This protein-packed blackened tempeh salad is loaded with flavor from the seasoned and roasted tempeh. The orange tahini dressing cuts the spice and adds a nice creamy component to the salad.
I’m a huge fan of making meal-sized salads and it’s always fun to utilize plant-based protein options, like tempeh!
Components For Meal-Sized Salads
This blackened tempeh salad is absolutely delicious and has all the components I look for when building a meal-sized salad (ps: check out my full guide for how to build a healthy meal-sized salad):
lots of veggies – romaine, onion and bell pepper.
a good source of plant-based protein – tempeh and quinoa.
smart carbs – quinoa is the base. You can check out my round up of quinoa salad recipes.
healthy fats – avocado for some healthy fat and added creaminess.
satisfaction factor – lots of flavor, different textures and a large serving size!
Here’s What You Need
tempeh – I love Lightlife tempeh. It’s organic, GMO-free and easy to find at mainstream stores. Remove from the package and slice into strips before coating in the seasoning and roasting. If you don’t need this salad to be vegan, blackened chicken would be a delicious protein substitute for the tempeh. Follow the instructions in my blackened chicken salad for how to prep the chicken.
blackened seasoning – you’ll coat the tempeh in a mixture of pure maple syrup, paprika, oregano leaves, cayenne pepper, avocado oil and sea salt.
romaine lettuce – the base of this salad! Romaine is a super mild green that pairs well with the rest of the ingredients but you can swap for any leafy green you have on hand if needed.
quinoa – add extra protein, flavor and healthy carbohydrates with cooked quinoa! Check out my full post on how to cook quinoa. Instead of quinoa, you can totally swap in another grain like farro or rice.
orange bell pepper – I love the subtle sweetness bell pepper adds to the salad. Any color bell pepper works!
red onion – add a little zest and crunch with sliced red onion!
avocado – add healthy fats and a little creaminess with sliced avocado.
tip!Prep the blackened tempeh, quinoa and dressing ahead of time for super quick assembly when you're ready to eat!
How to Make Blackened Tempeh
I love making blackened tempeh because it requires no marinating which I inevitably always forget to do in advance. Cut the tempeh into strips and toss with your blackenedseasoning: maple syrup, paprika, oregano, oil, cayenne pepper and sea salt. Blackening usually involves coating protein in a spice mixture and cooking in a cast-iron skillet, but I kept this recipe a bit more hands-off by roasting the spiced tempeh.
Next, spread coated tempeh in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet or a baking stone. The roasting process only takes about 20 minutes and the tempeh comes out of the oven warm and crisp — perfect for topping a romaine-based salad.
How to Prep This Salad
Start by making your citrus tahini dressing. Then bake your blackened tempeh. While the tempeh cooks, chop your lettuce and veggies. You’ll also want to cook your quinoa if you haven’t done so already.
Grab three plates or bowl and add romaine lettuce. Add the quinoa, onion, bell pepper, blackened tempeh and drizzle on the dressing.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss tempeh with maple syrup, paprika, oregano, oil, cayenne pepper and sea salt. Spread coated tempeh in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet or a baking stone. Add sheet to the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crunchy. Flip tempeh once around the 8 minute mark. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa if you haven't already. ⅓ cup dry quinoa cooked with ⅔ cup water will result in 1 cup of cooked quinoa. Once cooked, set aside and allow quinoa to cool.
Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients into a small bowl. Whisk together until smooth. Add a little water to thin the dressing if needed.
Prep salads by layering 1/3 of the romaine, quinoa, bell pepper, onion, avocado and blackened tempeh in three separate bowls. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and serve.
Tempeh: If you don’t need this salad to be vegan, blackened chicken would be a delicious protein substitute for the tempeh. Follow the instructions in my blackened chicken salad for how to prep the chicken.
Quinoa: You could swap the quinoa with another grain like farro or rice.