It’s swim-meet season, that dreaded time of year when once a week my family sits outside in the humid Mississippi heat while my daughter periodically gets to jump into a pool and swim as though Jaws himself were after her. She stays nice and cool while the rest of us wilt. Since we’re out there sizzling for five hours that stretch right through dinner, I often bring along a picnic of sandwiches and salads.
One of our favorite picnic foods is this tofu salad, which my husband first made for me while we were dating. (I was so impressed with his cooking!) He had a couple of vegetarian cookbooks that I hadn’t seen before, and this was in one of them, The Best 125 Meatless Main Dishes. The other day as I was planning to make this salad, I took a good look at the book and noticed for the first time that it was co-written by Mindy Toomay, whose blog I read regularly. Small (vegetarian) world!
I’ve adapted the salad to reduce the fat, but I’ve increased the seasonings and added fresh basil so that you won’t miss the olive oil. It’s a colorful salad, full of the flavors of summer.
Colorful Tofu Salad with Basil and Cashews
This is excellent served over lettuce, as the original recipe suggests, as a sandwich filling (great in a wrap with lettuce and tomato), or as pictured above, stuffed into a lovely, ripe tomato.
- 1 teaspoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 pound firm, reduced-fat tofu, rinsed and lightly pressed to remove moisture
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt–or to taste
- generous grinding of pepper
- *1/4-1/2 cup raw cashews (cashews may be toasted for a few minutes if you like)
- In a small mixing bowl or measuring cup, mix the ground flax with the warm water and set aside to thicken.
- Wrap the tofu in a tea towel and squeeze it lightly to remove excess water. Crumble it into a large bowl. Add all the chopped vegetables and basil.
- When the flax seed mixture has thickened slightly, add the remaining ingredients, except cashews, to it and blend thoroughly. Pour the mixture over the tofu and vegetables, and stir to combine.
- Refrigerate the salad until well chilled–the longer, the better. Just before serving, stir in the cashews.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s) | Cooking time: 0 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving, with 1/4 cup cashews): 144 calories, 51 calories from fat, 6g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 449.9mg sodium, 267.4mg potassium, 12g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 3.4g sugar, 12.3g protein. *(If you omit the cashews, the total calories will be 104 and the fat will be 2.8g.)
Thank to Mindy and her co-author Susann Geiskopf-Hadler for a great recipe!