asian slaw with tofu

by Stacy

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.

asian slaw with tofu

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

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.

asian slaw with tofu

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

tater1112 March 29, 2010 at 7:53 am

Do you have any tips for frying tofu? Even when I press the water out, or freeze and drain it, even when I coat it in cornstarch, even when I try to make sure the pan is nice and hot, I end up with chunks of tofu and (separate from the tofu) delicious crunchy bits. Oh, how I wish those were connected to each other. :(


stacy March 30, 2010 at 10:31 am

Mine sticks to the pan unless I use cast iron or non-stick. What kind of tofu do you use? I tend to buy extra firm which is a little easier to fry, I think.


tater1112 March 31, 2010 at 8:27 am

I use extra firm, and a cast iron pan. But you heat the oil up, and sometimes I heat the pan and use cold oil, because I read long ago that was the way to do it…


stacy March 31, 2010 at 9:55 am

Hmm. I preheat the pan on low for a few minutes, empty, then I add the oil and let it get really hot before I add the tofu. Maybe I will pay closer attention next time and keep you posted.


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