Thai Chopped Salad with Tofu

serves 4

recipe adapted fromĀ Vibrant Food: Celebrating the Ingredients, Recipes, and Colors of Each Season

for the salad:

  • 1 16 oz. package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for broiling
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 heaping cups cubed cucumbers
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped in quarters
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Thai Basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 small heads Little Gem or butter lettuce, rinsed and torn
  • cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 1 small Thai red chile, seeded and thinly sliced, for garnish

lime dressing:

  • juice of 2 limes, plus zest of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

To prepare the tofu, place the tofu on a plate and weigh it down with another heavy plate on top. Set aside to press for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, to make the marinade, in a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, red chili paste, and sugar until smooth. When the tofu is ready, dry it with a paper towel and cut into 1-inch cubes. Add to the bowl with the marinade and toss gently to coat. Cover, chill and allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.

Preheat the broiler. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on a lightly oiled, small baking sheet, discarding the marinade. Broil about 6 inches from the flame for 15 to 18 minutes, turning every 3 minutes or so, until deeply browned. Set aside.

While the tofu broils, make the dressing. Whisk together the lime juice and zest, fish sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes until the brown sugar has dissolved.

To prepare the salad, combine the cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes, mint leaves and thai basil. Toss with about two-thirds of the dressing, serving the remaining dressing on the side or reserving for another use. Serve atop a bead of lettuce, topped with tofu and garnished with fresh cilantro leaves and Thai red chile.