Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Green Kitchen: Tofu Salad with Herbs, Two Ways

Green Kitchen is a bi-weekly column about nutritious, inexpensive, and ethical food and cooking. It's penned by the lovely Jaime Green.

Happy belated solstice, everyone! For us northern hemispherers, yesterday was the longest day of the year. That's happy news for druids and lovers of late-evening sunshine, but oh, if only that meant the hottest day of the year were behind us as well. Unfortunately, the sun's just getting started pumping the atmosphere full of heat, and the sweaty months of summer stretch into the distance ahead of us, as if into a hazy, humid infinity.

Hi. Sorry. It was 95 degrees in New York City yesterday. Project no-AC goes strong, but still. Stepping into the midday sun is like ... whoa. That stuff hits you hard.

So, even though I keep my windows closed and curtained during the day, and my apartment is still surprisingly bearable, it's not like I'm about to crank up the oven and start baking and broiling. I don't even really want to turn on a burner.

I could pretend it's for Mother Earth, but really it's because it's freaking hot out!

Lucky for us wilting flowers, there is plenty we can do without igniting a single pilot light. If you can muster the energy for a few minutes of smushing stuff up, you can make a delicious, protein-packed salad full of vegetables, herbs, and smooth, cool tofu. Two of them, in fact!

Yeah, I said smushing stuff up. Super appetizing, I know. But go with me here. We mix crumbled tofu with herbs, vegetables, a little fat, and a little acid. Two different combinations give us two very different, equally refreshing dishes – one Greek(ish), one (sorta) Italiany – that can be enjoyed sandwiched in bread, tossed with more veggies for salad, or spooned out of a mug while you lie prostrate on the cool kitchen tile floor. No heat in the kitchen, plenty of delicious in your mouth.

I like the Greek tofu smush (I need to come up with a better name for these!) with a dab of extra mayo and mixed into a big bunch of greens. Purslane, for example, is a wild green I can get at the farmers market for cheap. Being wild means it hasn't been cultivated to be all leaves and no stems, so it takes some prep time, but the little leaves are full of omega-3 fatty acids and other wild-green goodness, and make delicious salad.

The basil smush goes brilliantly with arugula, spinach, or, really, on its own. It's a little saltier and richer, but still creamy and refreshing, and the slightly more substantial of the two recipes.

I should probably call these tofu salads rather than smush. But whatever they're called, they are delicious, easy, and – most importantly right now – cold.


If you dig these recipes, you might also enjoy:

Greek Tofu Salad
Serves 4.
Adapted from PPK's Tofu Salad.

1 lb extra-firm tofu, pressed
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 t salt
generous handful fresh dill, chopped
1 cucumber, diced fine
1 small (or ½ med) red onion, diced fine
½ red bell pepper, chopped

1) Soak onion is salted ice water for at least ten minutes. (This smooths the oniony bite, and minimizes your risk for onion breath!) Drain.

2) Crumble tofu by hand into a mixing bowl.

3) Add mayo and vinegar. Stir & smush until mixed.

4) Stir in onion, cucumber, dill, salt, and red pepper. Mix

5) Chill for at least 60 minutes in the fridge to allow everything to meld.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
172.5 calories, 9.1g fat, 2.8g fiber, 11.1g protein, $1.06

1 lb extra-firm tofu: 387 calories, 20.5g fat, 5.1g fiber, 39.8g protein, $1.79
4 tsp apple cider vinegar: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.05
¼ cup light mayonnaise: 200 calories, 19.7g fat, 0g fiber, 0.4g protein, $0.49
1 teapsoon salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
generous handful fresh dill: 1 calorie, 0g fat, 0.1g fiber, 0.1g protein, $0.15
1 cucumber: 24 calories, 0.3g fat, 1.4g fiber, 1.2g protein, $0.33
1 small red onion: 21 calories, 0.1g fat, 0.9g fiber, 0.6g protein, $0.40
½ red bell pepper: 55 calories, 0.5g fat, 3.6g fiber, 1.8g protein, $1.00
TOTAL: 690 calories, 36.5g fat, 11.2g fiber, 44.3g protein, $4.23
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 172.5 calories, 9.1g fat, 2.8g fiber, 11.1g protein, $1.06


Basil Tofu Salad
Serves 4.
Adapted from the PPK's Basil Tofu Ricotta.

1 lb extra-firm tofu, pressed
2-3 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes (easily found at a health food store, or Whole Foods, and *very* delicious)
½ pint grape tomatoes, quartered
Large handful basil, chopped
Dash red pepper flakes (optional)
Dash black pepper

1) Mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl.

2) Crumble in tofu by hand; mix well with a big spoon or spatula.

3) Stir in nutritional yeast, red pepper, black pepper, and tomatoes.

4) Chill 30 minutes or so in the fridge for optimal flavor melding.

Approximate Calories, Fat, Fiber, Protein, and Price Per Serving
158.3 calories, 7.6g fat, 3.8g fiber, 13.7g protein, $1.19

1 lb extra-firm tofu: 387 calories, 20.5g fat, 5.1g fiber, 39.8g protein, $1.79
2-3 teapsoons lemon juice: 4 calories, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.33
2 teaspoons olive oil: 84 calories, 9.3g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.08
1 clove garlic: 4 calories, 0g fat, 0.1g fiber, 0.2g protein, $0.02
¼ teaspoon salt: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes: 107 calories, 1.3g fat, 6.7g fiber, 12g protein, $0.74
½ pint grape tomatoes: 45 calories, 0.5g fat, 3g fiber, 2.2g protein, $1.25
Large handful basil: 2 calories, 0.1g fat, 0.2 g fiber, 0.3g protein, $0.50
Dash red pepper flakes: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.02
Dash black pepper: 0 calories, 0g fat, 0g fiber, 0g protein, $0.01
TOTAL: 633 calories, 31.8g fat, 15.1g fiber, 54.7g protein, $4.75
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 158.3 calories, 7.6g fat, 3.8g fiber, 13.7g protein, $1.19

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Leigh said...

Jaime, These sound great! I love a good mush of tofu and other junk. Thanks!

laura k said...

These both sound delicious. I've never thought of eating tofu uncooked before, but I have a package in my refrigerator right now. This might be dinner tonight.

Anonymous said...

Just made a version of the basil salad and ate it on toasted sourdough - totally delicious!

Clea said...

I just made a version containing curry powder, mustard, sriracha, soy sauce, black salt, nutritional yeast and some tofu scramble seasoning. I wanted tofu scramble but nothing cooked. I marinated it in those things, plus apple cider vinegar and mayo per your first recipe here. Oh, and a cucumber. It was deeelish in pita bread!

ICabby said...

I've got everything but the yeast--is it a total crime to leave it out?