Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli and Teriyaki Tempeh

sweet-potatoes and broccoli with teriyaki tempeh

I asked my sister the other day what she would like to see more of on the blog, and she said: simple supper options. So, in that spirit, here we go!

The original recipe inspiration for this came from Vegetarian Times magazine. I’m a huge library user and I love going in and finding that the new issue of VT is available. They have a lot of neat vegan and plant-based recipes, and such beautiful photographs!

sweet-potatoes and broccoli with teriyaki tempeh

I feel like I’m going through a bit of recipe fatigue at the moment. Maybe it’s because I have a cold (I’m not sure what I feel like eating) or because I made soup and it was too hot and I burned off all my taste buds (making me sometimes not sure what I actually AM eating). So between the two, I mostly feel like eating the soup I made for lunch, and then again for supper, because, well, there’s a lot of it. And then I don’t have to think too much.

Speaking of, this cold is relatively minor, but still a blow to my ego. I like to think I am cultivating the ferrari of immune systems, and when I get a cold IN SEPTEMBER I suddenly think, geez louise. Ferrari? Not in your dreams, lady.

sweet-potatoes and broccoli with teriyaki tempeh

Then again, colds are a reminder of exactly that – our immune systems are a bit compromised. Maybe it means you’re working too hard; not resting enough; not eating the best foods for your body; not getting enough gentle, restorative exercise (like walking in this beautiful fresh air!).

Which brings us back to this supper. It’s simple, nourishing, a great balance of sweet and salty and umami, a beautiful visual feast of green and orange, and pretty easy for your body to handle, from a digestion standpoint.

So maybe I should say, thank you cold! For pointing me in the direction of some healing foods, for making me take a moment to look at where I’m not giving my body what it needs, and for reminding me, yet again, that being healthy really is the best feeling and the best gift.

sweet-potatoes and broccoli with teriyaki tempeh

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Steamed Broccoli and Teriyaki Tempeh

  • Author: Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: plant-based, nut-free, gluten-free (if you use a gluten-free soy sauce), grain-free


  • one head of broccoli
  • one pkg tempeh
  • 4 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • one large onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, coconut oil, or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt/himalayan pink salt/sacred salts
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium tamari
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon your favourite dijon mustard


  1. To marinate tempeh: in a medium glass bowl, whisk together tamari, maple syrup, and mustard. Slice tempeh into cubes and shake around in your marinade. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.
  3. Slice sweet potatoes into long wedges and place on baking tray.
  4. Slice onion into rounds and scatter artistically over sweet potatoes.
  5. Drizzle oil over sweet potatoes/onions and sprinkle with sea salt.
  6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft and onions smell amazing.
  7. While the potatoes are cooking, gently steam/boil (steaming is preferred, but you might be like me and not currently be in possession of a steamer) broccoli in or over boiling water until close to tender and a brighter green colour. Drain and keep warm.
  8. In the last few minutes of your potatoes baking, place tempeh on a baking sheet and throw in the oven, baking until lightly browned.
  9. Arrange sweet potatoes, broccoli, and tempeh your plate, and drizzle with a little leftover marinade, if desired.
  10. Enjoy!

l© Backyard Owl

Big Glow Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

big glow salad 4

There is a certain point on the thermometer when suddenly a woman’s thoughts turn to foods that are crisp, refreshing, and bursting with seasonal flavour. For me, that temperature is somewhere around 25 degree celsius. Depends on the humidity.

When the mercury gets that high, suddenly all I want are homemade fresh rolls, plump blueberries, melt-in-your-mouth strawberries, ripe peaches, watermelon, chilled cranberry juice (the real stuff, mixed with water – otherwise it’s far too puckersome), tangy lime and lemon and avocado sorbets, cold cereals, and big, amazing, stacked salads.

big glow salad

Why big glow? Well, basically this salad is an awesome opportunity to pack in healthy fats, nourishing proteins, vibrant greens, and antioxidant-filled vegetables. All of these things, my friends, boost your body, help protect your cells from damage, and contribute to an overall feeling of good health that makes you glow, not just because your skin looks great, but because you feel really good.

And when it’s hot outside, your body is already working hard! It needs light nutrient-packed options that give it fuel without weighing it down. You want to feel that you could eat your supper and still hop on your bicycle for a ride (though, please don’t do this, unless it’s a really really gentle ride).

big glow salad 2

The sweet onion dressing is a bit of cheat, I’ll admit. Organic onion powder just makes the whole thing so much faster and easier – just make sure it IS organic, as clean as you can find, and doesn’t have any additional salt. We just want to the onion-y part. We can add some good quality salt ourselves later.

