Curried Pineapple Salad with Tempeh

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Ah, chia seeds. They never fail to elicit a reaction. Glad you guys are excited about Heathy’s pudding.

I’ve spent a fair bit of time at the Whole Foods salad bar in the last few weeks, sometimes out of necessity (lunches with friends or other publishing folk) and sometimes out of laziness (or rather, a failure to pack lunch). And then came the Summit, and two large salad beasts in as many days. One dish I’ve noticed at both the NYC and the Chicago WF’s is curried pineapple, cashew, and tempeh salad with quinoa. If I’m not mistaken, this is a whole lot like the pineapple-cashew-quinoa stirfry from Vegonomicon.

If you don’t have that cookbook, or you haven’t tried that dish, I suggest you remedy both oversights immediately. If you want to a dish that resembles Isa’s original—a flavorful medley of cashews, quinoa, pineapple, and curry—go to Whole Foods, and try their curried pineapple, quinoa, and tempeh salad. And if you like the sound of that dish, but you wish it were just a little more RAW, well then, you can try out the salad below.

See, I tasted the Whole Foods salad a week or two ago, and I was very impressed. But the raw veggie fiend in me couldn’t help but wish that it were more about the raw veggies, and less about the quinoa. (Not that I don’t love quinoa. I think we know that I do.) I wondered whether or not I might steal the trio of curry, pineapple, and tempeh, but turn them into a dinner salad, rather than a pilaf.

Mission. Accomplished. This killed two birds with one stone fed two birds with one scone (thanks, Mama Pea and Bitt!): 1) I created yet another fruity salad dressing and 2) I did justice to the Whole Foods dish while all the while upping the veggie factor at least threefold. I love it when recipe development is this easy.

I don’t much like pineapple, so at first I questioned whether or not to include it as an ingredient at all. But I couldn’t deny that the pineapple chunks had added a nice flavor to the WF dish. Rather than chopping up fruit and throwing it in the salad, I figured I’d make a pineapple dressing for my veggies: pineapple flavor, but not too much of it. As it turns out, this is one of my favorite new dressings, and an added bonus is that I got to use some of the lovely Spice House curry powder that I got in my HLS swag bag.

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The salad itself, while perfect for this dressing, is a fresh and healthy mix that would work with any old vinaigrette (it would be especially fun with my spicy Thai dressing!).

Curried Pineapple Salad with Tempeh (salad serves 1; dressing yields 2 cups)

For the dressing:

2 cups pineapple, chopped
5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp nama shoyu
2 tsp curry
1/4 cup cilantro

Blend all ingredients in a blender till smooth.

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For the salad:

1 cup watercress
1 cup baby arugula
1 grated carrot
1/2 cup grated red cabbage
small handful pea shoots, chopped
4 oz baked tempeh (instructions below)
1 tbsp almond slivers

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Take 4 oz of raw, cubed tempeh, and toss it in 1 tbsp nama shoyu mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp agave. Place tempeh in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, till cooked through.

2) Mix all salad ingredients, including hot tempeh, together. Dress with a few tablespoons of pineapple curry dressing, and serve.

See how full of green this salad is? Far more interesting than a uniformly beige sea of quinoa and tempeh:

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This is a great example of a high-raw dinner: more focused on raw veggies than a typical dinner entree might be, but featuring one warm ingredient. If you’d like to make it all raw, you could simply add more almonds to the dish for density, or you could try crumbling a Larabar on top of the dressed salad. That sounds pretty amazing to me, and I think I’m going to try it out in the next few days! I always enjoy the challenge of taking an almost all cooked meal and making it just a little more raw. It’s an easy way to get more of the crispy fruits and veggies I love into my diet, and also to impose some creativity on my kitchen routines.

Before I go, a survey: who’s already tried my dehydrator-free energy bars, and found that they turn into crumbly granola, rather than bars? A lot of you, I know, from recent feedback. Has anyone tried them and had the same results (solid bars) that I did? I’m polling because I want to tweak the recipe this weekend so that it holds together better, but before I do that I want to get a sense of the your home results. (Note that, if you added more fruit to the recipe, it definitely will fall apart, so your results probably aren’t representative if you did.) Lemme know, so that I can adjust things!

Have a restful evening, bloggies.


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Categories: Gluten Free, Raw

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  1. I recently got vegan pad thai where they added in pineapple … omg takes it over the top! I agree with you very much on the conceot of combining raw veg with some cooked/warm food – and I think I need to go buy a pineapple now.

  2. Feed two birds with one scone. That. Is cute. Heh.

    I’m into your recipe because I’m with you on not necessarily wanting big pineapple pieces in my dinner. I actually do love pineapple, but only when it’s fresh and plain. I’ve never really had a good experience with it mixed into meals, or even just with granola and yogurt! I think the blending is a great idea. I’ll stop by to steal your leftovers later. 😀

  3. tempeh is amazing! I’ve never enjoyed the taste, texture or time that tofu requires, but tempeh now there’s a vegetarian protein worth commending!

