Like many of you, I am all about sugar, flour, and fat this time of year. I haven’t counted a calorie since I got married in September, and I’ve been avoiding my scale like the plague. As I once heard, festive calories don’t count!
But we all still need a beautiful, impressive salad to add to the holiday table and accompany our more indulgent dishes. I’ve been on a mission to create the perfect salad for this purpose to share with you all.
This salad takes a bit of prep but is well worth the time, especially on special occasions. You will love it because it has some of the best flavors of the season: juicy roasted cranberries, sweet and starchy sweet potatoes, smoky and salty tempeh, and crisp kale coated in just enough maple tahini dressing. I top it with hemp seeds and chopped pistachios for a bit of crunch.
Best of all, the flavors here will meld with almost any holiday spread effortlessly.
What is everyone serving for Christmas this year? I am thinking maybe this beautiful Thanksgiving Roast from hotforfood. I’d accompany it with some vegan “cheddar” biscuits, roasted potatoes, and this salad. I’ve also toyed with the idea of Italian for Christmas as was traditional in my home, since my mother is Italian. There is something vaguely Christmas-y to me about eggplant parmesan, although I know I’m probably an outlier!
Regardless, I hope you’ll join me in adding a few vegan dishes to your table this holiday season, or even go all-out with an exclusively plant-based feast! I can think of no better season to share my love of this lifestyle with friends and family. And in the spirit of the season, kind and compassionate eating just feels right.
Comment below on what you’re making this year, I’d love to hear from you!
- 4 tbsp and 1 tsp tahini
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 and ½ tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp water
- Salt and pepper
- 1 block tempeh, cut into small cubes or triangles
- ⅓ cup soy sauce or tamari (gluten free)
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 14 oz. sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or use coconut oil spray)
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- ⅓ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 2 medium bunches destemmed lacinato/dinosaur kale, shredded (about 8 cups)
- ⅓ cup shelled pistachios, chopped
- hemp seeds, for sprinkling
- Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
- Prep and marinate the tempeh. Whisk together soy sauce or tamari, liquid smoke, balsamic vinegar and onion powder in a shallow bowl. Add the tempeh and cover with sauce; let sit to marinate.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Placed cubed sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with coconut oil or mix in liquid coconut oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.
- In a baking dish, mix cranberries and coconut sugar. After the potatoes have been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the pan of cranberries to the oven (keep the sweet potatoes in there too). Bake for another 15 minutes, then remove potatoes and cranberries from the oven, allowing time to cool.
- Cook the tempeh. I did mine in my airfryer for 6 minutes on 325 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you don’t have an airfryer, simply brown the tempeh in a non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray. 3-5 minutes on each side over medium heat should do it.
- Massage the dressing into the kale. Add the potatoes, cranberries and tempeh and mix. Transfer to serving bowls and top with hemp seeds and chopped pistachios. Enjoy!