Zesty Spinach Salad with Peanut Baked Tempeh


This salad has it all: a green leafy base, colorful veggies, and out-of-this-world crispy baked tempeh. It is SO easy and you can prep the tempeh ahead of time for a quick weekday meal.

The trick is in the marinade. The marinade for the tempeh BECOMES the base of the dressing for the salad. Mind. Blown. That’s also the beauty of plant-based eating - no cross contamination!


Ingredients for salad:

  • 4 large handfuls baby spinach

  • 1 large carrot, cut into ribbons

  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage

  • 2-3 tablespoons green onions, chopped (optional)

Ingredients for peanut tempeh and marinade, turned dressing:

  • 1 8oz package of tempeh (I use Lightlife brand original organic tempeh), you will only use 1/2 of total tempeh for salad, save other half for leftovers

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 pinch teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1 heaping tablespoon creamy salted peanut butter

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari

  • juice of 1/2 lime

  • 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar


  1. Simmer the tempeh in a deep fry pan filled with 2 inches of water for 8 minutes on each side. Set the tempeh aside and let cool. Once cooled, cut the tempeh down the middle, length-wise and then cut into medium-sized triangles. Set the tempeh aside.

  2. In a large storage container, mix marinade by adding the chili flakes, sesame oil, peanut butter, lime juice and maple syrup. Whisk or blend with a fork until all the ingredients are combined. Taste for flavor and adjust as needed. Add the tempeh to the marinade and stir well, making sure each tempeh piece is completely covered in marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 24-48 hours, mixing up the tempeh for evenness about halfway through.

  3. Once the tempeh has marinated for at least 24 hours it’s ready to bake. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the tempeh pieces on the parchment-lined sheet and space them out as evenly as possible. Set aside the leftover marinade. Drizzle the tempeh with a bit more soy sauce or tamari right before putting them in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until caramelized and deep brown.

  4. While the tempeh is baking, cut your carrots into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. Combine the baby spinach, shredded red cabbage and carrots into large salad bowl or mixing bowl. To make your marinade, add 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar to the leftover marinade and stir to combine. Use a rubber spatula to scrape as much as the marinade as you can from the sides of the container for your dressing. if there isn’t enough, add more peanut butter and sesame oil, just a teaspoon at a time. Taste for flavor. Add more rice vinegar or soy sauce to taste. Add 2-4 tablespoons of dressing, one tablespoon at a time until evenly coated.

  5. Arrange the salad onto a plate or bowl. Once the tempeh is done, arrange 4 ounces (about 6 pieces of tempeh to top. Top your salad with optional green onions and roasted peanuts. Enjoy!


Makes 2 full entree salad servings | Nutrition facts (estimated):

415 kcal | 28.5g fat | 50g carb | 28.25g protein | 14g fiber