Sesame Roasted Cabbage & Grapefruit Salad w/ Tempeh & Baby Spinach

I don't necessarily have a goal to keep this space upbeat and positive, but I am a generally happy person and so that's what is reflected here. I also do hesitate to write too much about personal struggles etc. because I always worry I'll come off as whiny or complaining, and in general the things I have to complain about are fairly easily remedied. However, being honest and transparent is really important to me, and so if I'm just not feeling it, I don't want to pretend that I am. I'm sure I could write a post about the coming spring weather and the exciting outdoor adventures to come (and I probably WILL write about that in the near future), but to be honest I'm feeling a little glum lately. I guess you could pin it all on SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and maybe that is part of it, but if I am being really truly honest, I am finding it so hard to work a full time job. I feel like I've lost so much freedom and it's really getting me down. 

I want to talk about this because I am just so sure a lot of you out there can relate. When I spoke about finishing school I got so many lovely messages from all of you - some were notes of encouragement and others were from folks in the same position as me who related to my words and experience. It is hard. It is also hard to realize and accept that it is hard. I always have trouble accepting when I don't feel my best, especially if it is because of something I feel I should be grateful for. I am in such a privileged position - I have an undergrad degree, a full time job that pays well, the best boyfriend I could ask for, a loving family, endlessly supportive friends - and yet this new part of my life isn't making me happy. I feel so much loss for the days where I would have one or two classes and get to plan my own day accordingly. I decided when I studied, read, ate meals, met up with friends, even made recipes for this blog. Now my whole life is scheduled around being at work, and the few blissful hours of daylight before evening sets in and the routine of sleep, wake, work starts all over again. I get that this is life for a lot of people, but I am realizing I need to think ahead to find a path that works better for me. 

Anyways, I am actually very okay. I want to stress that. I just feel a bit boring and a bit bored. And I think that it's important to admit that sometimes. 

Moving on. This recipe is hearty, filling, and fresh all at once! I am a big fan of meal salads and the sesame/citrus theme is one of my faves. The cabbage gets salty and crispy in the oven, while the roasted grapefruit is warm and bursting with sweet juice. Quinoa adds a more substantial element here, and the nutty tempeh is a good dose of protein for all those vegans out there. Let me know if you try out this recipe, I love seeing your comments and pics!

Have a great week babes and hang in there with me. If you're feeling a little down feel free to send me a message! I am always here to talk <3 

sesame roasted cabbage & grapefruit salad w/ tempeh & baby spinach

Serves four

This recipe call for cooked quinoa so make sure you start that at the beginning if you don't already have it on hand. If you're not a fan of tempeh, tofu would work well in this recipe too, although I personally like the soft and nutty flavour of the tempeh here. 

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Ingredients

Salad:

  • half a head of purple cabbage
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil 
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • half a pink grapefruit, thinly sliced
  • 1 pkg tempeh (I like this brand) + 2 tsp sesame oil + 2 tsp tamari
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa 

Sauce:

  • juice from half a grapefruit
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the already halved cabbage in half again so you have two quarters. Slice the cabbage lengthwise into thin strips (see photo #3). Lay it out onto a large baking sheet and toss with the sesame oil and tamari. Lay the grapefruit slices on a separate baking sheet (or pan - I used an 8x8 baking pan because I only have one sheet). Bake the cabbage and the grapefruit in the oven, removing the grapefruit after 15 minutes and the cabbage after 25. 

While the cabbage is roasting slice the tempeh into small 1x1 inch cubes. Heat a large cast iron pan over medium heat and add 2 tsp sesame oil. Once hot, add the tempeh and fry, stirring, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from heat and drizzle the tamari over the tempeh (it will sizzle in the hot pan, don't worry). To make the sauce whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or shake together in a glass jar.  

To assemble the salad place the cooked quinoa in a large serving bowl. Top with the baby spinach, then the roasted cabbage, and finally the tempeh and roasted grapefruit. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sauce. You can either eat this right away as a warm salad, or keep in the fridge for a couple of hours for a colder salad.