Salad · Tofu · Valentine's Day Ideas

Valentine’s Day Ideas: Warm Honey-Mustard Tofu Salad

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I know, you're thinking – Huh?  Tofu Salad?  For Valentine's Day?

Hey, I'm just writing about my own experiences and thoughts here.  And what can I say.  My husband and I both L-O-V-E, LOVE this dish.

Cookbook_3 It comes from the book The Smith & Hawken Gardeners' Community Cookbook, which was compiled and written by Victoria Wise, and, if I remember correctly, was a bridal shower gift from my sister's neighbor.

This recipe was contributed by one Matthew Marquis from Ohio, and he explains how he came up with this dish:

"When, as a college student, I needed an inexpensive, healthful, one-plate meal that was not pasta or rice I concocted this dish.  It has become my most widely requested garden recipe.  Even if you haven't cared for tofu before, try this and I guarantee it will change your mind.  And don't be shy or light-handed with the herbs."

Anyway, it had been a while since I made this, and I was thinking about it a few weeks ago, and thought it would be something different I could include in this "Valentine's Day Ideas" series.  It makes a good lunch or dinner.  For dinner, you could round it out with a baguette and a bottle of white wine – something crisp and light.

Anyway, here's the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 large head butterhead, Boston, or Bibb lettuce, washed and spun dry.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound firm silken tofu, cut into half-inch cubes (I actually used more – the packages of tofu are usually 14 oz for some reason.  I bought and used two of them.)

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1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced

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1 small red onion, thinly sliced

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1/3 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram and cilantro

Freshly ground black pepper

1  1/2 tablespoons honey, preferably clover honey

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2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (and okay, in the picture, that's also the oil there)

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And here's what you do:

1.  Place the lettuce leaves in a large serving bowl or platter and set aside.

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2.  Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet until beginning to smoke.  Add the tofu cubes

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and cook on medium-high heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.  (Actually, it took longer than 3 minutes, partly because the pan I started them out in was too small, and also because tofu has a lot of water in it which takes time to cook out.  And I was using nearly twice the tofu called for in the recipe.  But no matter – it still worked.

Add the green pepper and onion and stir to mix. 

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Continue cooking until the pepper is well wilted, about 3 minutes.

3.  Turn off the heat, leaving the pan on the burner.  Add the herbs, black pepper to taste, honey, and mustard and stir vigorously to combine. 

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While still warm, spoon the mixture over the lettuce leaves and serve right away.

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Really – try it.  It's delicious.  You don't have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to like it, honest.  And one of the reasons I enjoy it so much is because I like warm salads.  I like the contrast between hot and cold, and I like how the warmth of the tofu mixture wilts the lettuce a bit.  And the combination of flavors – the herbs (I used frozen-in-oil herbs from last summer's garden – basil, mostly, and I think some parsley), the honey and mustard, the textures – the soft tofu and the softened-but-still-firmer-than-the-tofu peppers and onions. 

It's just…yum.

2 thoughts on “Valentine’s Day Ideas: Warm Honey-Mustard Tofu Salad

  1. Thank you very much for the kind words about my dish. I’m sitting around in my wife’s posh frock pulling at my knickers (Oh, I want to be English SO BAD!)and trampled across this page. I shall bookmark this for all perpetuity, or until my 9-year-old gets her tart little hands on the pc (Oh, I want to own a Mac SO BAD!), crashing it senselessly time and time and time again in a hyper-manic effort to earn more Webkinz bonus shopping points.

    Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Matthew

  2. Matthew – thank you for creating this fabulous dish! And for commenting! And for making me laugh this morning. Your daughter! I can relate – mine is only 4 and I can’t keep her off the computer. Which is why I have a laptop as well. Thanks again for stopping by!!

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