If you don’t think you like tofu, here’s a great way to start. The spices go nicely with the tofu without overpowering it. And, the salad is fresh and full of great flavors without being heavy.
I prefer tofu that isn’t packed in water; it’s easier to use, and I find that it tastes better. But, if all you can find is the water packed variety that will work nicely. I give instructions for pressing tofu to get the water out. The process is pretty simple, and removes excess moisture, allowing more flavor to be absorbed while cooking.
I like to make my own ranch dressing for this salad. It adds a nice fresh richness. But, you can also use bottled ranch, a light vinaigrette, or even leave the dressing off for a plain salad.
The salad would also be lovely with the addition of green beans, cauliflower florets, or pea pods. It could also be served over a bed of shredded lettuce. Feel free to mix it up and play around with your favorite flavors.
Spiced Tofu with Broccoli and Blue Cheese Salad
Makes 2-3 servings
1 package (14-20 ounce) extra firm fermented tofu, sliced lengthwise into ½ inch thick slices, about 5 or 6 slices
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon sour cream
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
milk for thinning the sour cream, about 1 tablespoon
3 cups broccoli florets
½ cup frozen white corn, thawed
½ cup frozen green peas, thawed
½ avocado, sliced
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
Basil for garnishing
For Spiced Tofu:
If your tofu is water packed, layer your cutting board with a clean cotton towel and three layers of paper towels. Place tofu slices on top of the towels. Place a layer of three more paper towels on top of tofu, and cover with another cotton towel. Carefully place another cutting board or cookie sheet on top of the towels. Stack something heavy on top of the board, like a cast iron skillet, a large can of beans, heavy bowl or other weight to press down on tofu. Let sit for at least fifteen minutes, and up to one hour.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, cumin, salt, and pepper. Brush oil on both sides of the tofu.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the spiced tofu, and cook until a nice golden brown crust forms. Turn tofu over and continue to cook until the second side is also nicely browned, about 10 minutes per side. Set seared tofu aside.
In a small bowl, combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through fresh basil). Mix well. Thin the sour cream mixture with milk until the desired consistency is reached, it should be thin enough to pour, like heavy cream. Set aside, and allow the flavors to combine.
Place broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl, and add 1 tablespoon water. Cover the bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute. Broccoli should be cooked but still crisp, and a bright green color. If you would like the broccoli to be cooked a bit more, set the covered bowl aside for a few minutes, allowing the broccoli to steam in the bowl. Drain. Set aside.
Heat a dry skillet over high heat on the stove top. Once hot, add the thawed corn to the skillet. Stirring occasionally, allow the corn to toast. Once most of the corn has some golden brown toasting on it, about 10 minutes, remove it from the pan.
In a large serving bowl, gently mix the broccoli, toasted corn, green peas, avocado slices, and crumbled blue cheese. Place sautéed tofu slices on top. Drizzle with ranch dressing, and garnish with basil. The salad can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. Enjoy!