Are you missing the pleasures of traveling to try new tasty, plant-based cuisine? We are, too! This Thai Tofu Salad recipe from the cookbook Vegan YUM is the just the right remedy for relieving your adventuresome appetite.
With each tantalizing bite, you’ll be transported to Thailand with its five, fine flavors of sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and spicy. This dish is utterly delicious because it has the best combination of cold, crisp vegetables and warm, savory tofu. In short, we think you’ll fall in love with this super flavorful salad and make it part of your weekly recipe rotation.
Healthy & Heavenly
Salads are way up there when it comes to eating healthy and filling your body with nutrients. If you think that salads are equivalent to just leaves of lettuce lying on a plate, you couldn’t be more mistaken. Having at least two different types of brilliant green veggies and then more colorful, crunchy additions create an attractive and appetizing dish that is filled with tons of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Spinach – High in carotenoids, vitamins C & K, folic acid, iron, calcium, and B-vitamins.
- Red Cabbage – Full of fiber, vitamin K and small amounts of calcium, iron, and zinc.
- Carrots – Bursting with beta carotene, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants.
- Snap Peas – Provides a powerful punch of vitamin C, protein, vitamins A & K, as well as folate.
- Red/Orange Bell Pepper – Large levels of vitamin C & A, as well as potassium, folate, and iron.
- Avocado – Heaps of healthy (monounsaturated) fat, fiber, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Tofu – Impressive amounts of protein, iron, calcium and all nine essential amino acids.
- Nuts – More monounsaturated fat (the good kind!), vitamin E, protein, and magnesium.
So, you can see that this Thai Tofu salad is just packed with all the plant-based power you’ll ever need in a day. Yes!
How to Serve Up Your Thai Tofu Salad
The best thing about salads is that they’re so versatile. You can pretty much throw any fresh veggies together and call it done. This recipe is incredible just as it is but, if you want to mix it up, here are a few fun, failsafe options to incorporate:
- Vary Your Veggies – This is a no-brainer. You all know that you don’t have to use the exact veggies in this sassy salad recipe if they repel you. Swap spring greens for baby spinach, tomatoes for bell pepper, string beans for snap peas, or even broccoli for cabbage. Make it the way you like it!
- No to Nut Butter – If your belly and nibbly nuts don’t mix, then nix the peanut butter and add in a creamy seed blend instead. Tahini would be terrific in the this recipe. Sunflower butter would work wonders, as well.
- Terrified of Tofu? – No need to run under the bed to hide from the terrors of tofu, aka The Sauron of Soy. You can easily replace the baked tofu with cheerful roasted chickpeas, quirky quinoa, or sassy seitan.
- Ramp It Up With Rice – To make this Asian-inspired recipe fill more bowls than just your own, let silky rice noodles or super sticky rice come to the rescue. Mix up a double portion of savory sauce to pour over both the rice dish and your Thai Tofu Salad. Makes several extra servings and is much more satisfying.
Equipment You’ll Need
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Kitchen Towel
- Mixing Bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Salad Serving Bowl
Jazz up an everyday salad with fresh herbs, baked tofu, and lovely nut butter sauce. For an even heartier meal, serve over a bed of rice noodles and add extra sauce. Absolutely divine!
10 ounces (283 grams) of firm tofu
- 16 ounces (453 grams) of baby spinach leaves
- 6 ounces (170 grams) of snap peas, trimmed
- 1 cup (110 grams) of shredded carrots
- 1 cup (70 grams) of shredded purple cabbage
- 3 stalks of green onion, finely diced
- 1 large red or orange bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large ripe avocado, diced
- ⅓ cup (6 grams) of cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup (80 grams) chopped peanuts or cashews (optional, for added crunch)
- ½ cup (125 grams) of creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of soy sauce or tamari
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) of rice vinegar
- 4 teaspoons (20 ml) of lime juice
- 4 teaspoons (20 ml) of maple syrup
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1½ teaspoons (3 grams) of minced ginger
- 2 teaspoons (4 grams) of red pepper flakes, more if needed
- ½ cup (120 grams) of water
- 1½ tablespoons (22 ml) of sesame oil, optional
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of soy sauce or tamari, divided
- 1½ tablespoons (12 grams) of cornstarch or tapioca flour
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the tofu into 1-inch (2.5-cm) thick slabs. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on a clean kitchen towel. Press the tofu by covering it with another towel and placing something very heavy (ideally a cast-iron pan) on top for 10 minutes.
Make the peanut dressing. Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, lime juice, syrup, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, water, and sesame oil (if using) in a blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Taste and add more red pepper flakes to make it spicier, if desired.
Dice the tofu into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes. In a shallow bowl, drizzle the tofu with 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of soy sauce. Toss it gently with your hands, then drizzle the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of soy sauce over it. Sprinkle the tofu with starch and gently toss until well coated. Add ¼ cup (60 ml) of peanut dressing to the tofu and gently toss to coat.
Place the tofu in a single layer on the baking sheet, with space in between each piece. Bake for 5 minutes, then carefully turn and bake for another 5 minutes, until browned and crisp.
Arrange the spinach, snap peas, carrot, cabbage, onion, bell pepper, avocado, and cilantro. Top with tofu and nuts. Serve the peanut dressing on the side. Toss with the salad just before eating.
For an even heartier meal, serve the salad over a bed of rice noodles and double the sauce. You’ll have leftover sauce, which I consider a bonus.
Keywords: thai, vegan, gluten-free, tofu, asian, salad, fresh, greens, easy
Simple Storage for Your Thai Tofu Salad
This salad tastes best when made fresh. Sadly, the tofu loses some of its flavor and texture after refrigerating. If you’re looking to prepare this Thai tofu salad ahead of time, consider cutting up your veggies and storing them separately until the day you wish to make your dish. Bake the tofu about ten minutes before you want to serve. Not recommended for freezing.
About the Author
Megan Sadd is the chef, photographer, and creator of Carrots & Flowers, an inspired vegan blog that is one of the top plant-based cooking resources on Facebook. She went from behind the camera as a producer of some of cable television’s most popular shows to the front lines of the vegan cooking world.
Megan launched Carrots & Flowers in 2015 to help new vegans make a smoother transition to plant-based eating. Her fun, quick, and easy video tutorials had fans begging for more. Megan’s work has been featured in magazines such as Thrive, Vegan Life, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Best of Vegan, and others.
She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and three cats enjoying life to its fullest and dreaming of vegan cheese.
More Asian-Inspired Tofu Recipes To Try:
- Easy Vegan Ramen Soup
- Yellow Curry With Tofu
- Tofu Kebabs
- Garlicky-Ginger Tofu Triangles
- Rainbow Spring Rolls With Peanut Sauce
- Tofu Guide for the Tentative Cook
- Slow Cooker Curry With Tofu
This Thai Chopped Salad With Peanut-Baked Tofu recipe was reprinted with permission from the Vegan YUM: The Secrets to Mastering Plant-Based Cooking cookbook by Megan Sadd (Page Street Press, December 15, 2020). Photography by Megan Sadd. Article written by Gina House and edited by Amanda Meth. Please note that this article contains affiliate links to help support our work at World of Vegan!