  4. Mmm I love adding pineapple to curry dishes, so I bet this salad is delicious! The almond slivers are an excellent addition too–I can’t get enough crunch in my salads:)

  5. I had tempeh last night too. Not usually my favorite but I was really in the mood, and it hit the spot.

    I made your bars and measured everything exactly. I don’t have a dehydrator so I toasted the buckwheat groats in the oven at 250. I thought they came out great but that may have made a difference. My bars did not set well in the fridge, so I put them in the freezer and was able to cut solid bars from there, though they still crumble if they stay at room temperature for too long. I let a couple crumble and they do make wonderful grawnola!

  6. I love cashews, curry AND pineapple, so, clearly, I need to try this! Thanks for sharing.
    Reason #3905458 for why we should have more than 6 Whole Foods locations in Canada!

  7. That looks seriously delicious. I’m always in awe of your ability to make flavorful, easy dressings out of whole foods. Thank you for the push to try this combination!

  8. I am intrigued as a pineapple and curry lover. I will let you know if it’s made. I haven’t made the bars yet, I will hold off until it’s been tweaked by all of you. 😉

    I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t implore you to veganize your language as you do your food, and instead of saying “Kill two birds with one stone.”, maybe try the animal-friendly alternative “Feed two birds with one seed” or “peel two carrots with one knife”, or something of that sort. Thanks!

  9. Funny you should ask, I just had one of your bars (made them last night) and crumble crumble crumble. I ate it with a spoon and enjoyed it though 🙂

  10. LOVE that idiom, Mama Pea! So great.

    I love this dish and I love your interpretation even more. Such a great idea to use pineapple in the dressing and I am for sure trying out a larabar crumbled over my salad!

    I did try your bars and they have become granola. I added an extra 1/2 cup of mulberries, used 6 tbsp maple syrup and used sesame seeds instead of pumpkin so I know I altered it quite a bit. I cut it after an hour, but it just crumbled so into the dehydrator it went. I did try to freeze a ball of it and it came out pretty good but still crumbly. Regardless, it is delicious, but I would like it in bar form. It’s too good to not be because I probably eat 2 bars worth at a time. 🙂

  11. Would you believe I just got Veganomicon a few weeks ago? I haven’t really ventured into it too much, but I love your version of this salad!

    A little vegan friendly idiom to replace “killing two birds with one stone”:

    “Feeding two birds with one scone!”

    *a reader once suggested this to me and I LOVE it!

  12. I love pineapple! In fact, it’s one of those fruits that I can eat on pizza (well, 10 years ago when I used to eat pizza:)) in smoothies, in drinks (my once a year pina colada), frozen on it’s own, fresh, as a salad ingredient…I love the stuff!

    Great job on this one!

    And I am the only Vegan on doesnt have V’Con…why? Well b/c i have a boatload of other cookbooks I have never cracked open (time issues, not desire) and also b/c I fear that many vegan cookbooks for me, are too COOKED and too GLUTEN oriented….but if you give high praise to VCon, then I should get it. There’s another book everyone loves, I wont mention the title, but it just doesnt speak to me. I will say, the books that always speak to me are Ani, Sarma, Matthew. For different reasons but anyway, will pick up VCon.


  13. I’ve found I really like the idea of high raw, or even…. a little bit raw. The other day for lunch I had massaged kale salad and two eggs. Obviously, eggs aren’t even vegan, but the addition of the raw kale made me feel great!

  14. Looks amazing! I love curry 🙂

    I have heard that tempeh should be steamed before cooking. Have you ever heard this?

    • I have heard it, Matt, and I suspect that it’s to help break down enzyme inhibitors from the soybeans (though I’m truly not sure). I never do it, so I wouldn’t suggest you feel obligated!

  15. Gena, I made your energy bars today (used oven toasted buckwheat rather than the dehydrator version) and they turned out to be sticky granola rather than cohesive bars. They are delicious though! 🙂

  16. Pineapple and curry are a surprising and yet fantastic combination. The funny thing is that Indians rarely use pineapple in anything…we utilize mango so much more.

    Thanks for the great recipe. Can’t wait to try it.

  17. Ahhhh, I LOVE the Spice House!! It was one of my favorite places to go in Chicago when I lived close.

    This looks awesome– I’ve cooked the Veganomicon original, and I LOVE the idea of a raw version!

  18. Oh my this looks delicious – the Veganomicon recipe is a favorite of mine – I usually eat the quinoa stir-fry mixture atop greens in fact – but I need to try this approach too.