Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tofu Salad with Sweet Pickles and Spicy Mustard

I am definitely a Wisconsin girl at heart-I love cheese, beer, sausages and almost anything beer-battered and deep fried. That being said, I also eat a lot of what many people consider "hippie"  or health food-tofu, whole grains, copious amounts of fruits and vegetables, all local and organic when I can get it, and I truly love those foods too (maybe this makes me a Madison girl at heart). In my opinion, too many people automatically dismiss tofu and never give it a chance when it is an amazingly adaptable and healthy ingredient. I'm definitely not saying tofu is ever going to satisfy a craving for a brat or cheeseburger, but there is a huge host of delicious dishes with tofu that can be immensely satisfying, just in a different way.

This tofu salad is a perfect example of a dish that while based on a tried-and-true classic (tuna salad), it is not pretending to be tuna salad in any way. Melissa Clark, author of the A Good Appetite column in the New York Times and cookbook author, created this dish while pregnant when she craved tuna salad, but wanted to stay away from mercury-dense tuna. Although I regularly eat fish, including tuna, the contrasting sweet and spicy flavors and texture of the tofu in this salad are immensely satisfying, and this a recipe I anticipate regularly incorporating into my diet and, of course, adapting many times over. In my book, one of the best barometers for a good recipe is that it not only produces a fantastic dish, but inspires the cook to experiment further, and this recipe succeeds on both accounts. While hardcore carnivores may not ever entertain the thought of trying out this recipe, I encourage you to take a culinary leap if you're not a tofu fan already, and just to chow down with abandon if you already are. That being said, I'll be watching the Packer game today with some homemade pizza and a cold Wisconsin microbrew in hand, but this tofu salad may appear on my plate in next few days, balancing out the indulgences of my weekend. I definitely live by the philosophy of "Everything in moderation, including moderation."

Tofu Salad with Sweet Pickles and Spicy Mustard
from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark
serves 2

8 ounces tofu, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced sweet pickle
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
Sliced avocado, for serving
Dark leafy greens, such as arugula or spinach, for serving

1. In a medium bowl, combine the tofu, scallions, mayonnaise, pickle, mustard, and pepper. Divide the salad onto 2 slices of toast and top with the avocado and greens. Sandwich with the remaining slices of toast and serve immediately.

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