Forget groundhog day. To me, Spring is just around the corner when seasonal farmer’s markets start popping up and I switch out my soup pot for the salad bowl. Call me crazy, but I just don’t get salad in the Winter the same way that I do in the Summer. Since moving to
the arctic circle St. Louis this year, I’ve been very much aware of how the seasons affect my eating habits. Short, dark days are all about gooey mac ‘n cheese, one-pot meals and stews. I feel like I’ve been in hibernation mode for months; slowly burrowing out of my comfort-food hole ready to great the warmth with cool, refreshing foods.
Now that the sun is staying out until almost 7 o’clock, I’m filling my plate with lots of crunchy, raw produce. This salad is the best of both worlds, a hybrid winter meets spring. Chopped bok choy, cabbage, sugar snap peas, cabbage and broccoli topped with sticky sesame-ginger tofu. Cool meets warm, yin meets yang.
To celebrate the return of THE SALAD, I wanted to create a restaurant-worthy dish, one that’s not only packed with the good stuff, but has enough flavor, texture and protein to keep me satisfied for hours. Wimpy salads need not apply.
The base of this salad is Eat Smart’s Ginger Boy Choy Gourmet Vegetable Salad Kit. You may remember me mentioning how much I love their all-in-one approach to salad in my Food Finds last month. So, when they reached out to create a unique take on their Ginger Boy Choy flavor, my head started spinning with ideas and potential flavor combinations. Sticky sesame-ginger tofu is the perfect topping to this Asian inspired slaw.
These chef-inspired salad kits offer sophisticated blends of five+ superfoods and include everything needed for a delicious salad (even the dressing and crunchy toppings!). Perfect for those looking for innovative, convenient and healthy eating options that are easy to integrate into busy lives. Even before this partnership, I was on board with how simple they make mealtime. Great on their own, but better when topped with tofu. (or chickpeas! This marinade is delicious on cooked chickpeas, just throw together in a skillet and cook for 8-10 minutes until sauce is reduced.)
While all the flavors are great (Southwest and Sweet Kale, I love you too!), this bok choy one might be my favorite. Reminiscent of a slaw, it’s contains six superfoods that include sugar snap peas, carrots, Napa cabbage, broccoli, Bok choy and red cabbage, plus peanuts and a ginger sesame dressing. Topped with my sesame-ginger tofu and dinner (or lunch) is served.
While the cooking time is set for 50 minutes, the hands on-time is rather minimal. The salad part comes together in about 3 minutes flat, but the tofu takes a bit of prep to get that crispy, sticky coating without excess oil.
First, bake off the tofu cubes to dry them out. This allows them to soak up as much sauce as possible in the skillet! It’s 2 minutes of hands-on time, then 15-20 minutes of cooking time. The sesame-ginger marinade is the real star here, with ingredients that should be fairly common in most pantries. Though I think the taste of fresh ginger can’t be beat, you can swap in a teaspoon of ground ginger in a pinch. Whisk together, add the tofu and fry in a skillet for 5-7 minutes. That’s it!
- 1 package Eat Smart Ginger Boy Choy Gourmet Vegetable Salad Kits
- 8 oz. firm protein, pressed and drained (tutorial here or use a tofu press)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (substitute tamari for gluten-free version)
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons vegetable broth
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1-2 finely chopped scallions
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cube the tofu and place in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet.
- Place tofu in the oven for 10 minutes, then flip and cook 8-10 minutes more until just golden brown.
- While the tofu is cooking, add the contents of the Ginger Bok Choy Gourmet Vegetable Salad Kit to large bowl (vegetables and peanuts)
- Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a large, shallow bowl: soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, vegetable broth, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil, garlic and ginger.
- Once the tofu is cooked, remove from oven and add to the marinade. Let sit for 5 minutes until the tofu starts to take on the sauce, turning a light brown color.
- Heat a large non-stick or cast-iron (my preferred pan for crispy tofu without oil!) over medium heat. Add the tofu and sauce and let cook, stirring occasionally until sauce is almost completely absorbed and tofu is crispy.
- While the tofu is cooking, add the packaged dressing (I used about ⅔s of the package) to the salad and toss well. Divide among 2-3 plates.
- When the tofu is almost finished cooking, stir in the scallions and sesame seeds.
- Divide tofu on top of the prepared salad plates and enjoy!
More meal-worthy salad ideas:
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.