Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

This is my new favorite salad. Or rice-and-vegetable-medley or side-salad-that’s-really-a-main-dish or whatever it should be called, I’m loving it.

If this doesn’t get you excited about eating your vegetables and brown rice and tempeh, nothing will.

It’s so good that you may choose tempeh over homemade Twinkies.

Well, you may. I may still have the Twinkies for dessert.

I used a pre-chopped vegetable mix, which saved time, but it would be the perfect recipe to clean out the odds and ends that are lingering in your vegetable drawer.

Or if you over-buy fresh produce or have a garden that’s exploding all of a sudden with fresh vegetables (zucchini comes to mind), toss any of it in here. There is not one vegetable that I can’t see working in here. Okay, maybe not habenero chiles but aside from those, I’d toss it in.

The oranges gave this dish some pop without dominating the flavor.

I used an ample amount of cumin, which is one dominant flavor in taco seasoning mix. If you like the way taco seasoning mix and tacos taste, this recipe is for you.

The recipe turned out to be a Trader Joe’s special. I didn’t set out for it to be that way, but I picked up the veggie mix and then realized that all the other items I chose to incorporate in the recipe were from TJ’s.

Gotta love a bargain vegan meal.

Let’s get cooking:

Sautee cubed tempeh in olive oil for a minute and toss into a bowl.

Warm the rice with a drizzle of olive oil and toss that into the bowl.

Sautee and season the veggies and toss them into the bowl.

Slice the oranges and toss them into the bowl.

Lots of bowl tossing and not much time passing.

About 10 minutes from start to finish.

Whisk up the marinade with orange juice, balsamic, and seasonings.

Pour it over everything that’s in the bowl and toss.

I first made this salad first using half packages of everything shown; half the package of rice, tempeh, and the veggie mix, thinking there’s no way we’d want more than 4 cups of this salad at once. But it was so good that a day later, I made it again.

Skylar kept saying, “Mommy I want more of that rice stuff.”  And I said, you know what honey, so do I.

So I made the other half of everything in the packages and stunk up my house a couple days in a row with the smell of sauteeing cabbage and broccoli. Delicious.

This is great served warm from the pan, but don’t fear that leftovers will be soggy or somehow not as good.

Ironically, I preferred the leftovers a day later, un-warmed and eaten from the little plastic food storage container I had stored it in in the refrigerator. Cool salads are great for summer and the marinade fully absorbed into the rice and the flavors married.

Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, GF if tempeh is used) - A healthy & hearty salad that'll keep you full & satisfied for hours. It's healthy-in-a-hurry & ready in under 15 minutes!

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Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad with Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette (vegan, gluten free if gluten-free tempeh is used)

These healthy, satisfying salad comes together quickly and easily in about 15 minutes. It's vegan and gluten-free as written, and it's easily adaptable based on the vegetables you have on hand and need to be used; fresh, frozen, or canned. Use any seasoning or spice blend you enjoy such curry, garlic, onion powder, 21 Salute, Mrs. Dash, etc. and add these to either the vegetables while cooking or to the vinaigrette. Use tofu, beans, chicken or tofu nuggest, pre-cooked chicken strips, meatballs, in place of or in addition to the tempeh. Try making marinade with lemon juice rather than orange juice and I’d add a bit of honey (or agave) for a lemon-honey vinaigrette.

Yield: About 4 cups; serves 2 very generously as an entree, or serves 4 as a side dish

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 5 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad

approximately 1/4 cup olive oil, divided into multiple uses

3/4 cup tempeh, diced in small cubes

1 1/2 cups pre-cooked brown rice

3 1/2 to 4 cups diced vegetable medley (red cabbage, green cabbage, broccoli, carrots, radishes, jicama, green bell peppers, celery)

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon cumin

generous sprinkling of salt and pepper, to taste

optional spices and seasonings (curry, garlic, onion powder, 21 Salute, Mrs. Dash, etc.)

1 orange, halved

Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette

juice from half of 1 orange, about 3 tablespoons

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste

1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste

1 teaspoon cumin, or to taste

pinch salt and pepper, to taste

pinch sugar, optional and to taste

Directions:

  1. Orange Ginger Tempeh and Brown Rice Salad - To a large non-stick skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the tempeh and sear it over medium-high heat, flipping as needed. Searing will take about 2 minutes. Add tempeh to a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. To the skillet (you don’t have to wash it), add 1 tablespoon olive oil and over medium-high heat warm the rice, stirring as needed. Warming will take about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the rice to the mixing bowl with the tempeh and set aside.
  4. To the skillet (you don’t have to wash it), add 2 tablespoons olive oil, add the vegetables, and sprinkle with ginger, cumin, salt and pepper, optional seasonings. Stir to evenly coat the vegetables. Cook over medium to medium high, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until softened but not mushy.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables to the mixing bowl with the rice and tempeh.
  6. Slice half the orange into bite-sized pieces and add to the mixing bowl.
  7. Orange Balsamic Vinaigrette - Over a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the orange halve. Add the remaining dressing ingredients and whisk to combine. ( I prefer more robustly seasoned food and if you don’t, scale back to 1/2 teaspoon each ginger and cumin. Alternately, add other or additional seasonings, to taste.)
  8. Pour dressing over the contents in the mixing bowl, tossing gently to combine. Serve immediately.

Related Recipes:

Roasted Grapes and Balsamic Reduction with Cheese and Crackers

Tempeh and Cucumbers on a Stick with Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip (vegan)

 Fig Butter & Cumin Tempeh Stir Fry (vegan)

Wild Rice-Stuffed Peppers (vegan, GF)

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry with Rice (vegan, GF) – I made this on Christmas Day in Aruba two and a half years ago…memories

Mango Balsamic Rice, Beans, & Mixed Vegetables (vegan, GF)

Caribbean Citrus and Pineapple Veggie Stir Fry (vegan, GF)

Apple Glazed Vegetables & Edamame Stir Fry (vegan, GF)

What are your favorite warm or cool salads, “side salads”, stir frys, or one-skillet meals?

I use the word salad loosely. Many people think of a salad as cold iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing, but I think anything that’s tossed with an ample amount of vegetables, eight to be exact in this recipe, constitutes a salad.

All the salads, stir frys, and sides shown above are some of mine, but I’d love to hear yours. Link it up.