Hello, my name is Nicole and I am a salad snob. It could be the fact that my relationship with salad didn’t really get going until I was an adult, so I’ve been fortunate enough to avoid the iceberg/ranch dressing with a single sad slide of tomato combination that I know many people probably endured in their school lunch rooms. To me, a salad is a masterpiece that requires a mix of organic greens, fresh vegetables, home-made dressing, and something cooked on top of it.

When I go to the salad bar for lunch at work, I’ve been creating an Asian-inspired salad with sesame dressing, something called “wok tofu”, greens, baby corn, water chestnuts, and sesame seeds. I sometimes throw some cucumber on there, especially if I’m feeling bloated that day. I’m also a huge fan of vegan┬áNi├žoise salad, which I usually make with fingerling potatoes and fresh string beans (olives optional because I don’t use enough to keep a jar on hand, but Whole Foods does have a darling little olive bar). Anyway, when I make a salad it is a serious endeavor, and this one was no exception. It’s a play on a tempeh, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, except in salad form. I would suggest making it for a fancy lunch and maybe serving it with a glass of chilled white wine on a warm spring day.TLT Salad

1/2 c. roasted cherry tomatoes (put the tomatoes and 2 TBSP of water in a shallow baking dish with a sprinkle of salt and cook at 375 until they burst)

1/2 of an avocado, cubed

3 cups of salad greens

1/2 a package of tempeh, cooked in a pan for about 4 minutes a side and seasoned with salt and pepper

Dressing

1/4th c. balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP. agave

1/2 tsp. dried garlic granules or 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

1 TBSP. olive oil

1. Prep all of your ingredients and whisk together the dressing.

2. Toss the dressing with the greens and layer the tomato and avocado on top.

3. Lay your tempeh artfully across the top and garnish with fresh black pepper.