Seared Sunflower Tempeh Salad with Ginger-Miso Dressing


I am NOT a salad person. Call me crazy, but I would much rather sit down with a bowl of broccoli than a bowl of leaves any day.

Sadly, salads are the easiest and quickest way to get in a bunch of greens during the day, especially when there isn’t much time to prepare meals. Grab a big bowl, pile in the lettuce, throw on some protein, nuts, then add some dressing or whip up some olive oil and balsamic. Bonus points for fresh herbs.

But no more. I am revolting! No more basic salads. #sobasic #overit

From this point on, if I’m going to eat a salad, I want it to be special. Salads need attention too! Truly, if I can make things like a Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte with Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows or Cocoberry Vodka Pops, I can surely make a salad that is exciting.

After all, the whole point of this paleo thing is to eat more nutrient dense foods, and greens are right up there on the top of that list. We should all eat more of them…or just more veggies in general. The other week, I made it a priority to have veggies be the basic of every one of my meals, and I felt so much healthier, my skin was clearer, and I had WAY more energy.

This salad is my second “special” salad (see the Better Than Pizza Salad here), and it uses both Miso and Tempeh. But before I go any farther, sit down. We need to talk.

About soy.

Soy is normally excluded from a paleo/primal diet. The reasons it is are good ones; most soybeans come from GMO crops, making it very hard to find organically raised beans. Soy is also estrogenic, meaning that too much of it can cause your body to create more estrogen. This is the reason why those with breast or ovarian cancer can’t eat soy, and also the reason why soy based products now aren’t recommended in excess. Soy products are also known to fuel flare-ups of certain autoimmune disorders. Remember when soy was THE health food? Soy ice cream, soymilk, soy crackers, soy, soy soy. Well, no longer: soy should be consumed in moderation, if at all.


Personally, I still make a choice to limit my soy intake, especially when I cannot ensure that it comes from non-GMO crops. However, I will sometimes eat Tempeh or Miso, which are both types of soy products, and both are used in this salad. There is one key difference with Tempeh and Miso than other soy products: these are both fermented.

Tempeh is essentially a loaf of fermented soy beans, which means that not only does the fermentation bring about diversified vitamins and nutrients, but that the whole bean in still intact resulting in minimal processing. Miso is also fermented, though traditionally with fungus, to make a paste, resulting in a much different flavor that its loaf-y counterpart. Because of their fermentation, I am comfortable eating these products in moderation, as long as I know they come from quality, reputable sources.

When choosing whether or not to eat soy products, definitely do some research….and then if you decide to, make this salad. Its delicious!

Some cook’s notes:

  • The dressing can me made in advance, and stored for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Just make sure you stir well before using; it will separate.
  • I used red miso to make the dressing, but other types of miso will probably work just as well.

seared sunflower tempeh salad with ginger-miso dressing

Makes 4 large salads

For the salad:

  • 1 head romaine, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups sunflower sprouts 
  • 2 cups red cabbage, diced
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 3 finely chopped green onions

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp. honey 
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. minced ginger 
  • 6 tbsp. sesame oil 
  • 3 tsp. limejuice 
  • 4 tbsp. miso 
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 

For the tempeh:

  • 8 oz. Tempeh, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 tap Minced garlic 
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger 
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  1. Assemble salad by combing romaine, sprouts, seeds, cabbage, and green onions in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Assemble salad dressing by mixing honey, apple cider vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, limejuice, and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Whisk in the miso one tbsp. at a time until a thick salad dressing has formed. Set aside.
  3. In a frying pan, heat olive oil and sesame oil until glistening. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute, then add strips of tempeh.
  4. Cook tempeh for about 4 minutes per side, until golden and crispy.
  5. Once tempeh is done cooking, add on top of salads while still hot, and drizzles with dressing.