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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Southwest Style Tofu Taco Salad

I've never met anyone who didn't love a good taco salad.  I stumbled upon a recipe for Chipotle Ranch from My Veggie Kitchen and it inspired me to create a taco salad of my own.  This particular Chipotle Ranch recipe is vegan friendly and calls for Veganaise, but I suspect that Greek yogurt could easily be substituted if so desired and would be quite tasty.

The tofu in the recipe is simple to prepare but is time consuming due to the draining and baking required.  I recommend getting the tofu started before preparing the rest of the ingredients.  Also, any black, pinto or similar type of bean can be substituted in this recipe.  If you have time, starting with dry beans soaked over night would be a great way to go!

I prepared this for dinner but you could certainly make a miniaturized version for a lunch.  I also served this as a buffet style instead of mixing it all together.  I prepared all the ingredients, mixed up the lettuce and taco shell with the dressing, then we built our own salads.  It worked wonderfully.

Southwest Style Tofu Taco Salad
  • 2 cups cooked black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 can golden corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 hard taco shells, broken into pieces
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice, cooked according to package
  • Chipotle Ranch (recipe below)
  • Taco Seasoned Tofu (recipe below)
  • Any blend of Mexican cheese (optional as topping)
  • Handful of cilantro (optional garnish)

1. Toss lettuce and taco shell pieces with desired amount of Chipotle Ranch dressing (this varies depending on preferences).
2. Transfer lettuce onto plate and top with desired amount of rice, beans, and corn. Garnish with tomato and onion. Top with Taco Seasoned Tofu along with cheese and cilantro if desired.

Serves about 4 as a main course

Taco Seasoned Tofu
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (ground dehydrated garlic, not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400F

1. Drain water from tofu. Wrap tofu in paper towel layers and place between two plates with heavy object on top. Allow to drain for at least 30 minutes. Replace paper towels at least once.
2. While tofu drains, mix together all taco seasoning ingredients. Store any excess in air tight container.
3. When tofu is drained, cut into 1 inch rectangles. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a skillet. When oil is heated, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of taco seasoning. Spread over bottom of skillet. Place tofu in skillet and toss well with oil and seasoning. Sprinkle a bit more seasoning over top of the tofu and toss well again. Let cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes.
4. Coat the bottom of a baking pan with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Transfer tofu from skillet to baking pan in a single layer. Squeeze 1/2 lemon evenly over top of tofu (this is to take some of the spice out of the tofu and give a little extra flavor but feel free to omit this if you like super spicy). Bake in oven for 30 minutes, flipping at least once. Tofu should look slightly puffy and slightly crisp on the outside.

Chipotle Ranch
  • 2/3 cups cashews
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegenaise or greek yogurt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Add all ingredients to food processor.  Blend together thoroughly until almost smooth.  Will thicken after refrigeration.

Makes about 2 cups.

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