Reubenesque Tempeh Salad

October 1, 2014

This reubenesque tempeh salad is vegan and gluten-free and absolutely delicious. It tastes like a reuben sandwich in a bowl. Don’t miss it.

This reubenesque tempeh salad is vegan and gluten-free and absolutely delicious. It tastes like a reuben sandwich in a bowl. Don’t miss it.

This incredible vegan tempeh salad comes from the Salad Samurai cookbook from Terry Hope.

This salad is so amazing! It’s like a gourmet sandwich in a bowl. You’ve got the the tempeh reuben loaded with sauerkraut and tangy dressing, and the sweet ‘n’ smoky tempeh pieces, with the tang of the apple, lemon, and cultured veggies. This is Terry’s favorite salad in the book and I can see why! It is out-of-this-world delicious and loaded with probiotics and protein. I could have just licked the salad dressing out of the blender container. It’s creamy, savory, and sweet, like a Thousand Island dressing, and you can drizzle it over veggies or eat as a dip. This dressing is going to be a staple in our house now.

If you love salads like I do, you’re going to love this book. if you’re looking for some really different, delicious, and super-healthy salads to spice up your repertoire, this book is going to rock your world! I love, love, love this book! From the moment I read the subtitle: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-To-Make Salads You Don’t Have To Be Vegan To Love, and then flipped to the introduction: A New Salad Manifesto (Or, Stop Making Salads That Suck) I knew I was going to have fun!

This really is a salad-making bible. There are all kinds of time-saving tips for how to make prep easier, resources for produce, spices, environmental packaging, and other staples. There’s a great section on packing salads to go – layered-style, salad in a jar, or bento boxed; a great cheat sheet for pressing tofu, and equipment and ingredient glossary, and a icon set denoting gluten-free and raw recipes, notes (the spin), and “samurai stylings” suggestions for variations. This book is bursting with personality.

The recipe section opens with the all-important, multi-purpose, multi-layerable dressings! And boy, are they gooood! The ranch dressing is so versatile and delicious with tons of options to keep things interesting. It’s also used as the base for the dressing in the Reubenesque Salad. I also enjoyed the Green Curry Dressing. But, there are so many delicious recipes. We made our way through them last week and were in taste-bud bliss!

After the dressings, Terry offers up some really simple side salads that are great staples, and then shares some great homemade salad toppings such as 5-Spice Tamari Almonds, Sriracha & Smoke Pecans, Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan, Curried Cashew Pepita Crunch, Croutons, Lemongrass Tofu, Tempeh Bacon Bites, and Coconut Bacony Bits.

Then we dive into the salads…..oh….the salads! I seriously felt like a hack salad spinning through this book. Terry’s flavors are so vibrant and punchy, and take you on a textural journey as well. The salads are broken up into seasons, and there really is something to satisfy every palate. I am continue to make my way through this book until I have made every gluten-free salad in the collection.

But, just to wet your appetite, here are some highlights: Grilled Kale Salad with Spicy Lentils, Asparagus Pad Thai Salad, Fresh Fig & Tempeh Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing, Coconut Samosa Potato Salad, Grilled Miso Apples & Brussels Sprouts Salad, and Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘n’ Greens Salad.

Don’t miss making this tempeh salad! It’s incredible.

Run to get your copy of Salad Samurai, and learn more about Terry Hope Romano.


Reubenesque Tempeh Salad

This reubenesque tempeh salad is vegan and gluten-free and absolutely delicious. It tastes like a reuben sandwich in a bowl. Don't miss it. 

Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 2
Author Tess Masters


salad dressing: (makes 1 1/2 cups)

classic croutons:

  • 4 cups (1lb) cubed gluten-free day-old bread
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

tempeh bacon bites: (makes 1 1/2 cups)


  • 1 batch dressing (recipe above)
  • 1 batch tempeh bacon bites  (recipe above)
  • 2 cups classic croutons  (recipe above)
  • 1 green apple, cored and diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cups shredded red cabbage 
  • 1/2 cups sauerkraut,  well drained (I used Bubbie's)


  1. For the salad dressing, cover the cashews in hot water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain, and then add to your blender with the water and blend until smooth.  
  2. For the salad dressing, cover the cashews in hot water for 10 minutes to soften. Drain, and then add to your blender with the water and blend until smooth.  
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing in a tightly covered container for at least 20 minutes for the flavors to infuse, and consume within 2 days for the best flavor.  
  4. For the croutons, preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the bread cubes into a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
  5. Drizzle a little of the dressing at a time over the cubes, stir well, drizzle more dressing, stir again, and repeat until the bread cubes are coated in dressing. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a large baking sheet (use two sheets if necessary) and bake for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cubes are completely dry and golden brown. Cool completely before transferring to loosely covered containers. Use within 7 days for best flavor.
  6. For the tempeh bacon, slice the tempeh into 1⁄4-inch-thin strips. Then stack a few strips at a time and slice the tempeh into bite-size pieces, about 1 inch long.
  7. In a ceramic or metal baking dish, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the tempeh bits and gently toss to completely coat with marinade. Let stand for 10 minutes or cover and chill overnight.
  8. Use a fork to transfer the tempeh pieces (leaving the marinade behind) to a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet preheated over medium heat. Lay the pieces in a single layer, and if desired spritz with a little cooking spray. Cook until well browned on one side, flip, and cook the other side until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. After the tempeh is browned on both sides, pour the marinade over it and simmer until the marinade is absorbed. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Store chilled and consume within 2 days for best flavor.
  9. To make the salad, prepare the salad dressing and chill in the fridge while you assemble the salad ingredients.
  10. Prepare the croutons, and set aside
  11. Prepare the tempeh bacon, wrap in foil, and keep warm.
  12. Toss the apples with the lemon juice.
  13. In large salad serving bowls, layer the cabbage, sauerkraut, apples, and croutons. Garnish the salad with tempeh bacon. Serve and pass around the dressing, dropping generous dollops onto the salad right before digging in. 

Recipe Notes

*No pickle relish on hand? Add 1/2 cup roughly chopped dill pickles and 1 teaspoon coconut nectar to the ingredients and pulse as directed.

**When shopping for sauerkraut, always opt for the best quality possible. Avoid the dead canned stuff (it’s been pasteurized and is lacking a lively community of probiotic bacteria) and reach for the fresh stuff found in the refrigerator case of your grocery store. Choose ’kraut in jars over bags, and over bulk barrel ’kraut above all. The pure, clean flavors of fresh sauerkraut will shine through in this salad, so treat yourself right and splurge on the best you can find . . . it’s only fermented cabbage, after all!

Recipe from Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong Books.
Photo by Vanessa K. Rees.