Strawberry Kale Salad with Tempeh Bacon
When Brandon and I lived in College Station for several years while he finished graduate school, we attended nearly every single football game played at Kyle Field. As a result, I have many fond memories of standing for a minimum of four hours while yelling my face off and getting relentlessly blasted by the hot Texas afternoon sun.
It might seem weird that I would agree to such activities, seeing how I didn’t attend Texas A&M, but I’m telling you, there must be something in the water. The spirit of Aggieland takes you over and the next thing you know, you’re out there screaming with all your might in hopes to pump the defense up for the next big stop. It’s a spirit that can ne’er be told.
My time spent attending those football games taught me a few valuable lessons:
1. If you drink too many beers prior to the game, you will pass out and die from dehydration and heat stroke.
2. One student football ticket buys you enough standing room on the bleachers for a three-year-old…if you’re lucky.
3. If you don’t eat meat, dinner will be a bag of peanuts and a Sprite.
4. Texas sausage and/or barbeque companies often use baby pigs as a part of their logo.
The Aggies have a long line of sponsors that are displayed on the big screen as fans wait in anticipation for the game to start but I was always shocked to see a local sausage company’s logo was a mama and her baby piglet cuddling.
Am I missing something here? What about that do people find appetizing?
My guess is that they probably avoid making the mental connection. Crispy salty bacon and cuddling pigs are two separate entities, both of which bring happiness…?
Unfortunately I can’t seem to separate the two so tempeh bacon is what’s on the menu for me. The taste is actually somewhat similar to real bacon but I will admit the texture is completely different. Not in a bad way, just in a different way.
But it’s the perfect meat substitute for this salad. Juicy sweet strawberries with smoky flavor and creamy goat cheese pecan crumbles on a bed of tender kale. It’s a crave-worthy combo.
You can find tempeh bacon in the meat substitute section and it’s ridiculously easy to cook. I usually throw it on my cast iron grill pan on the stove for about 5 minutes on each side and shazaam! Delicious bacon flavah is at your fingertips.
If you’ve never had tempeh bacon then I hope you’ll give it a try sometime. Trust me, you’ll soon forget all about the real thing. ;)
2 heads kale, destemmed and washed
6 ounces tempeh bacon, cooked
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 red onion, sliced
4 ounces goat cheese (sub avocado or pecan parmesan* if vegan)
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white balsamic (could also use regular balsamic)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Place kale into a large bowl and then combine ingredients for dressing in a measuring cup. Pour the dressing into the bowl and massage it in with your hands until evenly coated. Add the strawberries and onion and toss together.
- If using goat cheese, place it into a bowl with the pecans and mash together with a fork until it turns into crumbles. Mix so that the crumbles are coated with the pecans.
- Distribute the kale onto separate plates and top with tempeh bacon and pecan goat cheese or pecan parmesan. Then serve and enjoy!.
*To make pecan parmesan: toast whole or halved pecans then place into a food processor along with 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt to taste. Pulse in processor until finely chopped.
Inspired by Iowa Girl Eats