Herbed Tofu Salad with New Cabbage

We’ve been eating a lot of cabbage all through the winter, and the arrival of Hungarian new crop cabbage has been a real celebration for us. It’s so soft and green and sweet, perfect to be used in stir-fries and salads of any kind – an indulgence while we wait for the local cabbage crop. I prefer lightly dressed salads with a salty ingredient or two – olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, soy-toasted nuts and seeds, or nicely spiced tofu – so that the vegetables’ own characters don’t get lost in the mix. Pan-frying tofu and then soaking it with a spicy sauce is an easy way to make it really flavorful without the advance planning required when marinating.

tofu_salad

This makes enough tofu for 4, so we have plenty of leftovers – they are very munchable and a nice addition to many meals.

The Herbed Tofu (serves 4):

  • 500 g tofu
  • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: smoked paprika, thyme, sage, tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon brown rice vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

I first pressed the tofu – sliced it, wrapped in cheesecloth, placed a cutting board and a pile of cookbooks over it, and let sit for 15 minutes. Then I cut it into small-ish cubes (about the size of the tip of my thumb), heated the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat, and fried the tofu cubes until slightly browned on most sides. This takes about 10 minutes, and while the tofu was frying, I had plenty of time to mix together the seasonings (tamari through garlic).

When the tofu was nice and golden brown, I poured the seasoning mixture in the pan, and stirred it to coat all the tofu cubes. I kept on stirring until the liquid was absorbed and started to get brown, and removed the pan from heat. I let the tofu come to room temperature before adding it to the salad base.

The Salad Base (serves 2):

  • 1 small head of new cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • a bunch of arugula, chopped
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons gomasio (Japanese sesame salt), or salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup
  • plenty of black pepper
  • fresh basil

I just tossed everything together in a large bowl, added about half of the tofu, and sprinkled with some fresh basil.

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