COCONUT CABBAGE SALAD WITH MINT PESTO TOFU
Firstly, thank you to all of you who took the time to read my last post and leave such thoughtful comments. I often feel like the internet is so saturated and this blog goes unread (except by my mom and boyfriend lol) but last week fueled some motivation to keep sharing authentically on here. Although it is very theraputic for me and I LOVE creating this blog its also something I do to inspire and connect with others. So thank you. That last post was lengthy and the fact that many of you took the time to read it and comment moves and surprises me in the best way.
You see..., time is the most vaulable resource you have.
Its the one thing you can never truly get back once gone. You can loose all the money in the world and still figure out a way to earn it back. You can loose your health but through eating nourishing foods, movement and medicine you can potentially regain it all back and maybe even be healthier then before you got sick.
Relationships can be lost and regained, cities and towns can be rebuilt, faith can be restored, but time..., once it's gone, it's gone. So the fact that you take the time to read my blog truly truly means a lot to me. Some of your attention and priceless time was spent here, on my little space on the internet.
But with that I find myself thinking about the importance of how we spend our time. What we choose to do with it defines us in many ways. Are you spending it on activities that bring you joy and make the world a better place? Are you wasting someones time by not telling them how you really feel? Are you stuck in a check out line where the cashier is moving slowly or on the 405 fwy (god help LA) or at the airport with a delayed plane?
We've all been there. We've all had our time wasted. And I am sure I speak for us all when I say that it doesn't feel very good. At best we learned something from those experiences that we can take with us on our journey through life. At worst we feel upset and angry about it, maybe we even let it ruin our day.
My goal is to never waste your time on here. To always provide value, inpsiration, relatability and damn good food. Like this motha effin salad. Its top knotch and will take less then an hour (maybe 45min if ya move quickly)of your time but worth every second of effort; it's so good. This salad taste better the longer it sits making it a perfect choice for picnics, potlucks, meal prep you name it. This salad will take you places! And won't be a waste of your time.
What makes this salad so special is the Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar. There are several decent ones on online and truly reccomend picking up a bottle. If you want to make this but don't have the balsamic try lime juice, coconut water and rice vinegar mixed together to taste. I did not test this but I think it would yield similar results.
Below are some other options:
see recipe below
14 Ounces extra firm tofu
1/2 Cup sesame oil
1/4 Cup coconut white balsamic vinegar (WORTH IT, link above) (you can substitute equal parts coconut water to rice vinegar if you want)
1 lime, zested and juiced
1/4-1/2 Teaspoon pink salt to taste
1 medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 small red cabbage, thinly sliced
3/4 Cups chopped cilantro, loose pack, plus more for garnish
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 red bell pepper, julliened
2 Cups edamame, shelled GMO free
1 cucumber, sliced into ribbones with vegetable peeler or cubed
1 avocado, cubed or sliced
1 Cup cashews, toasted and chopped
1/2 Cup green onion, thinly sliced
1 lime, zest and sliced as garnish on the side
Pre-Heat oven to 425f
Then make the Pesto:
2-3 cups fresh mint, stems included, rinsed and chopped 1/4 cup walnuts 2 garlic cloves 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for smoother pesto 1 medium lemon, juiced and zested 1/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems Pinches salt & pepper, to taste
Put everything in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth.
Prep the Tofu:
Drain tofu block and press between a clean dish towel or paper towels. Then slice into 4 even bricks. Press again to remove more moisture. Cut into cubes.
In a cast iron skilled over medium high heat, melt one tablespoon of coconut oil or cooking oil of choice. Let the cast iron get really hot then add in to tofu. You want it to sizzle when added. Thats how you will get a crispy exterior and soft interior.
Toss the tofu a couple times for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown on most sides.
Remove, place in a bowl and mix with 1/4 the mint pesto. Toss to coat. then transfer to a baking/cookie sheet. Spread out the tofu and put in the oven for 7-8 minuts. Then toss and roast again for another 7-10 minutes.
Then turn off the oven but let the tofu hang out in there while you finish prepping the salad ingredients. This will help remove more moisture from the tofu so its a nice texture in the salad.
Make the dressing: combine all ingredients in a bowl or container and whisk vigorously to combine. Season with salt and more lime juice to taste. Adding more vinegar if necessary.
Prep the cabbage: thinly slice the green and red cabbage then add to a large bowl. Ideally you want a 4:1 ration of green to red. In my opinion thats the best for texture and taste. Add in half the cilantro and 3/4 the dressing reserving the rest. toss to coat and let it marinate in the fridge while you prep the other ingredients.
Prep other salad ingredients: grate the carrots, julliene the red bell pepper, defrost the edamame or shell if necessary, chop the green onion, peel cucumber, cube the avocado. Squeeze with lime juice and salt if you want. I did. just adds to the overall flavor at the end but totes optional.
Toast the cashews: in the cast iron used for the tofu whip down with a paper towel and then heat up over medium high heat. NO OIL - you want it dry. Then add in the cashews and toast for 3-4 minutes turning every so often to brown on all sides. Then remove, let cool and roughly chop.
Remove the tofu from the over and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to cool. Then toss with most of the remaining mint pesto.
You might have some left over pesto which is SOO GOOD on avocado toast so if theres extra save it. Its also great with rice bowls, noodle bowls or with roasted veggies.
Make the Salad: layer the ingredients on top of the marainated cabbage. All the veggies, then the tofu, avocado, crushed walnuts, green onion, extra cilantro, lime slices and the remaining dressing.
serve and enjoy!