In my quest to discover and invent delicious, healthy recipes, I have come to love tofu. I used to think that it was bland, cardboard-like, or when uncooked, an undesirable texture. But as I have started to experiment, it’s really amazing how much you can do with tofu. While I know I have only scratched the surface of tofu possibilities, one my favorite things to do with it is to lightly brown it. It takes almost no time at all, and will take on the flavors that you cook it with.
In this recipe, I browned tofu on top of a bed of arugula and other mixed greens with a few of my favorite salad additions. The toppings combinations are endless, but I found the crunch of cucumber, and green onion with the soft avocado made a lovely texture combination. The blood orange juice is a nice alternative to the usual suspects in a Japanese inspired dressing, but in a pinch, orange or lemon juice would also provide a nice balance to the sesame oil and white balsamic vinegar.
Tofu Salad with Blood Orange Sesame Vinaigrette
- Juice from 1.5 medium sized blood orange
- 2 tbs sesame oil
- 1 large garlic clove pressed
- 2 tbs “shoyu” (unpasteurized soy sauce)
- 2 inch chunk of ginger grated
- 2 tbs White balsamic vinegar
- pinch of paprika
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- 1 tbs Canola or other cooking oil
- 2 14oz packs of extra firm tofu
- 1 large bag of arugula or other desired salad green
- 1 bunch of green onions, finely sliced
- 1 cucumber, sliced in thin rounds and then halved
- 1 avocado diced
- 1 small handful of sesame seeds (optional)
Whisk together the first nine ingredients in a large bowl; taste and season as needed. Prepare cucumber, avocado and green onion and set aside. Remove excess moisture from tofu and slice into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the cooking oil, with salt and pepper in a large saute pan and bring to medium heat. Saute tofu until golden brown on both sides *NOTE depending on size of saute pan, may need to cook tofu in multiple batches. Meanwhile, toss the salad greens, green onions, cucumber, and avocado in the large bowl with the salad dressing. Once the tofu has reached the desired color on both sides, remove from heat and cool for a few minutes. Add the room temperature tofu to the salad mixture and toss until all ingredients are evenly coated. Add sesame seeds last on individual portions.
If you like this salad but want to try something different next time, instead of sauteing the tofu, caramelize it. There really are so many ways to do tofu well. So if your only experience of tofu so far has been as a bland, mushy, inferior meat substitute, give this recipe a try and see if you too become a tofu convert. Happy Meatless Monday!!