It’s 3:00pm on Monday and I’m sitting here on our new-to-us couch, sipping a nice cold Rainier beer which, in the Pacific Northwest, is often referred to as a Vitamin R. This has become part of my summer routine: sit down on the couch during nap time, catch up on reading my three favorite blogs (1,2,3), or read my current book club book, or continue to organize my “papers”. Since I’ve decided that magazines count as “papers” I’ve been going through old issues of Bon Appétit and Food and Wine and tearing out recipes that I love and properly archiving them in a way that makes them usable for me. I love little projects like that.
I generally use the first half of the girls’ nap time to do a quick tidy and prep dinner. But since our dinners lately have been relatively simple, quickly grilled affairs (and I’ve been mostly ignoring the tidying tasks) I’ve had more time to relax while the kids snooze. It helps that the girls are worn out from too much heat and summer fun and have been taking extra long naps. The other day they slept from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoon.
Throwing something together like this Grilled Tofu and Veggie Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing takes hardly any prep time at all which leaves lots of time for me to put my feet up, sip a cold beer, and relax. The firm, silky tofu went into a sweet-tart marinade in the morning, and the veggies were grilled quickly with just a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt. This simple grilled salad is flavorful and varied. The rich, blistered tomatoes burst in your mouth, the raw corn provides a sweet crunch, and the wilted radicchio adds just the right element of bitterness. All of the veggies become cloaked in a creamy, slightly spicy, cilantro-packed dressing that pulls all of the flavors together.
You could easily sub parsley in for the cilantro, if cilantro isn’t not your thing… and you could of course add other veggies. I imagine grilled kale would be a great addition, as would wilted chard, grilled onion rings… you get the idea. A little sprinkle of feta would be great too! You could even use the same marinade for a thin chicken breast in place of the tofu! You can even make this salad just grilling the tofu and leaving the rest of the veggies raw, as we have done before.
That’s one of the great things about these types of salads, they’re so versatile and variable.Two attributes I could use a bit of more of in my life.
GRILLED TOFU SALAD WITH CREAMY CILANTRO DRESSING
1 package (14oz) firm tofu
1/2 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon agave (or honey)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
Cilantro Dressing Ingredients.
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 gently packed cup of cilantro leaves
1 seeded jalapeño
1 green onion, trimmed
2/3 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise
1/8 cup sour cream
1/2 tablespoon honey
a pinch of kosher salt
1 small head of butterhead lettuce, leaves separated
1 head radicchio, leaves separated
1 bunch green onions
1 1/2 cup raw corn kernels
1 pint cherry tomatoes
Drain the tofu and wrap it in paper towels and place something moderately heavy, like a plate, on top of it to press out some of the moisture. Leave it draining for about 20 minutes. Then slice the tofu into 1/2” slabs.
In a small bowl whisk together the tamari, agave, fish sauce, and mirin. Pour the marinade into a 8 x 8” baking dish. Add the slices of tofu in a single layer and let them marinade for at least 1 hour, and up to 8 hours, flipping occasionally.
Remove the tofu from the marinade and place it on a large baking sheet along with the bunch of green onions, the cherry tomatoes, and the radicchio leaves. Drizzle everything on the sheet with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle the veggies with a tiny pinch of salt.
Heat your grill to medium-high. Grill the tofu for about three minutes per side, until the tofu is heated through and it has nice grill marks. Grill the veggies until the they are slightly charred and wilted.
Place the lime juice, cilantro, jalapeño, single green onion, mayonnaise, sour cream, and honey in a powerful blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. Season to taste with salt.
Assemble the salads by starting with a nice foundation of butterhead lettuce, then layering in the radicchio, tofu, corn, tomatoes, and green onions. Add a good drizzle of the cilantro dressing just before serving.
GRILLED TOFU SALAD WITH CILANTRO DRESSING