Monday, July 8, 2013

Tofu Salad With Grapes & Roasted Red Pepper

Tofu Salad With Grapes & Roasted Red Pepper

I was not born a tofu fan. When I gave up meat and poultry 8 years ago it was the last plant-based source of protein I ever thought of working into my diet. Yes tofu is aplenty here in Southern California but my tofu experiences either fell into the minimal camp {cubed tofu, a zero value-add, mixed in curry or pad Thai} or the unhealthy masquerading as healthy camp {a block of marinated deep fried tofu served with a garnish of scallions}. I couldn't fathom that tofu could be the main ingredient in a healthy, flavorful dish. 

But when I realized all those processed mock meats I was consuming were not really that good for me, I decided {begrudgingly} to incorporate tofu into my diet. Perhaps, I pondered, with the right recipes tofu would no longer make me yawn. And you know what I learned over the last year? There are indeed delicious, healthy tofu dishes out there. And this tofu salad recipe is one of them. I promise. I will go as far as saying this very well may be my favorite tofu recipe to date. Even Mr SSS, who doesn't consider tofu real food, gobbled this up. It's just that good.

Let me just say the marinade alone, made of Bragg Liquid Aminos, mirin and rice vinegar, yields a tofu "steak" bursting with smoky, tangy flavor. Adding in the sweet {grapes and toasted red peppers} and the crunchy {onions and celery} with a wisp of seasoned mayo dressing creates a salad that we simply could not get enough of. It is fantastic alone on a bed of lettuce, tucked in pita or piled in a wrap. Nutritionally minded person, Meatless Monday observer, tofu fan, tofu wanna-be fan: this recipe is for you.

Tofu Salad With Grapes & Roasted Red Pepper

24 oz extra firm tofu, drained and cut lengthwise into thirds {to yield 1/2" slices}
1/2 c Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 T mirin
2 T brown rice vinegar
1 c water
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1 c green seedless grapes, halved
2 T chopped Italian parsley
1 t + 1/2 t dried sage
Vegenaise to taste {start with 1/4 c}
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place tofu in a single layer in a large glass casserole dish. In a small bowl mix together the aminos, mirin, vinegar and water. Pour marinade over tofu and let sit for 20 minutes. 

Transfer tofu slices to a slightly oiled cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip tofu and roast another 10 minutes until firm and crisp on the outside. Set aside to cool and when cool enough to handle, cut into bite size cubes.

In a bowl, toss tofu and remaining ingredients. Serve room temperature or chilled.

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Source: Clean Food, Terry Walters

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