If you are making the switch to a plant-based diet and miss rich, creamy chicken salad, give this a try. This version is quite luxurious due to the rich, creamy dressing, the addition of grapes and toasted pecans and the additional sweetness that comes from maple syrup. This is a dish you may even want to make for your favorite carnivore. I made a batch when my Mom came to visit and she couldn’t stop eating it – she even got up and ate some for breakfast! Feel free to use different fruits instead of grapes. Sometimes I use a mix of fuji and granny smith apples; sometimes apples and grapes together.
- For tempeh
- 1 (12-ounce) package soy tempeh, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 2 cups Imagine Foods brand No-Chicken Broth or vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
- For dressing
- 1 (12.3-ounce) box organic firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu brand)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- For salad
- ¾ cup seedless red grapes, cut in half
- ¾ cup seedless green grapes, cut in half
- 1 rib of celery, chopped
- ½ cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped* See Note
- Fine sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 (5 ounce box) mixed field greens, spinach, arugula or a combination for serving
- Cook tempeh: Place tempeh in shallow pan with enough broth to cover. Add poultry seasoning, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and allow tempeh to cool.
- Make dressing: Place silken tofu, maple syrup, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, sea salt and cinnamon in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Assemble salad: In large bowl, combine tempeh, grapes and pecans. Toss with about half of the dressing, taste and adjust seasoning, adding a bit of fine sea salt and pepper as desired. Use just as much dressing as you like and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Note: Recipe makes enough dressing for two batches. Dressing also makes a delicious cole slaw.)
- Serve on a bed of greens drizzled with a bit of extra dressing, if desired. Alternatively, serve in a sandwich (whole wheat pita is great) with lettuce or spring mix.
- Note: To toast pecans, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet for 8 minutes and toast until fragrant. Watch carefully as nuts can burn quickly.
Nutrition Facts: In comparing chicken to tempeh, we find that chicken contains cholesterol and saturated fat along with mutagenic toxins[i] and arsenic, raising our risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and more. Tempeh, however, is free of all these harmful compounds[ii] and also contains fiber and isoflavones, a group of phytoestrogens which is protective against cancer and helps to reduce risk, while also increasing survival in those already diagnosed with breast cancer[iii].
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2009. © All Rights Reserved. www.emilyhoneycutt.com
[i] Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K, Nakagama H, Nagao M. Heterocyclic amines: Mutagens/carcinogens produced during cooking of meat and fish. Cancer Sci. 2004 Apr;95(4):290-9.
[ii] Thiébaud HP, Knize MG, Kuzmicky PA, Hsieh DP, Felton JS. Airborne mutagens produced by frying beef, pork and a soy-based food. Food Chem Toxicol. 1995 Oct;33(10):821-8.
[iii] Shu XO, Zheng Y, Cai H, Gu K, Chen Z, Zheng W, Lu W. Soy Food Intake and Breast Cancer Survival. JAMA. 2009 Dec 9;302(22):2437-43.