A Meatless Monday Marvel: Peanut-Ginger Tofu Salad

I love the heat. I wear heavy sweatshirts in air conditioning, and I’m never truly comfortable in shorts and t-shirts until the temperature climbs up into the 80s. However, even I have my limits, and the rolling series of heat waves hitting us right now is testing me. When left to my own devices, I’ve been making meals that require little to no cooking (except the amazing sugar cookies that I just had to bake yesterday – those were worth the extra heat in the kitchen for a few hours!).

This Peanut-Ginger Tofu Salad is a good option for days like this. It’s light and healthy, easy to make, and tastes just as good cooler as it does warm. It’s not no-cook, but it doesn’t require much and can even be made in advance during a cooler time of day if necessary. The original recipe is for a sandwich, but I forewent the bread and put it over greens instead – something I highly recommend, especially in this weather. It’s definitely a refreshing meal, and if you’re new to tofu, don’t be afraid! I’ve only worked with it a handful of times, and have never run into any trouble. Still, if you or someone in your family is really against the idea of tofu (I’m certainly the only “weirdo” in mine who likes the stuff), feel free to substitute some or all of it with chicken, turkey, or even if a mild white fish – just be sure to adjust the cooking times and methods if you switch up the main protein. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, though, give it a try – you may be pleasantly surprised! Not to mention that tofu topped a recent list of healthiest/most eco-friendly proteins.

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Peanut-Ginger Tofu Salad, adapted from Whole Living
Yield: 2 servings

The Ingredients
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch thick rounds
1 red bell pepper, quartered
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons natural, unsweetened peanut butter
½ teaspoons honey
½ teaspoon sesame oil
¾ teaspoon grated fresh ginger*
fresh ground pepper & kosher salt, to taste
salad greens, for serving

The Method
Place the tofu between two pieces of paper towel and weigh it down with a plate for 10-15 minutes to drain the excess water. You may need to change paper towels part-way through. Cut the pressed tofu into ½-inch slices and set aside.

Meanwhile, arrange the onion and peppers, skin side up, on a broiler pan and place 4 inches under the broiler. Cook until the peppers are blistered and the onion has turned a light brown, 12 to 15 minutes, flipping the onion halfway through. Set aside to cool, then peel the peppers when you’re able to handle them and cut them into thick strips.

Saute the tofu slices in the olive oil over medium-high heat, letting the tofu develop a golden-brown crisp layer on the outside, roughly 2 minutes per side. In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, honey, half of the sesame oil, and ginger. Add the rest of the sesame oil to the vegetables, tossing to coat, and then add to the peanut butter mixture along with the tofu. Toss again to coat with the dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve atop salad greens.

*I didn’t notice the ginger flavor very much at all, so you might want to add a little extra (1 – 1 ½ teaspoons) if you’re looking for that flavor to come through a little better.


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