the ultimate salad with creamy citrus-tahini dressing

Salad. This word makes me think back to freshman year of college when I was living in the dorms and pretty much ate salad everyday. Let's just say that, in general, that experience has given me a strong aversion to eating a salad for a meal. But what if salads could be full of flavor and loaded with healthy fats, proteins, and vitamin rich veggies? Well, I am happy to say that I have found a salad is just exactly that! I can't claim this recipe as entirely my own because it was inspired by a salad from my favorite Ann Arbor restaurant - The Lunchroom.

This salad is filling and satisfying enough to be a full meal. The tofu, avocado, and pecans provide just the right amount of bulk and richness that every well-balanced meal needs. Plus, this creamy citrus-tahini dressing is to die for. In fact, please do not limit using this dressing specifically for this salad. It would taste absolutely delicious over roasted winter veggies or roasted potato wedges. My tip to you is to prepare all the veggies in advance for example at the beginning of the week, as well as the tofu. That way, after a busy day of work, class, etc. all you have to do is throw all the ingredients together in a matter of just a few minutes. I hope you all enjoy this one, comment below to tell me how you like it- I'd love any feedback that you have!

ingredients:

smokey tofu marinade-

  • 1 TBS of creole seasoning ( if you don't have creole seasoning, here is a recipe)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBS of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 package of tofu (16 oz.)

creamy citrus-tahini dressing-

  • Juice of 1 medium sized orange
  • 1 TBS of tahini
  • 1 TBS of plain, nonfat greek yogurt
  • 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

salad-

  • 2 large heads of romaine, washed and chopped into bite size pieces
  • 4 carrots, grated and tossed in about 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 jar of kalamata olives
  • Roasted & salted pecan halves
  • 1 avocado

directions:

1. Prepare tofu

Drain water from tofu package and cut tofu into 1/2" sized rectangles (should get 6-8 slices depending on how thick they are). Place between 2 cutting boards with paper towel above and under the tofu to absorb excess water. Place something heavy on the top cutting board ( I use a stack of plates from my cupboard), press tofu for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for the marinade. Once tofu is pressed, in a large tupperware container with the lid on tight, toss tofu in marinade and place in fridge. For the best flavor, allow at least 2-3 hours for the tofu to marinate. I recommend doing this step the night before or during your meal prep for the week. Once tofu has been pressed and marinated, place tofu in a large pan over medium-high heat. Allow one side to brown and slightly blacken on the edges before flipping over to the other side (about 5-10 minutes on each side).

2. Prepare vegetables for salad

Cut, chop, or grate veggies. Set aside. If meal prepping, place in separate airtight containers and keep in fridge for future use.

3. Prepare dressing

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for dressing until smooth and creamy. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

4. Construct salad

For each salad, place 2 big handfuls of romaine in a large bowl or on a dinner plate. Arrange 4-5 olives, 6-8 pecan halves, about 2 TBS of grated carrots, 1/4 of the avocado, 1/4 of the red bell pepper, 1/4 of the tomato, and about 1 slice of the red onion on top of the lettuce. You can add more or less of each ingredient depending on your preferences. Cut cooked tofu into triangles- I use 3 triangles of tofu per salad. Drizzle dressing overtop. Makes about 4 servings.


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