I developed this recipe for a Whole Foods Market back-to-school night event with one of my favorite healthy food brands, Navitas Organics. We passed out samples of the creamy hemp seed “ranch” with veggie crudités – and even the most skeptical tasters were sold (kids included!). The dressing achieves next-level status when paired with the sweet and tangy barbecue tempeh and satisfying roasted veggies. Enjoy! – Ally
When it comes to soy products, tempeh is my favorite. Made of fermented soybeans, tempeh has a chewy, crunchy-when-baked texture and easily absorbs the flavor of whatever sauce you marinate it in. If you’re gluten-free look for tempeh made without gluten-containing grains like wheat or barley. Also, try to opt for organic, non-GMO tempeh since soybeans are one of the most pesticide sprayed crops.
Believe it or not, you can find healthy-ish, lower-sugar barbecue sauces in well-stocked grocery stores. (You could also make your own here or here.) My favorite store-bought brand is Annie’s, but look for ones with recognizable ingredients and without high fructose corn syrup.
The hemp seed ranch dressing uses two of my favorite ingredients: hulled hemp seeds and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is a 100% all-natural inactive yeast, which is a dietary supplement that’s rich in B vitamins. It has a pleasant, cheesy flavor that gives the ranch dressing a nutty flavor, but it’s completely optional for this recipe. Find it in bulk bins or packaged by well-known brands like Bob’s Red Mill.
Hulled hemp seeds are small, but mighty. They’re perfect for creamy dressings because they’re soft and easily blended. And they’re good for you too – packed with magnesium, iron, fiber, and plant-based omega-3s.
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved
- 1 large red onion, peeled and cut into 10 wedges
- 16 oz tempeh, cut into 15 triangles
- ⅓ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 cup hulled hemp seeds
- juice of 1 lemon
- ⅓ cup water, plus more to thin
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes, optional
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch Lacinato kale, destemmed and thinly sliced
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra hulled hemp seeds for garnish
- Roast the veggies and the tempeh. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Add the tempeh triangles and barbecue sauce to a bowl, gently toss to coat and allow to marinate for a couple minutes. Arrange the sweet potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. On another rimmed baking sheet, arrange the brussels sprouts, red onion, and marinated tempeh triangles in a single layer. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over the Brussels sprouts and onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the sweet potatoes for 40-45 minutes and the tempeh, Brussels, and red onion for 30-35 minutes, flipping everything halfway through.
- Meanwhile, make the hemp seed ranch. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and more water to thin, one tablespoon at a time, if necessary. The dressing will thicken in the fridge.
- Prep the kale. Add the kale to a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and massage until slightly wilted. Set aside.
- Pack the bowls. Divide the roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and red onion between five meal prep containers. Top each container with three tempeh triangles and a handful of massaged kale. Keep the hemp seed ranch and extra hemp seeds separate. When ready to eat, drizzle each serving with ⅕th of the hemp seed ranch and sprinkle with hemp seeds.