January 21, 2015

Crispy BBQ Tempeh Caesar Salad Wraps

We made some serious progress around our house this past weekend, which makes me feels like things are finally coming together. Closet shelves have been on our list of things to do since we moved in, but kept getting pushed to the bottom of the list every time, because lets be real, making closet shelves is just plain boring. Our house came equipped with these wire shelves, hanging half way out of the wall due to improper installation. In the spare room the linens (towels, sheets, blanket's) have been piled on the floor since last April, which has caused me a great deal of emotional pain. This weekend, we finally bit the bullet and built some top notch particle board shelves and a clothes hanger. Things are no longer on the floor. Ody will need to find somewhere else to sleep, and I can now see that I might need to invest in some grown-up towels, ones that don't have pictures of Mickey Mouse on the front.

Along with the shelves, we finally decided on a color palette for the exterior of our house. Blue, gray, and off-white - specifically Sherwin Williams retreat, pearl onion, and green black. The whole picking paint colors process, in a nutshell, has taken roughly 6 months. This has taught me that my indecisiveness is absolutely infuriating. I'm now on a first name basis with the guys at the Sherwin Williams store, who by the way, no nothing about choosing paint colors. And even though it's nice that they offer complimentary coffee, it is possible that you could strip the paint off your house with that stuff. My basement is now full of paint samples that I need to figure a way to get rid of. I must have painted at least 50 shades of gray on the back wall, hidden from people passing by, but completely obvious to our neighbors, who now know my level of indecisiveness and that I really like the color gray.

Another design decision that has taken us months to figure out is the layout of our living room. We own a royal blue velvet couch. It's all kinds of wonderful, and  it's the only piece of furniture in our living room, if you're not counting the pile of stuff I need to donate to the goodwill. We can't figure out if we want another couch, two matching chairs, or a lounge chair and a formal chair to go with the blue couch. We've been to Room and Board twice this past weekend, once last month, and a few times in November. If you gave me a quiz on product details, I would likely get an A. If you gave me the decision to choose some chairs, I would get an F. I think we are coming to a decision though. I'll keep you posted.

In the grand scheme of things, I normally feel pretty confident about: giving good dietary advice, choosing the perfect lipstick color, recipe substitutions, and always doubling the amount of chocolate chips in a cookie recipe. Things that I feel less confident about: choosing paint colors, choosing wall lights, choosing furniture, choosing art, and color combinations. If only I had an amazing interior designer friend who would exchange design advice for cookies. Know anyone?

I will admit though that I have been pretty decisive about making these bbq tempeh caesar wraps every day for the last 3. Tempeh is one of those high protein meat substitutes that imparts a sweet nutty flavor and has the ability to soak up flavors from sauces and spices. It's a great addition to salads, noodles dishes, rice dishes, or on sandwiches. I started eating it a great deal after a trip to Indonesia a few years back. My favorite way to prepare is soaking in some marinade and grilling or frying in a little oil. It's a nice substantial addition to these highly crunchy vegetable based wraps. The vegan caesar dressing that I use knocks any thick creamy eggy anchovy dressing out of the park. The base is cashews soaked in water until soft, and then pureed with water, garlic, capers, lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. It's a great dressing to make ahead and let sit overnight. I also like to use it as a sauce for roasted veggies and as a dip for fresh veggies. It's kind of my go-to these days. Last week I decided to put the bbq tempeh that I made for sandwiches, and the caesar kale salad with the amazing vegan dressing into a fresh wrap with some sliced red onion, red pepper, and julienned carrots, and it was a really good idea. I inhaled two wraps in one day and then asked myself why I don't put more delicious things into wraps?

makes 5 wraps 

8 oz tempeh, cut into slices
1/4 cup bbq sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cashews, soaked in water for 4 -5 hours
1/2 cup water
1 garlic clove
1 tsp capers
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cups chopped romaine lettuce
5 cups chopped Lacinato kale
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
3 carrots, julienned
5 large wraps

Cut the tempeh into 1/2 inch by 3 inch long strips. Place in a bowl, and coat with bbq sauce. Let sit for 30 minutes.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the tempeh and fry until crispy. Remove and set to the side.

In a food processor or blender, add the cashews, water, garlic, capers, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Puree until smooth. Add more water if you want the dressing thinner.

In a large bowl, toss the romaine lettuce and kale with half the dressing. Add more or less per your taste.

Prepare the wraps with 2 cups of salad in each, 4 - 5 pieces of tempeh, sliced onion, red pepper, and carrots. 


  1. Looove tempeh and I must try your caeser dressing!

    You could always try Homepolish? Its an online website that arranges a $50 in home consultation with a interior decorator so if you just need someone to decide things that could be handy :)


    I get their newsletter and I love their interiors but they currently have no decorators in San Diego...

  2. A truly beautiful recipe! This is so up my ally. Yum!

  3. This is perfection! I love that it's made with tempeh!

  4. yum yum yum, this puts the chipotle burrito i just had to sad, sad shame...

  5. I just moved into my apartment and I'm going through the exact same process. Only thing in my living room is a couch, and the only parts of my apartment that I have bothered to furnish are: bed (don't even have bedside tables, but using a stool seems to work and looks super chic too), kitchen, and dining area. I want to create a cozy and comfortable home, but the process is just so long. In the meantime, I'm going to take a page out of your book and just make myself these bbq tempeh wraps cause they sound delicious! Love tempeh!

  6. What kind of bbq sauce do you like? I could use some helping choosing a lipstick color, that's more dfficult for me than choosing paint.

    1. I have been searching forever for a good bbq sauce, and I have recently found one that is locally made here in Seattle. It's called BBQ Pete's Puyallup Fair Sauce. It's incredible. http://bbqpetes.com/menu/

  7. Am I the only person who LOVES going through the process of moving, arranging furniture, renewing spaces etc.? Ahah, picking colors is a real issue. You end up thinking you would have liked the other option better 80% of the time.
    Btw, this recipe is all kinds of amazeballs! super-pinned it!! I wonder how it would be to sub the tempeh with some vegetable, like squash or fat eggplant slices (I am not friends with soy)...I'll totally try it!

  8. OMG I can totally relate on selecting paint colors for the house!!! It's so hard to pull the trigger and commit but the colors you picked sound beautiful. This wraps look positively mouth-watering as well and I might actually have to give tempeh a try. Beautiful photos too as always - thanks so much for sharing!!!

  9. I'm DROOLING over this. These look so, so good!!

  10. These photographs are stunning, Heather. Love.

  11. You just answered all my questions by putting my favorite salad into a portable version. I love your recipes, they are very inspirational, which motivate me to switch my usual cooking routine once in a while and think out-of-the-box.