Coconut Pineapple Tofu Salad with Miso Ginger Dressing

IMG_2409With the weather warming up this week (in the 60s!), I had a major craving for a big salad. Like super crunchy vegetables, icy-crisp lettuce, tangy dressing and a giant fork. To the kitchen!

I started pulling ingredients out of my fridge (which is how most of my recipes get created…spoiler alert). I assembled a delicious bunch of things, conveniently including my favorite flavors: Coconut, Pineapple, Fresh Ginger, Fresh Garlic and Lime. Swoon.

I decided to keep with the Asian feel of this salad and make a deliciously marinated tofu, but this would be amazing with chicken or skirt steak. As it marinates overnight, the usually bland tofu gets properly soaked with coconut spicy goodness.  Marinating is key. The sweet pineapple, the creamy coconut milk and the 1-2 punch of Sriracha and lime in this marinade is so summery; fresh and delicious, I wanted to add some rum and go lay by pool. Instead, I added the tofu.

You’ll be glad you did too.

IMG_2404The baked tofu (amazing grilled if you can do it) is served over a simple Napa cabbage salad. This is where our crunch comes in…snap, crunch, yes. The miso dressing is what puts it over the top. It is ADDICTIVE. I’m a freak for umami, and miso is packed with it. You will want to stick your face in this dressing. Make extra. The best part (aside from the fact that it.is.awesome) is that you can’t mess it up. Promise. If you don’t like the flavor, keep tinkering (add garlic, add salt, etc) until it reaches the flavor and consistency you want.

Crispy, crunchy, spicy, sweet. Yes.

Coconut Pineapple Tofu Salad w/ Miso Ginger Dressing

Coconut Pineapple Tofu:
1 block extra firm tofu (or use 1/2 lb chicken or skirt steak)
1 c. coconut milk (regular or lite)
3 scallion stems, sliced (reserve green parts separately)
1 tbs lemongrass (fresh or bottled)
2″ piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbs fresh mint (or Thai mint if you can find it)
1 tbs lime juice
1 c. pineapple chunks (fresh or canned in water)
Sea Salt
Sriracha
IMG_2405Remove tofu from container. Slice into 4-6 thick slices. Tofu should be pressed. It removes the excess water and allows the tofu to soak up the deliciousness of the marinade.

Once the tofu has been pressed (or if you’re impatient and want to go for it), it’s marinade time). In a large Tupperware container, add coconut milk, scallion stems, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, mint, lime and pineapple (with juice if canned). Put lid on the Tupperware and give it a good shake. Taste the marinade, add salt and Sriracha to taste. Reminder: with any “heat” element, the longer something marinates, the hotter it will get. Add the tofu, put the lid on and give it another good shake to ensure the tofu is coated. Stick it in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Turn the Tupperware over a few times to ensure even soaking. Once marinated, you’re ready to bake (or grill).

Pre-heat oven to 400. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Pour tofu and marinade into the dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until tofu edges have browned, flipping once to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly. Spoon tofu and pineapple over salad.  Serving suggestion: Add a few drops of Sriracha on the plate for dipping.   Serves 2.
IMG_2406Napa Salad

1 head Napa Cabbage
3 scallions (the reserved green parts), sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, Julienne
1/2 red pepper, Julienne
6-8 radishes, sliced
1/2 jalapeno, very thinly sliced (optional)

Clean the cabbage and remove the tough outer layer. Slice off the hard root  (trim about 2″ from the root to ensure you’ve removed the toughest part). Using a sharp knife, slice the cabbage in half lengthwise. Then slice the cabbage very thinly from the root to the ends. You should have a slaw consistency. Toss with the remaining vegetables. You can either dress the salad as a whole or dress upon plating. Serves 2.

Miso Dressing:
2 tbs yellow miso paste
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 lime, zest and juice
splash of water
1/4 – 1/3 safflower or other light oil
Sea salt (optional)

In a small jar, add the first 4 ingredients. Screw on the lid and shake, shake, shake. Add a splash of water and the oil and shake again. Taste here. The miso is quite salty so taste before adding salt. Tinker with the proportions (I added more water because I wanted it on the thinner side but see what works for you!) Serves 2 (MAKE MORE)

IMG_2422Get a big fork.

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