Warm Fennel, Spinach, and Tempeh Salad
1 cup tamari or soy sauce (tamari for low sodium and gluten free)
8 ounce package of tempeh
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
juice from two oranges
juice from half a lemon
few drops of liquid smoke (or balsamic glaze works)
few drops of hot sauce
1 tablespoon cooking oil
drizzle of olive oil
two cloves of garlic
one red onion
half a fennel bulb
1 leek, green part only
2/3 cup dry couscous
1 cup water or vegetable broth
3 handfulls baby spinach
1/2 cup grape tomatoes chopped in half
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
dried tyme, salt and pepper to taste
1.) Cut tempeh into thin strips accross the width of the tempeh block (strips should be about 2 inches long)
2.) Mix tamari, maple syprup, juice from one of the oranges, juice from 1/4 of the lemon, few drops of liquid smoke (watch this stuff is potent!), few drops of hot sauce into a bowl and wisk.
3.) Marinate the tempeh strips from 1 hour to overnight. If you are short on time, steam the tempeh first before marinating. This will open up the pores and allow for quick marinating!
4.) When the tempeh is done marinating or while it is marinating, heat cooking oil in a large pan to medium. Mince garlic and dice onion. Saute garlic and onion until softened.
5.) Cut fennel bulb in half and remove tough core. Dice half of the fennel bulb. Add to garlic and onions and cook until onion is translucent and fennel is soft. Roughly cut the leeks and add them to the onion and fennel.
6.)While the onion and fennel mixture is cooking get out a smaller pan. Heat pan on medium to medium low. When it is warm, add tempeh strips. Do this in rounds if need be. The strips need to be laid flat in pan so that one side at a time cooks evenly. There is no need to use oil as long as your pan isn't too hot. If they begin to stick turn heat down. When one side is browned turn tempeh over. The maple syrup should cause you to get a nice brown coating on the tempeh. Do this until all the tempeh is cooked.
7.) While you are dealing with the tempeh. You can begin to boil your cup of water or vegetable broth in a covered sauce pan. When the water is boiling add 2/3 cup of dried couscous, gently stir with a fork and remove from heat. This only takes about five minutes to cook. When it is nice and fluffy and has absorbed all the water it is done!
8.) Put spinach in a large bowl and cover in the couscous. Toss with a little bit of olive oil and allow the spinach to wilt a bit.
9.) Next add the onion, fennel, and leek mixture followed by the tempeh strips. Toss with about a forth of a cup of the remaining marinate liquid (careful because the tamari is very strong), juice from one orange, and juice from 1/4 lemon. Drizzle with balsamic glaze. Toss until ingredients are coated evenly. Toss again with tomatoes, nuts, tyme, salt, and pepper.
9.) Drizzle a little bit of balsamic glaze on top. Garnize with fresh orange wedges if desired.
p.s. You could make many variations to this salad. Feel free to comment below with your changes!