Even though it’s cold outside (a very frosty -12 C feels like -26 C with the windchill today here in wintery Southwestern Ontario), and my natural impulse is to wear pajamas in front of the fireplace all day long, I haven’t yet felt the yen for the proverbial comfort food.

Or rather, I should say that I want comfort food, but re-envisioned. I want foods that are the right balance of rich, healthy, and light, if that at all makes sense. What appeals to me right now are meals like raw vegetables with a creamy tahini dressing, or an inviting lentil soup with delicious miso for that umami flavour.

spinach salad with tempeh, avocado, and roast potatoes

But, let’s cut to the chase, shall we? Let’s talk about this recipe. This spinach salad with roast potatoes, avocado, and maple tempeh is inspired by (and, truthfully, closely follows) a recipe from the Thrive Cookbook.

I’m strong to the finish, ’cause I eat my spinach

In this particular salad, the spinach keeps things light and fresh (thank you to Popeye for the spinach quote), while also being mineral-rich. That vibrant green colour packs a punch of phytonutrients and antioxidants. Eating leafy greens every day (along with other green vegetables) is very powerful when it comes to keeping your systems balanced.

Supporting digestion and the microbiome

Tempeh is fermented, making it easily digestible but also supportive of a healthy microbiome (which we know supports healthy, glowing skin). Adding a little miso to the dressing would be another option. Miso offers umami, that savoury flavour we all really enjoy, and also is a probiotic-rich food.

Avocado for your liver and skin

Avocado is rich in healthy fats, and also an antioxidant called glutathione, which is really important in the natural detoxification process of your liver. And not to repeat myself too much, but if you’re interested in energy, clear skin, managing acne, and balanced hormones,you have to be interested in your liver

So enjoy something different! This salad is really, really good. Warm, creamy, full of protein and healthy fats, with a bit of that excellent spinach crunch. Top notch.

Creamy Spinach Salad with Roast Potatoes, Avocado, and Maple Tempeh

  • Author: Thrive Cookbook (with tweaks by Emily Joldersma, R.H.N.)
  • Recipe Notes: gluten-free (depending on your brand of tempeh), vegan option (if you want a vegan mayo), nut-free, grain-free, naturally-sweetened

Ingredients:

  • organic baby or regular spinach, washed well – your desired amount
  • smoky maple tempeh (I use the Tofurky Tempeh brand) or your choice of protein
  • one avocado
  • roast potatoes (potatoes, olive oil, Himalayan pink salt)
  • For the Dressing: mix 1-2 tablespoons of  a cage-free egg avocado oil mayo (or your best equivalent!) or soy-free vegan mayonnaise with 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup – depending on your taste preferences. Optional: 1 teaspoon of your favourite miso.
  • Optional: splash of lemon juice, sprinkle of smoked paprika

Instructions:

  1. Roast potatoes. Scrub two to three large organic potatoes and dice into cubes. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon pink salt, and roast in a 425F oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown). You can roast them all and save some for future salads.
  2. Either in the same oven, or in a frying pan, prepare tempeh – broil for 8 minutes in the oven, or gently fry in a skillet until lightly golden.
  3. Preparing dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.
  4. Toss spinach with dressing.
  5. Peel and slice avocado, and add to salad.
  6. Arrange tempeh and roast potatoes (not all of them – just a sprinkling) on top of spinach, and finish with the optional splash of lemon juice and smoked paprika. Enjoy!

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly – Emily Joldersma, RHN