Pesto Tofu and Sprouts Salad

I like meals that tell a story. Either they have a story behind them, or they tell a visual story when eating them. This dish is very visual. On my Instagram account, I mention in the caption that it reminds me of being underwater. It’s almost reminiscent of a clam shell that opened up to reveal all the pesto-y, tofu-y, sprout-y goodness inside. But ya know what? I may very well be the only person that sees this story, and that’s okay. But hopefully it tells a story– any sort of story, to you too. And maybe I should be less philosophical and dreamy about it. If my dishes say nothing to you other than “eat me”, that’s fine too. So long as they don’t say anything negative, I’m a happy girl. Actually, I take that back. Even if they do say something negative, that’s alright, because I’ve decided not to care what other people think abou– okay that’s a lie. I put a lot of thought and work into my food, so please don’t say anything negative about it, okay?

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What You’ll Need:

  • 1/4 block of firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 full head of red leaf lettuce
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, slice in half with stems intact
  • 1/4 cup sprouts (broccoli, alfalfa, any kind!)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s vegan kale, cashew and basil pesto
  • 7 full leaves of mint, finely minced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized skillet over medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add cubed tofu and pan-fry for approximately 5 minutes until very lightly golden brown.
  3. Add baby bellas and continue to saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Transfer tofu and mushrooms to a glass or metal bowl or container. Add pesto and mint and mix together until tofu and mushrooms are fully coated.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together rice vinegar, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper to create the dressing.
  6. Add dressing to coated tofu mixture and stir well.
  7. Open entire head of lettuce from the center and place on a serving dish. To make it easier to tear apart, gently slice the stem of the lettuce, but try to keep the entire head of lettuce intact.
  8. Spread tofu and mushroom mixture in the center of lettuce.
  9. Sprinkle the top with sprouts and serve.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/25/2018

 

 

Chili-lime Tofu with a Roasted Corn and Fava Bean Salad

One thing I wanted to try my hand at as an amateur chef was cooking with seasonal ingredients — not only is it cheaper, but it’s also a great way to expand your palette and try new foods because you’re forced to try new things at least 4 times a year. With this recipe, I tried to think outside of the box — I started tracking the seasonality of more unique foods and then thought about what I could make with them. The result? This ridiculous and amazingly tasty tofu and chilled salad dish. I included a coconut herb cheese in the salad to add even more of a warm-weather flavor to it. No lie, the tofu legit tasted like fried mozzarella, so if that’s something anyone misses from their dairy-eating days, then try this recipe ASAP!

chili lime tofu with fava bean and corn salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block of medium-firm organic tofu
  • 1 can of fava beans, drained
  • 1 pack of Field Roast Chao vegan slices – coconut herb with black pepper flavor
  • 1 full stalk of fresh corn
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons Trader Joe’s chili-lime seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • airtight container with lid (to marinate the tofu in)

What to Do:

Marinate the Tofu

  1. Press the tofu with a paper towel or cloth to remove a decent amount of water (the tofu doesn’t have to be fully “dry”).
  2. Cut the tofu block into 4 even slices.
  3. Place the slices in the container and put all 3 tablespoons of the chili-lime seasoning in the container a little at a time, covering the tofu pieces entirely on each side.
  4. Cover container with lid and place in fridge to marinate for at least an hour.

For the Salad

  1. Peel stalk of corn and clean.
  2. Turn a stove burner on medium heat and use a pair of metal tongs to hold corn stalk over heat to roast. Be careful not to leave the stalk in one position for too long; turn often, or when you hear a popping sound start– similar to fresh seeds that are turning into popcorn when cooked on a stove top.*
  3. Once entire stalk has darkened from roasting, on a cutting board hold stalk upright and slice all of the corn from the cob.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, place roasted corn and entire can of drained fava beans and cilantro.
  5. Slice lemon and lime in half and squeeze the juice from each into the bowl.
  6. Add rice vinegar.
  7. open entire pack of chao vegan slices**, and use a vegetable peeler to slice small slivers of the cheese block directly into the bowl. Add as much as you like but I added about 1/2 to 3/4 cup worth of cheese slivers.
  8. Mix the salad together, cover,  and place in the fridge to chill.

Chili-lime Tofu

  1. Remove marinated tofu from fridge and leave out to become room temperature.
  2. Heat a skillet on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Once oil is hot, add tofu pieces (careful of oil splatter!) and pan-fry for approximately 5-7 minutes on each side of each piece of tofu until a slightly hard and crispy crust forms on the outside (the tofu will still be soft inside).
  4. If desired, place tofu pieces on a dry cloth to release excess oil.
  5. Transfer tofu slices to serving dish.
  6. Transfer some of the salad to serving dish. Bon appetit!

* You can also roast the corn on the grill or on a grill plate that goes on the stove if you have one, but I found it quicker and easier to just do it directly over the stove top flame– just be careful!

** this method will likely ruin the pack from being used “by the slice” but you can use the rest of the cheese for something that doesn’t require slices!

Date posted on Instagram: 5/21/18