This is how you make a winner of a dinner salad on any given weeknight: bake a block of tempeh in a maple-tamari-Dijon glaze, toss in tender, convenient frozen green beans, and infuse the whole thing with fragrant orange slices. Toss some salad greens in a dead-simple tahini dressing, and you have a meal-sized green salad fit for bitterly cold winter days. While you're at it, feel free to make a double-batch of dressing to keep on hand for the rest of the week. It seriously comes in handy.
This salad is a particularly good argument for trying tempeh (or other unfamiliar foods) in context. Tempeh is famously earthy, deeply nutty, and apparently not for everyone. You can smother it in sauce to play down its distinct flavors (Frank's Red Hot, anyone?), but don't forget to try finding satisfaction in balancing those earthy characteristics with a gentler touch. You'll find the glazed tempeh here still tastes like tempeh, but the maple and other seasonings begin to smooth out the edges. A forkful of roasted veg and dressed greens—all gently scented with sweet orange—pair beautifully with the finished product.
Keep in mind that while baking the garnishes takes a bit of time, there's very little effort that goes into this lovely dish. You'll take your knife to a block of tempeh and an orange, but if you use frozen green beans and pre-washed salad mix, that's as tough as it gets. While the tempeh roasts, you'll whisk together the dressing and quickly toast some sesame seeds with plenty of time left to clean up. Then there's little left to do but open a bottle of wine, put your feet up, and wait for the timer to chime. Dress your greens, and dig in.
Roasted Tempeh, Green Bean, and Orange Salad with Tahini Dressing
1 medium-large orange, cut into 1/2-inch-thick half moons (discard ends)
2 handfuls frozen thin green beans
1 TBSP olive oil
a crack or two of black pepper, to taste
8 oz tempeh, cut into 1-inch dice
1 TBSP maple syrup (grade B preferred)
2 tsp reduced-sodium tamari
2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
1 TBSP sesame seeds
2 TBSP tahini
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP water
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
5 oz spring mix or tender lettuce
Heat oven to 400. Line a roasting dish with parchment.
Add orange, green beans, 1 TBSP oil, salt, and pepper to a mixing bowl. Toss to coat and transfer to prepared dish, leaving one-third of the space open for the tempeh.
Whisk together maple, tamari, and mustard. Add tempeh to the mixing bowl with half of the glaze. Toss to coat thoroughly and transfer to prepared dish. Roast 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, dry toast sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes, tossing frequently, until fragrant. Transfer to a plate to let cool.
In a bowl, whisk together tahini, 2 TBSP oil, lemon juice, water, salt, and garlic powder. Set aside. Add salad greens to a clean mixing bowl.
After the first 20 minutes, give the green beans and oranges a gentle toss, then toss the tempeh. Drizzle remaining glaze over tempeh and bake another 20 minutes.
When tempeh is done, toss salad greens with the dressing and divide between two serving dishes. Top each dish with half the tempeh and green bean-orange mix. Top each with half the toasted sesame seeds and serve.