It's time to get back on the vegetable train. Sometimes I get on these kicks where I just really want to make certain dishes. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint) last week the great majority of recipes I was itching to make had meat in them. For example beef noodle soup, a pear and pancetta tart, and a burger, among other things. I'm hoping that this colorful salad has set me back on track.
Also, happy 4th of July everyone! I realize that this recipe is not particularly patriotic, both in colors and in concept, so maybe you can make it for yourself after the hotdog and hamburger binge a lot of you will be going on today.
My favorite part about this salad is the dressing. The first time I discovered chipotle peppers in adobo sauce I was hooked. I have absolutely no recollection as to why I bought it, but I did for some reason or another. Since then it has made its way into salads, scrambled eggs, sandwiches, and spreads. It has a great smoky flavor and is really not that spicy for those of you who don't like heat. I recommend playing around with the leftovers.
I used tempeh in this recipe because I felt I was eating way too much meat lately, but it would be equally as delicious with shrimp, chicken, or steak. Just replace the protein and do the spice rub in the same way.
Serves 2 generously or 4 as an appetizer.
For the vinaigrette:
juice of 1 lime
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
2 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil
For the Salad:
8 oz tempeh, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 & 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels, from 2 ears of corn
2 tsp canola oil
1 large-ish head of romaine lettuce, chopped (yields about 6 cups)
1/2 head radicchio, shredded or chopped into thin slivers
1 cup canned black beans, drained, rinsed, and dried
1/4 red onion, finely diced
2 oz pepper jack cheese, cubed
1 avocado, halved and sliced thin
To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, agave nectar, salt, and olive oil. It doesn't have to be fully emulsified, slightly separated is okay.
Coat the tempeh in 2 tsp olive oil. Combine brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl. Place the tempeh on a plate in one layer. Sprinkle half of the spice rub on top in one even layer. Flip each piece of tempeh and sprinkle rest of the rub on top. In a stainless steel pan, heat up the remaining 1 tsp olive oil on medium heat. Place tempeh in the pan in one layer and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottoms have gotten a good sear and darkened in color. Flip each piece and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Transfer back to plate and let cool.
Rinse your pan, or get a clean one ready (I personally prefer to use the least amount of pots and pans possible), place it back on the stove and heat up on high. Add canola oil and heat until shimmering. Add corn kernels and cook, tossing frequently, for 4 minutes until some of the kernels start to brown slightly. Turn off heat and salt to taste, toss to incorporate, and let cool.
Combine romaine, radicchio, black beans, onions, pepper jack, and cooled corn in a large salad bowl. Drizzle chipotle lime vinaigrette on top, you'll most likely use all of it. Toss to combine. Divide salad evenly between plates. Top with tempeh and avocado, and enjoy.