Asian Sweet Orange Ginger Salad

There is a lot going on in this salad. And that’s why I love it! The crispy vegetables, crunchy cashews, chewy grilled tempeh and sweet, spicy orange ginger dressing. All of my favorite Asian flavors, wrapped up into one super satisfying salad.

There is, of course, a story that goes along with this salad. I was wandering around the market one Saturday, and decided I wanted- no needed something with an orange-ginger sauce. So I grabbed a bag of organic oranges, a hunk of ginger root and started filling my basket with Asian-type vegetables- snow peas, green onion, carrots, peppers. It wasn’t long before I decided on a huge salad as a vehicle for the masterpiece I would create.

I’ve been testing recipes nonstop, so on Monday when I decided to make the salad, I had planned on making him another recipe when I made my salad. Halfway through cooking his dish, I tasted the dressing for my salad. It was everything I had dreamed of, and more! I immediately stopped making his dish and decided he was having salad for dinner, too. Now, he is a vegetarian, but he’s also a typical guy- I put the salad in front of him and it only took one look for me to quickly add “It’s really good, I promise! And there’s tons of vegetables, I made extra tempeh- and there’s cashews! Do you want more cashews? It will be filling, I swear!” I frantically chopped more cashews and threw them on top of his salad.

I sat down next to him and we crunched and munched our way through the salad, in silence. I glanced over at him a couple times to see his reaction. He was eating it- he was halfway through it. He was enjoying it? I think? “This is really good, honey,”. Phew! I finished mine before him, but I was quick to mention there was extra, if he wanted. “No, I’m good- it was really good!” he insisted. Did I really get him to eat a meal-salad, and like it? Guess so. I think you will, too!

Asian-inspired salad with sweet orange ginger dressing and grilled tempeh
Serves 4

Sweet orange ginger dressing:
(Makes about 1/2 cup dressing)

1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2” ginger, grated
2 tbsp honey
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp sea salt (more, tt)
1 tsp arrowroot powder

1. In a small saucepan, bring orange juice, ginger, honey and spices to a simmer. Stir until honey is melted. Let simmer on low heat until reduced to half. Whisk in arrowroot and let simmer another 2-3 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

2. Once cooled, strain through a nut milk bag, cheese cloth or fine-mesh strainer. Store in fridge until use.

Asian-inspired salad:

1 large head romaine, chopped
1 cup snow peas, sliced in half or thirds
1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper (or two halves of two types for color)
2 large carrots, grated
4 green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup cashews, chopped
1 block tempeh (see below)
Sweet orange ginger dressing, as needed.

1. Toss all vegetables with desired amount of dressing in a large bowl. Reserve 2 tbsp of cashews for sprinkling.
2. Top with grilled tempeh, an extra drizzle of dressing and a sprinkle of cashews.

Grilled tempeh:

Slice tempeh into eight equal triangles (slice in half on a diagonal, repeat with each half and filet quarters). Brush with a generous amount of toasted sesame oil. On an indoor or outdoor grill, cook tempeh on high until slightly charred. Remove and serve warm on top of salad.

What makes a salad a meal for you? I love my hugh jass salads, but I need a bunch of protein and a whack of healthy fats to make it a meal, for me!