techniques for all sorts of vegetables. If you eat lots of vegetables or want to start it is a great book, but it is a little hefty and expensive so I'll just keep posting my favorite recipes from it for you to enjoy!

Smokey Tempeh Salad with Soy-Ginger Dressing

1 8- or 10-ounce package tempeh
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 medium onion, sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chicken or vegetable broth, or water
4 thin slices ginger
3 - 4 whole cloves
1/4 tsp pureed chipotle chile
2 tbsp molasses
1 1/2 tsps tomato pase
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger root
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsps honey
1/4 water
1 head lettuce, or 4 cups mixed greens
2 medium carrots, julienned
1 cup chopped snap peas
4 scallions, chopped
1. For the tempeh: Slice the tempeh crosswise into thin strips. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small skillet, bring them to a boil, and add the tempeh. Simmer slowly, covered, for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed. At this point the tempeh will begin to fry in the oil. Cook until it's glazed and browned, about 5 minutes.
3. For the dressing: Combine dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid.
4. Remove lid and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute (just to melt the honey). Let cool. Shake well.
5. For the salad: Toss the salad, carrots, peas and scallions with the dressing and serve with 3 - 4 slices of tofu. (Serves 4 people)

Tempeh from Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone by Deborah Madison
Dressing from AllRecipes

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