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This Sesame-Tofu Salad is as fresh as you can get. It’s packed with raw veggies and crispy tofu with asian flair.
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful trip in Key West, Florida. I’d never been, and I absolutely loved it. We went on a catamaran at sunset with live reggae music, sat on a bar-porch with a bluegrass band for hours while my husband joined them on banjo, walked the streets, and enjoyed the sunsets and the crazy, awesome people- and all while it was 40 degrees back home in Michigan. The only thing I didn’t like about Key West was the vegetarian/vegan food selection. I think they live by the mantra- “if you don’t eat fish, you don’t eat”- so I had to get a bit creative. Luckily, we stumbled upon a vegetarian restaurant called “The Cafe”. Not the most original name but they had excellent food. I ordered a tofu salad that inspired this recipe. This is one ridiculously healthy salad, and it’s definitely a “meal” salad. Serve this with a baguette and you’ve got yourself a filling, nutritious meal.
After my husband finished devouring this salad, his exact words- “Wow, I actually really liked this!”. Of course I asked him to clarify what he meant by “actually”. He said that he normally HATES tofu (news to me!) but he loved the crispiness and great flavor of the tofu in this salad. I couldn’t agree more. =)
I used whole, raw cashews for this recipe, so I needed to roast them first to bring out their flavor. To do this, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place cashews on a baking sheet and roast them for 5-10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes or so. They should be lightly browned.
To prepare the tofu, start with an extra firm block. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch pieces. Turn the tofu on its side and make one cut down the center, so the tofu strips are thinner.
At this point, you’ll want to get all of the excess moisture out of the tofu. Some recipes want you to do this before cutting, but that doesn’t make much sense to me. It’s much easier when the tofu is cut into thinner pieces. Cover and press with paper towel, being careful not to crush the tofu pieces. If you are using extra firm tofu, it should hold up very well. Be a little more careful if using softer tofu.
On a plate, spread out sesame seeds. Press each piece of tofu (on 1 side only) onto the tofu and place back on your cutting board.
Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Add sesame oil and swirl in pan to coat. Place 1/2 of the tofu slices (that’s most likely all that will fit) with the sesames-side-up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Using tongs, flip over tofu pieces carefully and cook the other side (with sesame seeds) for 4 minutes. Be careful because the sesame seeds will start dancing and try and jump out at you! With 1 minute left of cooking, drizzle the soy sauce into the pan and move tofu slices around to coat. Cook the second batch of tofu the same way.
To arrange the salad, start by putting the lettuce on plates. Around the edges of the lettuce, add the tomatoes, edamame, avocado, cashews, and crispy tofu. Add the sprouts to the center of the plate. Serve with sesame-miso dressing.Print
Crispy Sesame-Tofu Salad w/ Miso Dressing (Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free)
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 1/2 cup raw, whole cashews
- 16 ounce container extra-firm tofu, water drained
- 1/8 cup sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, divided
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 12 ounces spring mix lettuce
- 2 small Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 1 cup edamame (shelled)
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts[br][br]
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place cashews on a baking sheet and roast them for 5-10 minutes, stirring every 4 minutes or so, until lightly browned. Slice the tofu block into 1/2 inch pieces. Then turn the tofu on its side and make one cut down the center, so the tofu strips are thinner. Cover and push down on the tofu with paper towel to remove the moisture, being careful not to crush the tofu. Do this repeatedly under as much moisture as possible is removed.
- On a plate, spread out sesame seeds. Press each piece of tofu (on 1 side only) onto the sesame seeds to coat.
- Place a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon sesame oil and swirl in pan to coat. Place 1/2 of the tofu slices with the sesames-side-up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Using tongs, flip over tofu pieces carefully and cook the other side (with sesame seeds) for 4 minutes. With 1 minute left of cooking, drizzle 1 tablespoon of soy sauce into the pan and move tofu slices around to coat. Remove tofu from skillet and repeat the process with the remaining tofu pieces.
- To make the sesame-miso dressing, in a small bowl, combine the miso, ginger, sesame oil, rice vinegar, water, and agave syrup. Stir with a whisk or fork until smooth.
- To arrange the salad, add lettuce to plates. Around the plate, add the tomatoes, edamame, avocado, and cashews. Add the sprouts to the center. Serve with sesame-miso dressing.