Crisp Tofu Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing (Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free)
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The thing is, firm silken tofu has a texture not unlike a very delicate mozzarella cheese. And you'd eat mozzarella with pesto, wouldn't you? This just gives us dairy-free people something to get excited about.
If you just forget for a minute that tofu is traditionally used in Asian cooking, you'll be tucking into this salad and pretending these are hot little pieces of soft cheese covered in a crispy, golden coating. So good.
Probably one of my favourite salads ever.
This is my first recipe as part of the Florette Bloggers campaign - each month there's a different focus (this month is all about vegan recipes, for example) and it helps people eat their salad greens in new and interesting ways. It's all about finding inspiration with your food, because salads can, after time, well - get a bit routine.
This salad is totally dairy-free - the creamy pesto dressing is made from tofu as well, so you're getting a double protein hit in one go. Do be sure to look out for the firm silken tofu for this recipe - and treat it carefully, cutting with a sharp knife. The salad is also nut free and gluten free (aren't I good to you, eh?) and it's packed with greens and veggies to help you along your way to your five (or more) a day. All good.
I hope you love it.
Crisp Tofu Salad with Creamy Pesto Dressing
Serves 2, generously
350g block firm silken tofu (this is the one I used)
2 tbsp cassava flour (or use a gluten free plain flour instead)
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tbsp mild, unflavoured coconut oil
2 tsp vegan pesto (this is the one I used)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
small handful fresh watercress (or use spinach if you prefer)
2 handfuls of Florette's Bistro Salad
8 cherry tomatoes, washed
3 radishes, trimmed, washed and sliced
quarter of a cucumber, washed and sliced
Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients, this is easier than it looks. Promise.
First, prepare the tofu. Unpack the block of firm silken tofu and place it on a board, very carefully, so it doesn't break up. With a sharp knife, cut one third of the block and move it to one side. Take the larger section of the tofu block and cut it into cubes, about 3-4cm in size. In a cereal bowl, measure out the cassava flour and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Give it a quick stir. Toss the cubes of tofu into the seasoned flour until they are all well covered.
Before you fry the tofu, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Place the remaining one third of the tofu block in a blender (I use this one) and add the pesto, olive oil, lemon juice and watercress. Blitz until a smooth, creamy and slightly green and put to one side.
Arrange the salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, radishes and cucumber on two serving plates.
To fry the tofu, heat the coconut oil in a medium sized frying pan and place the floured tofu cubes gently in the pan. Allow to gently sizzle, turning them all over with tongs so that they turn a very light golden brown on all sides. Once the cubes are fried, transfer them to a waiting plate or board, so the others have a bit longer to cook. Season the cubes with a little salt.
To prepare the salad, arrange the tofu cubes on top of the veggies and drizzle with the dressing.
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