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Tempeh caesar panzanella

Serves 4
Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins

To me, the essence of this panzanella is using tasty fresh tomatoes to bring life back to the old bread, along with a bit of olive oil and salt. I like to spoon the dressing on top of the salad rather than coating everything with it. This makes it easy to choose how much you want on each bite — it’s salty and rich and I enjoy the contrast of each mouthful tasting different. This can easily be made refined-oil-free and still taste great. I’ve given an oil-free oven option for cooking the tempeh, and the bread can be moistened beautifully just with tomato. The dressing includes cashews which are a wholefood source of fats.

  • Italian



  • Caesar dressing
  • ½ cup Raw cashew nuts
  • ¼ cup Water, plus 2 Tbsp extra
  • 8 Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1 Tbsp Capers
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp Cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce, Kikkoman or Tamari
  • 1 clove Garlic
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • Tempeh
  • 250 g Tempeh, chopped into fingers
  • ¼ cup Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Fennel seeds, finely ground
  • Panzanella bread and salad
  • 4 slices Sourdough bread, use leftover loaf
  • 2 cloves Crushed garlic
  • 100 g Cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 handful Basil, chopped
  • 2 tsp Olive oil
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Cracked pepper
  • 1 Baby cos lettuce, chopped into shards
  • 15 cm Cucumber, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Red pepper, either a long red type or capsicum, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Finely sliced spring onion
  • 1 Orange, to squeeze over salad
  1. Blend all dressing ingredients on high speed until super-smooth.
  2. Cut tempeh into fingers and place in a small oven dish. Mix citrus juice, salt and fennel seed and pour on top. Bake at 200C for 30-40 minutes until liquid is absorbed and tempeh is lightly browned, turning once or twice. For a quicker option using oil, you can fry the tempeh in a little oil for a couple of minutes each side until golden, then pour the citrus dressing on and allow to absorb into the tempeh until dry.
  3. Toast the sourdough until golden then cut into fingers or chunks. Add to a bowl containing garlic, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt and pepper. Use your hands to firmly squish everything together so the tomatoes get nicely crushed and smeared into the toast, softening it and infusing it with flavour.
  4. In each serving bowl, arrange some lettuce, cucumber, red pepper and spring onion. Drizzle with fresh orange juice to moisten, then use a spoon to pour on some lines of dressing. Add enough pieces of cooked tempeh and softened bread to suit each person.