Crispy Miso Tofu Summer Salad
When I first went vegan, I was a little thrown off my salad game. Summer salads are so easy when you eat meat – roast some chicken, add a little feta and avo and voila! Healthy* (so I thought), good balance of nutrients and calories and of course, absolutely delicious.
Take away the chicken and feta and I didn’t really know what to do. After lots of research and some trial and error, my perspective on what makes a good salad has broadened considerably to include pan-fried vegetables, mixed seeds, quinoa and even roasted mushrooms. And avo. Always avo. But it was the crispy tofu renaissance of last year that really upped my salad game. We’ve been eating variations of this salad all summer and we honestly can’t get enough of it. Before I give you the recipe, here are my top tips for interesting and FILLING plant-based salads – because the days of thinking you’ll be hungry 5 minutes after eating a salad are way over. If you find that’s the case, you’re doing it wrong!
- Always include all the food groups: protein, carbs, fats and veg/fruit. This way your meal is balanced and your body gets all the nutrients it needs, plus you won’t be hungry later.
- Texture is key – nobody likes a salad that’s predominantly limp lettuce. Mix things up with crunchy seeds, juicy vegetables, creamy nut cheese and crispy legumes.
- Don’t stick to the same ingredients every time; make it interesting. What’s in your fridge today? You can use almost anything in a salad as long as you remember the texture point above.
- When you roast vegetables for a meal, make some extra and keep them for your salad the next day, thereby minimising your prep time.
- Make a batch of salad dressing for the week for convenience.
- Keep a bunch of avos in the fridge and rotate them in a fruit bowl with bananas to ripen. With some luck, you’ll almost always have a ripe avo ready for your salad.
This crispy miso tofu salad recipe is one of the many variations we’ve eaten over the past couple of months. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the recipe; try adding different vegetables or experimenting with other flavours in the dressing. If you like tofu, though, I suggest giving this particular method a try as it’s magical in a salad.
Crispy Miso Tofu Summer Salad
- Half a 350g block of tofu
- Plant milk
- Chilli powder
- Mixed herbs
- Salt and pepper
- Red cabbage
- Bell pepper
- Soya sauce
- Lemon/lime juice
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sliced avo
- Baby potatoes**
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1-2 tbsp water
- To make the crispy tofu, slice it into strips approximately 1cm thick. Pour some plant milk into one bowl (I used soya) and the breadcrumbs and spices into another. Dip the tofu strips into the plant milk and then into the crumb mix, making sure all surfaces are covered. As you finish, lay them out on a plate. Once all of the strips are covered in crumbs, repeat the process – these are double dipped and trust me, it makes all the difference to the crispy coating! Once coated, put the tofu in the fridge for at least half an hour before frying. Fry on medium heat in a little olive oil mixed with vegan margarine if you have – you can do without but it helps prevent sticking.
- Saute the peppers and red cabbage in a little soya sauce and lemon or lime juice for some tang.
- Dry roast a handful of pumpkin seeds in a pan until you hear them start popping – this means they’re done. Don’t use oil to roast them.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and taste test. Add more of any one thing depending on your palate. The dressing should pour easily but be thick enough to stick to the salad.
- Assemble your salad and enjoy!
*My point here is not to debate the nutritional content of chicken. I don’t believe that eating meat is good for you, so I’m referring to chicken in that capacity rather than as a healthy or unhealthy meat when compared to beef, for example.
**We don’t add potatoes to this salad as we find it to be very filling without them. That said, if you’re worried about hunger pangs, try it with crispy roasted baby potatoes for your carb content.