This 35g Protein Crunch Salad with Tempeh doubles as a warm grain bowl. It is delicious both warm and chilled. Meal prep this recipe in mason jars for low-carb grab-and-go lunches. Or heat them for dinner if you are in the mood for a warm meal. This crunch salad is also rich in fiber, iron, heart-healthy fats, and other essential nutrients.
(This blog post is sponsored by Lightlife.)
Crispy baked tempeh croutons with a creamy peanut dressing transform this Crunch Salad into a tasty and complete meal. It's a healthy low-carb recipe that actually tastes good!
Plus, this low-carb crunch salad is gluten-free and easy to prepare. It's colorful and attractive, making it perfect for potlucks, picnics, and barbecues.
- I used LightLife Original Tempeh (sponsored) to make high-protein tempeh croutons for this Crunch Salad with Tempeh. It has twice as much protein as tofu, and six times as much fiber. Plus, it is made with just three simple ingredients (organic soybeans, water, and organic brown rice), and without any fillers or processed ingredients. It’s a fermented food, which means it’s great for gut health. With only 160 calories and a whopping 18 grams of protein per serving, LightLife powers you up and never weighs you down!
- Quinoa is a protein-rich, high-fiber seed. It's naturally gluten-free and cooks in just 15 minutes. The fluffy texture complements the other ingredients perfectly.
- Frozen shelled edamame are a quick way to add protein and heart-healthy fats to a dish with minimal effort. Simply thaw them under running warm water before using them.
- Red cabbage and carrots add crunch, fiber, and antioxidants to this low-carb Crunch Salad. Fiber helps us feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing overall calorie intake. Both carrots and red cabbage are low-calorie vegetables that can be a valuable addition to weight management. In addition, red cabbage contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, such as anthocyanins and sulforaphane. Carrots are particularly high in vitamin A, providing beta-carotene, which is essential for healthy vision, and immune function.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Fresh herbs - chopped cilantro, parsley, and mint are great flavor additions to this Crunch Salad
- Quinoa - Substitute with farro, couscous, barley, or a different grain of your choice. Or omit it entirely for a grain-free salad.
- Edamame - edamame can be replaced with sliced sugar snap peas or snow peas
- Peanut butter - use almond, or cashew butter, or choose SunButter for nut-free
- Red cabbage and carrots - use raw green cabbage, sliced bell peppers, or beets instead
For more protein-packed salad jar ideas, visit my Vegan Salad Recipes page.
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the packet. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Step 1. Cut the tempeh into ½-inch cubes.
Step 2. Transfer the cubes to a large rimmed nonstick baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt. Bake the tempeh for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Step 3. Transfer the peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ginger, and lime juice to a medium jar or bowl. Whisk well until fully incorporated.
Step 4. Make low-carb Crunch Salad jars (optional): Place 4 (24-ounce) Mason jars in a row. Divide the dressing evenly between the 4 jars. Then add red cabbage, carrot ribbons, edamame, green onion, cilantro, and chopped peanuts to each jar. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
For serving: Or skip the jars entirely and transfer the ingredients, and dressing to a large bowl and mix to combine.
💡 Expert Tips
- Tempeh: Use either 12 ounces (one and one-half packets) tempeh, or up to 2 (8-ounce) packets, depending on how much tempeh you would like in the salad. Simmer the block of tempeh for 5 minutes before using if you find the flavor of tempeh too strong.
- Tempeh croutons: Place the tempeh cubes in an even layer on the baking sheet so they cook evenly and get crispy. The smaller the pieces, the more quickly they will cook. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Add a variety of spices to the tempeh as desired, such as paprika, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, chili powder, and onion powder.
- The ribbon carrots are an elegant touch and quick to make. However, feel free to grate the carrots instead.
- Storage: Refrigerate any remaining Crunch Salad with Tempeh in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For a warm grain bowl, simply heat it in the microwave or on a stovetop.
🙋🏽♀️ Recipe FAQs
Refrigerate unopened tempeh and use it before the 'best by' date. Once opened, use or freeze tempeh within 3 to 5 days of opening. Unopened tempeh can be frozen in the original packaging for up to one year if the product is put in the freezer before the 'best by' date. Quality over time will be diminished, especially if they are frozen close to the 'best by' date. If the tempeh has already been opened, then you can freeze it by wrapping it tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, or in a freezer-safe airtight container.
This optional step helps to bring out the natural nuttiness of tempeh while dialing down the stronger flavors. Cover the block of tempeh in water, and either simmer it in boiling water for 5 minutes, or microwave it for 5 minutes.
Tempeh is considered a probiotic food since it contains live microorganisms, primarily beneficial bacteria, resulting from the fermentation process. These probiotics can contribute to gut health.
Tempeh has a chunky texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Because it is a fermented protein, tempeh is loaded with umami, which gives it a savory meatiness. Plain, it contains no salt, so it is often marinated to enhance the flavor.
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Crunch Salad with Tempeh
- 16 ounces LightLife Organic Original Tempeh (2 packets) cut into ½-inch cubes*
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Dash of garlic powder
- Salt to taste
- ⅔ cup dry quinoa or 2 cups cooked
For the peanut dressing:
- ⅓ cup smooth peanut butter or almond, or cashew butter, or SunButter for nut-free
- ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce (preferably low sodium)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 lime juice
Other salad ingredients:
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 2 medium-large carrots ribboned using a vegetable peeler (or grated on the largest holes of a box grater)
- 1 cup frozen shelled edamame thawed (or 1 cup sliced sugar snappeas, or snow peas)
- 1 bunch green onion thinly sliced (green and light green parts) (about 1 cup)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro or parsley (optional)
- ½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Optional: Simmer the blocks of tempeh in a saucepan or microwave in water to cover for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. This helps to bring out the natural nuttiness of tempeh while dialing down the stronger flavors.
- Bake the tempeh: Transfer the tempeh cubes to a large rimmed nonstick baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, and salt. Bake the tempeh for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the packet. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
- Make the dressing: Transfer the peanut butter, tamari, maple syrup, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, ginger, and lime juice to a medium jar or bowl. Whisk well until fully incorporated.
- Make jars (optional): Place 4 (24-ounce) Mason jars in a row. Divide the dressing evenly between the 4 jars, and then the carrot ribbons. Add ½ cup red cabbage, ¼ cup edamame, ¼ cup green onion, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (if using). Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
- For serving:Jars: Invert the jar and shake it over a medium bowl. Mix to combine. Skip the jars and combine the salad and dressing in a large bowl instead. Mix well to combine.
- Tempeh: Use 12 ounces (one and one-half packets) tempeh, or up to 2 (8-ounce) packets, depending on how much tempeh you would like in the salad. Simmer the tempeh for 5 minutes before using if you find the flavor of tempeh too strong.
- Tempeh croutons: Place the tempeh cubes in an even layer on the baking sheet so they cook evenly. The smaller the pieces, the more quickly they get crispy. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Add more spices to the tempeh as desired, such as paprika, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, chili powder, and onion powder.
- Storage: Refrigerate any remaining Crunch Salad in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For a warm grain bowl, simply heat it in the microwave or on a stovetop.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an ESTIMATE only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased can change the nutritional information in any given recipe.