Mahalo Kale Salad with Peanut Marinated Tempeh and Coconut Basil Lime Dressing + a few thoughts on gratitude

exclamation & noun: a Hawaiian word used when thanking someone
As local produce starts to flood the farmers’ markets at this time of the year, my heart overflows with gratitude. Gratitude for the local farmers who work tirelessly to maintain the integrity of the land and put food on our tables. Gratitude for Mother Nature, who continues to provide for us in spite of the destructive forces that humankind exerts on her to no end. Gratitude for my family and chosen family. And even some gratitude for my healthy mind and body, both of which I now see as good friends and allies in my holistic health journey.

It only seemed fitting, then, to call this dish the Mahalo Salad: a salad so full of delicious local produce and peanut butter-baked tempeh that you can’t help but to have a heart bursting with gratitude while eating it.
Tempeh say what
Tempeh has gained popularity in recent years, and for good reason. It is a fermented soy product made with whole soybeans and a bacterial culture. It is an excellent source of protein for vegans, and some say that it is easier to digest and therefore healthier than tofu because it has been fermented. Futhermore, it is a whole food, as opposed to tofu, which is made only from soy milk. Personally, I enjoy both tempeh and tofu on a weekly basis, but tempeh plays a starring role in this recipe because it soaks up the peanut sauce marinade beautifully and substitutes for meat quite well.
If looks could kale 
This recipe is also full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: kale is packed with vitamins A, C, K1, folate, and indole-3 carbinol, an important compound for detoxifying excess estrogen in the body, while red cabbage is high in antioxidant anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Mango is a decidedly non-local addition to the salad, but high in vitamin C and biotin, a B vitamin important in hair and nail growth… and oh-so necessary in keeping with the Hawaiian theme and to add a sweet punch to an otherwise vegetable-centric salad.
Well made, well dressed 
But the real MVP in this salad is the dressing. It began with a massive bunch of basil from the farmers’ market, sitting on the countertop, begging not to be used in yet another pesto. I was all too happy to oblige (pesto fatigue sets in fast). I knew that a coconut-basil dressing would be the perfect finishing touch on this salad, and it turned out perfectly on the first trial. I hope that you love it as much as we did.
If you make this salad, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag your creations on Instagram @holisticallie and #holisticallie!
Mahalo Kale Salad with Peanut Marinated Tempeh and Coconut Basil Dressing

Servings: 4
Course: Lunch, Dinner
Time: 1 hour
Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-based
For the peanut butter-marinated tempeh
  • 1 (8-oz/250g) package organic tempeh
  • 1/3 cup organic peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1.5 tbsp tamari
  • 1.5 tbsp sriracha
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp ume plum vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp filtered water

For the kale salad:

  • 1 large bunch green kale, stemmed and finely chopped
  • 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage
  • 1 large Kent mango or 2 medium Atulfo mangoes, peeled and diced
  • Pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the basil coconut lime dressing (makes 2 cups, more than enough for this salad!)

  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk (light or full fat)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp fine sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Dice tempeh into 1-inch cubes and steam or boil for 3 minutes (this opens up the pores of the tempeh, allowing it to absorb more flavour from the marinade.
  2. Whisk together the marinade ingredients: peanut butter, tamari, sriracha, lime juice, maple syrup, and ume plum or apple cider vinegar.
  3. Place tempeh in a baking dish and pour peanut butter mixture over top. Toss lightly to coat and marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.
  4. Place the kale into a large bowl. Add sea salt and olive oil and massage the olive oil into the kale until it has softened and is bright green. Add remaining salad ingredients and set aside.
  5. Heat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the marinated tempeh, along with all of the sauce, onto the pan.
  6. Bake tempeh for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned and peanut butter sauce is becoming slightly crispy (see photo for reference).
  7. Make the basil coconut dressing by combining all ingredients in an upright blender and blending until smooth.
  8. Assemble the salad by evenly distributing the tempeh cubes on top of the kale/cabbage mixture. Pour 1 cup of dressing over top, toss, and add more dressing if desired. Divide evenly between four bowls.

Any leftovers can be kept in the fridge for several days.

Stay tuned for a new recipe for tempeh chorizo on Friday and a no-churn vegan ice cream early next week! #doingsummerholisticallie 


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