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Tofu Salad: Spicy Asian Salad

The light flavor and texture of tofu lend well to a variety of dishes. Tofu is delicious pan-fried, baked, or barbecued to crispy perfection and served on noodles, rice, or veggies. One unique way to enjoy this powerhouse protein is by putting tofu in salads. Add a crisp texture to a delicious pile of greens.

We’ve created this cold tofu salad recipe that makes a light meal to enjoy for lunch or dinner. It packs a nutrient-rich punch from all of the vegetables - we used spinach, cucumber, radish, and fresh bean sprouts. 

This salad dressing has a hint of spice with sriracha and sweetness from the pure maple syrup that pairs so well with the crispy, fresh vegetables. 

Tofu salads are an easy way to incorporate more protein into your vegan diet and are easy to pack and take along when you're on the go.

How to make sweet and spicy tofu salad

This recipe serves 2 people. 

Ingredients for greens and veggies

  • 14 oz tofu, firm or extra firm
  • 1 c fresh bean sprouts
  • ½ bunch radishes
  • ½ medium-sized cucumber
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach
  • 1 small tin pineapple (8 oz)

Ingredients for Sriracha maple dressing

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sriracha hot sauce
  • ½ fresh lime, juiced
  • ½ chili pepper or jalapeno
  • 1 small handful of salted peanuts
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions for the tofu salad

  • Press the firm tofu in a tofu press for about 15 min. Once pressed, cut the block into 1-inch cubes. 
  • Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and add in your tofu cubes. 
  • Pan-fry the tofu for 15 min, or until golden brown. Stir infrequently. 
  • Sprinkle in some salt. 
  • Wash all of your veggies with warm water or a gentle produce cleanser. 
  • Thinly slice the radishes.
  • Cut your cucumber lengthwise in half and remove the seeds with a small spoon. Cube the remaining cucumber.
  • Cut the pineapple into small chunks.
  • Throw radish, cucumber, and pineapple into a bowl along with the spinach and bean sprouts.
  • Combine olive oil, honey, sriracha, pepper, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly combined. 
  • Place the pan-fried tofu in a separate bowl. Top each salad with tofu as you serve.*
  • For garnish, cut the chili or jalapeno and roughly crush or chop the peanuts. Sprinkle them over the salad when serving.
  • To keep the spinach as fresh as possible, wait to toss the salad in the dressing right before it’s time to serve. **
  • Serve and enjoy!

*If you throw the tofu into the bowl with the entire salad too early, they’ll get soggy. 

** Wait to toss the salad in the maple dressing right before it’s time to serve to keep the spinach as fresh as possible. 

Nutrition Information

Per serving:

Calories 486; Calories from Fat 288; Fat 32g; Saturated Fat 5.1g; Sodium 88mg; Potassium 1060mg; Carbohydrates 34g; Fiber 6.7g; Sugar 19g; Protein 29g; Vitamin A 2950 IU; Vitamin C 123.8mg; Calcium 500mg; Iron 6.5mg.

Spicy tofu salad - FAQ

If you didn’t have any questions about your fresh and crispy tofu salad, we might think you were an expert on the subject! However, sometimes even experts need a little help in the right direction. We gathered important information on some of the most commonly asked questions if you ran into any hiccups throughout the prep process of your tofu, salad dressing, and more!

Are salads healthy?

Cold tofu salad recipes are incredibly healthy. Using tofu for salad allows for a meal that is low in fat and carbs, high in protein, and chock-full of vitamins and minerals from the variety of vegetables in the salad. 

It can be tough to fit the recommended amount of veggies into our diets, and salads are a great way to get in a few servings of vegetables in just one meal. 

The olive oil in the dressing is an excellent source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, great for the brain and general body health. 

Why do vegans eat tofu?

With many of the meat and dairy-based options eliminated from their diet, vegans have to find alternative protein sources to ensure they’re getting the recommended daily amounts. 

Tofu is an easy vegan protein because it is readily available at most grocery stores and is relatively inexpensive. It also lends well to lots of different dishes, so it’s an easy ingredient that vegans can add to just about anything they’re already making. 

What is firm tofu, and can I use another kind?

Tofu is made from soybean curds pressed into a block. For silken and soft tofu, it is lightly pressed, so much of the water content remains. For firm tofu, much of the water is removed during processing. The water is removed even further for extra-firm tofu. 

When putting tofu in a salad, you always want to use firm or extra firm tofu that has been pressed again at home. Softer tofu leaves the salad too soggy, whereas pan-fried firm tofu adds a crisp texture to the salad. 

Do I need to press the tofu?

Yes, the tofu needs additional pressing to remove more water and make it extra crispy! 

You can use a tofu press for 15 minutes or press the tofu between two plates or cutting boards for 2-3 hours minimum. 

Pressing the tofu allows it to absorb the flavors of the salad dressing and keep your salad dry. 

What else can I put this tofu on?

If you aren’t feeling a salad, add this tofu to a stir fry, pasta, over white rice, or rice noodles. 

You can also spiralize some zucchini or cucumber and top your fresh veggie noodles with fried tofu. 

Can I store this recipe for leftovers?

Once you’ve dressed your salad, you only have a few hours to eat it before the salad wilts. 

Tofu continues to release water after it’s cooked, so the fried tofu is best enjoyed immediately. If you fry the tofu ahead of time, you can keep it for 1-2 days in the fridge to enjoy with a fresh salad. 

The tofu will not freeze well once already cooked. If you need to save the tofu for later, freeze it uncooked for up to 2 months. Then thaw and cook as you would fresh tofu in a salad. 

Can you put tofu on other salads?

The salad options are plentiful when it comes to this pan-fried tofu - the flavor isn’t substantial, so you can put it on any salad.

Try making a baby kale salad with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and a red wine vinaigrette. 

Or, create a caesar salad with nutritional yeast, vegan caesar dressing, and crispy roasted, spicy chickpeas.

This tofu would be a great topper on a Greek salad full of cucumber, tomato, red onion, olives, and Greek dressing.

Add in some quinoa or rice to make the salad into an even more filling and satisfying meal. 

Final notes on tofu salad

This Asian tofu salad is a fantastic way to enjoy a tasty vegan dish that is easy to digest and won’t weigh you down. Have fun experimenting with different salad toppings and dressing flavors to keep your diet from becoming stale.

Save this recipe for the next time you plan to make an Asian-inspired tofu salad!

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