Enjoy the big glow salad! Eat it outside under a blue sky in your tank top and shorts. Eat it after your bike ride. Eat it and enjoy the summer sunshine.

big glow salad 3Big Glow Salad with Sweet Onion Dressing

  • Author: Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: refined sugar-free, naturally-sweetened, plant-based, veggie-packed, gluten-free


For the Salad:

  • 2 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1/2 cup: shredded carrots, diced celery, chopped sweet peppers
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons almonds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • Your choice of protein: tofu, local free-range organic eggs, tempeh, etc. I sprinkled my tofu with a bit of smoked paprika.

For the Sweet Onion Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dijon maple mustard
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or your favourite sweetener
  • 1 tablespoon organic onion powder (no salt added)
  • pinch sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • pinch ground black pepper


  1. To make the dressing: whisk together all of the ingredients (or throw in a glass bottle and shake shake shake). Done.
  2. Set your oven to a low heat broil and toast the sunflower seeds and almonds, along with the tofu, for about 4 minutes or until seeds are starting to turn a light golden colour.
  3. Shred up the romaine and mixed veggies, and toss with 2 tablespoons or desired amount of sweet onion dressing.
  4. Sprinkle hemp seeds on romaine, and top with warm toasted nuts/seeds.
  5. Enjoy!

© Backyard Owl

Sweet Potato and Kale Salad with Barley, Dried Cranberries, and Smoked Tofu

sweet potato kale salad with smoked tofu

Roasted sweet potatoes, kale, cooked hulled barley, smoked tofu, and dried cranberries, with an olive oil/apple cider vinegar dressing. If that doesn’t sound like the supper equivalent of wrapping yourself in a plaid blanket and watching the leaves change, I don’t know what would.

This salad is easy, comes together quickly, makes a bunch, lasts a while, and tastes really good. It packs nicely in a lunch or re-heats well for a supper. It’s a perfect recipe to have in your arsenal for those occasions you need something delicious that will cover you for the week ahead, and you want your choice to be guaranteed delicious. Like reading an old favourite book, this grain salad will not disappoint.

sweet potato and kale salad with smoked tofu2

This recipe is based on a recipe I came across in a copy of Alive magazine, sometime in yesteryear. Some recipes just jump out at me as ones I would very much like to make, and the original recipe was no exception. You’ll see that the original recipe calls for a great many more things that my pared down version – with time and repeated iterations, my version has become its own creation.

I love this dish too because it strikes the right balance of protein, vegetables, and long-lasting carbs. When I have this for lunch, I can avoid the mid-afternoon slump and just power on through. When you work in an office, this kind of lunch is a god-send, because falling asleep at your computer is generally frowned upon the workplace (or so I’ve been told).

But before we conclude and get to the recipe itself, let’s take a moment to talk about smoked tofu. I’m able to find organic smoked tofu at my local Metro grocery store, and I used to be able to buy it at my local independent grocer in Toronto. That being said, I don’t think it is the MOST available form of tofu, so if you can’t find it, I would recommend substituting chickpeas. God bless it, but regular tofu just does not cut it here.

sweet potato and kale salad with barley and dried cranberries

Sweet Potato and Kale Salad with Barley, Dried Cranberries, and Smoked Tofu

  • Author: Backyard Owl (view the recipe that was the inspiration for my version: Oat and Sweet Potato Salad):
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, option for gluten-free, high fibre


  • 3 large sweet potatoes, diced (unpeeled if organic; peeled if not organic)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup hulled barley
  • 2 cups chopped kale (which is probably 4 to 6 big leaves)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 pkg (about 210g) organic smoked tofu, diced into small cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • for seasoning: ground black pepper, smoked paprika, additional sea salt (if required)


  1. Cook barley: bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil and add barley. Cook for about 25 minutes or until water is fully or almost absorbed and barley is soft and chewy.
  2. Roast sweet potatoes: preheat oven to 425 F. Toss diced sweet potatoes with olive oil and sea salt, and roast until tender and slightly crisped, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly.
  3. Prepare salad: in a large bowl, stir together cooked barley, dried cranberries, chopped kale, smoked tofu, and still warm sweet potatoes
  4. In a glass bowl, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. Toss over salad ingredients, and finish with black pepper and smoked paprika, if desired.
  5. Enjoy! Note that this salad keeps well in the fridge, but is best served warmed.

© 2014 Backyard Owl