Even soy naysayers can be convinced when tofu is squeezed, drained and pan fried. Cabbage, peanuts and crispy tofu make this salad a textured delight- and a protein powerhouse. This recipe comes to us from Brooke of Mama Earth Rocks.
For the dressing:
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2/3 cup agave nectar*
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley
- 1/3 cup stone ground mustard**
- ¼ cup unsalted walnuts, raw
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
* Agave (ah-Gah-vay) nectar is similar in taste & texture to honey but has a lower impact on blood sugar when compared other sweeteners. Agave can be found in the health food or specialty food aisle of most grocery stores.
**stone ground mustard can be found in the condiment section of most grocery stores. It has a coarser texture and spicier flavor than traditional mustard, but traditional mustard can be substituted.
For the salad:
- 6 ounces extra firm tofu
- 1 ½ cups unsalted peanuts, raw
- 3 cups green cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- ½ large white onion, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups cornstarch
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups olive oil, for frying
To make the dressing:
In a blender or food processor, combine the vinegar, olive oil, agave syrup, parsley, mustard, walnuts, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Blend together until combined to desired dressing consistency. Place in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make the salad:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Wrap the tofu in 2 paper towels. Press the tofu down, leaving something heavy (such as a heavy can or big book) on top to squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Let the water drain out of the tofu for 20 minutes. Remove paper towels. Cut the squeezed and drained tofu into shreds. Set aside.
Place the raw peanuts into a food processor. Process until peanuts are in chunky pieces. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper or foil. Spread chopped peanuts in a single layer on cookie sheet. Bake for 12–15 minutes or until peanuts are golden brown and you can smell them roasting. Set aside to allow peanuts to cool completely.
Mix shredded cabbage and chopped parsley in a large bowl.
Place the cornstarch and salt into a small paper bag. Gently separate the onion slices and place them in the paper bag, shaking to coat the onions with cornstarch.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Fry battered onions in a single layer for about 2 minutes per side, or until bottom half begins to brown. Flip onions and repeat frying process on other side. Salt to taste. Place fried onions in between two paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat process until all onions are cooked. Set aside.
Place squeezed tofu pieces in paper bag and toss gently to coat tofu with cornstarch.
Reheat oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Test the temperature oil with one piece of tofu to make sure they fry quickly, but do not burn. Flip tofu shred after 2 minutes, or until tofu begins to brown and repeat process on other side. Salt to taste. Repeat process to fry the rest of the tofu pieces in a single layer, making sure the pieces do not touch. You may have to fry the tofu in batches. After frying, place tofu in between two paper towels to drain excess oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix cabbage mixture and fried onions together well. Add ¼ cup of dressing, or dress to taste. Mix well. You should have enough extra dressing left over to save and use for future salads.
Place fried tofu shreds over top of salad. Finish by sprinkling roasted peanuts on top.