Though I’m personally not vegetarian, I have clients that are. It’s been such a great opportunity for me to really sharpen my creativity when it comes to meat-free cuisine, and I’m grateful for that. Though I eat meat, I don’t necessarily eat a lot of it, and actually enjoy having some tasty vegetarian options from time to time to change things up in my own diet.
Salads or cold sides are a quick and easy way to experiment with meat-free dishes. Fresh vegetables, a good dressing, nuts and a little bit of firm tofu can come together surprising well to make a great tasting, simple and healthy salad that’s also on the hearty side, and packed with protein. Though tofu isn’t exactly known for being the most charismatic ingredient—-as it’s rather bland on its own–introducing bold flavors, as well as other elements that offer crunch and texture to accompany, is what’s needed. Because tofu’s so versatile, it can be just one little element added to other “starring” ingredients, making an appearance as more of a supporting character.
Vegetarian-friendly dishes should be able to be enjoyed by everyone, and shouldn’t be any less exciting and pleasurable to eat. As long as great flavors and textures are the main components, a satiated belly and satisfied taste buds will never even notice that meat was missing in action.
Taste what’s good and pass it on.
Crisp Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper Salad with Minced Tofu and Peanuts in a Tangy, Peanut Dressing
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Broccoli and Red Bell Pepper Salad ingredients:
12 ounce bag of broccoli florets, chopped into smaller pieces
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and sliced into small, thin strips
½ block extra firm tofu (about 8 ounces), finely minced in food processor
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
-In a medium sized bowl, add the chopped broccoli, the red bell peppers, the minced tofu, the 1/3 cup chopped peanuts and the cilantros leaves, and toss together; set aside while the dressing is made.
Tangy Peanut Dressing ingredients:
¼ cup natural, unsalted peanut butter
¼ cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
½ tablespoon water
1 garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
-In a small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until well combined.
-Toss the dressing with the salad ingredients until well coated, and check/adjust the seasoning, if needed; divide the broccoli and red bell pepper salad equally among 4 plates, and garnish with a sprinkling of the chopped peanuts.