Miso Sesame Sweet Potato Salad

This recipe was inspired by a side dish served at Teaism in DC. Teaism is a cozy tea house around the corner from the yoga studio where I did my 200-hr yoga teacher training back in 2013. I remember during breaks we would drop in for bubble tea, salty oat cookies, and these incredible miso glazed sweet potatoes.

What's miso you ask? Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans and barley or rice malt. It's super salty, and adds a unique "umami" taste to any dish (a flavor that most standard American diets lack). And since it is fermented, it's super good for your gut health (it contains those good-for-you probiotics you hear all the yogurt companies talk about).

Upon leaving DC, I knew I had to recreate the recipe myself. Lucky enough, I found a similar recipe online so I simply had to "upgrade" it - swapping coconut oil for canola, and medjool dates for sugar.  Be warned - the miso-sesame dressing is seriously addicting. But don't worry! The recipe below makes MORE than enough dressing, so you can safely pour it on anything and everything. ENJOY!

Miso Sesame Sweet Potato Salad // vegan, gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free

Ingredients:
    ⁃    1 lb sweet potatoes (I have also made with butternut squash)
    ⁃    Coconut oil (for roasting)
    ⁃    1/3 cup miso (yellow or white)
    ⁃    2/3 cup tahini
    ⁃    1/4 cup mirin
    ⁃    1 cup water
    ⁃    3 medjool dates
    ⁃    Sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)
    ⁃    Arugula (optional, although I think it pairs nicely with the sweetness of the potato)

Instructions:

1. Roast your sweet potatoes: Preheat over to 425. Cube sweet potatoes (or squash), toss with coconut oil, and roast until beginning to soften (about 30 minutes)
2. Make the dressing: add all remaining ingredients to high speed blender and blend until smooth and well combined.**
3. Assemble: Let sweet potatoes cool and then generously drizzle with miso sesame dressing. Serve over a bed of greens and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

**Note: This will make MUCH more dressing than you need for the potatoes. Trust me, you will not be upset about it - this dressing is addicting and you will find yourself wanting to put it on everything, not to mention eat it with a spoon.

Honey Sesame Tempeh

Tempeh (TEM-PAY) is a fermented soy cake. It's tofu's lesser-known sibling, much firmer and nuttier, and with a higher concentration of protein, fiber, and vitamins as a result of the fermentation process. 

Like tofu, tempeh takes on whatever flavor you cook it in. This honey-sesame tempeh is a great recipe to try if you are new to tempeh - it's simple, sweet, and salty (what more could you ask for??). Not ready to venture in tempeh-land just yet? I'm sure this sauce would taste great on tofu, fish, or other protein (or veggies!) of choice. 

Honey Sesame Tempeh served over sautéed greens with kabocha squash + kraut

Honey Sesame Tempeh served over sautéed greens with kabocha squash + kraut

Honey Sesame Tempeh (vegetarian, gluten free option)

Ingredients:

- 1 8-oz package tempeh

- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil (refined coconut oil if you don't want a coconutty taste!)

- 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup 

- 1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free, if desired)

- 1 tsp sesame oil

- Sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions:

1. Make honey sesame marinade: Whisk coconut oil, maple syrup, soy sauce and sesame oil in a medium bowl. 

2. Let it mingle: Cut tempeh into 1/2 inch thick slices. Lay slices flat in a glass container or baking dish and coat with the marinade. Let tempeh marinate for at least 1 hour, flipping the slices at least once to  ensure both sides are equally soaked in flavorful goodness. Note: if you put your marinating tempeh in the fridge, the coconut oil will harden, making the whole thing very unattractive. No worries though! It will be fine once you cook it.

3. Cooking time! Pan fry the tempeh slices over medium heat until both sides are browned. Scoop any extra marinade out of your dish and add to pan while cooking. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to finish. Enjoy!

 

This tempeh is very versatile - you can make this a part of your bowl meal, add to salads or sandwiches, or even snack on it on its own!

Have you tried tempeh before? How did you like it?