When a good friend came to visit us last week her only requests for activities were “hang out” and “eat cookies.” That I could handle. What worried me was the non-cookie food. This friend was a notoriously picky eater for many years and I was trying to use up some veggies languishing in our fridge before we went out of town.
Luckily when she asked what was for lunch one day and I jokingly replied, “How about some cabbage?” she didn’t turn up her nose as I anticipated, but said, “That sounds great!” After confirming that she had not been abducted by aliens and replaced with an impostor, I started chopping.
The original plan was to make a vinegar-based coleslaw for a salad and to come up with something else for a main course. Instead, I added a few tablespoons of yellow miso and peanut butter, then pan fried some small cubes of firm tofu for protein-packed “croutons” to make it a whole meal.
Before I started eating, my friend asked if I was going to take photos to post, and I said not unless she thought it was good. Her actual plan? While I took these pictures, she ate her whole serving and went back for more before I even started to eat.
The miso and peanut butter (I used crunchy) add some intensity to the dish, the sesame oil adds depth, and the tofu cubes give it some heartiness. We ended up eating just this for our lunch (I had seconds, she had thirds) and were full without being weighed down by a heavy meal.
Asian Slaw with Tofu
Serves 3 for lunch, 4-6 as a small side dish
The tofu was used as a topping, but next time I want to toss the cubes with the dressing. Your call.
1/2 head green cabbage sliced into thin ribbons
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup diced onion or 1 diced shallot
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup rice or apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable or other neutral oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
4 ounces extra firm tofu
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
1.) Combine sliced cabbage and grated carrots in a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
2.) In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine onion, garlic, and cilantro. Pulse a few times. Add the vinegar, oils, soy sauce, peanut butter, miso, and sweetener. Blend until emulsified. Don’t inhale when you remove the lid (trust me).
3.) Pour dressing over the cabbage and carrots and mix well until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate 20-30 minutes.
4.) Heat a cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of oil. Cut tofu into 1/2″ cubes. When the pan is hot, add the tofu. Flip the tofu occasionally until evenly browned.
5.) When ready to serve, add tofu to the slaw as a topping, or toss it together before serving. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.