Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eating Clean - The Simple Salad with Baked Tofu

One of the most practical slices of dietary advice I've ever heard was from the Chef teaching the vegetarian culinary arts course I took last year.

She said that to occasionally indulge is human, and even healthy (mentally) in the long term, as long as its followed by eating extra clean for two to three days following said indulgence.

As I've been known to indulge a time or two, I decided to try to put this rule into practice and see what happened.... I think it works! Usually, if I scarf down a high sugar, high fat dessert or too much creamy-sauce pasta or have an extra glass of red wine, I have a reminder of it the next morning on that annoying electronic gizmo that I reluctantly step on in the bathroom, the scales.

So, on day one, two, and three after said indulgence I now pass by the scales, skip the processed food, and opt instead for healthy fruit and veggie snacks and properly portioned healthy homemade soups or salads for lunches and dinners. My next date with the scale usually shows no evidence of any dietary transgressions! Based on this very unscientific study, I've adopted this practice into my usual eating patterns.

Last night I attended a friend's birthday party and partook of several yummy b-day desserts that were on offer without guilt because I knew today would be eat-clean day number one.

Dinner -
The Simple Salad

4 cups mixed salad greens
2 green onions, chopped
1" english cucumber, thinly sliced

1 tsp dijon mustard
1 T lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Assemble salad greens, cucumber and green onion in a large salad bowl.

For dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, mustard, and salt and pepper until combined. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until emulsified. Drizzle desired amount over salad.

You can use any veggies you have on hand, such as thinly sliced red or yellow peppers, zucchini, red onion, or diced tomato. I just happened to have cucumber and green onion so that's what I used today.

The salad can be served with or without topping. Today I had leftover baked tofu so I topped the salad with it. Here's the recipe, from one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, The Artful Vegan, Fresh Flavors From The Millennium Restaurant (I've abbreviated the method slightly but the recipe is unchanged):

Baked Tofu

1 pound firm tofu
1/4 cup tamari
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the tofu in half lengthwise and then in thirds across the widths, making slices about 1/2 to 2/3 inch thick.

Combine the tamari, maple syrup and sesame oil in a medium bowl, dip the tofu in the marinade and place on a baking sheet. I sprinkled sesame seeds over the tofu to make it look pretty and add a crunch, but that's not part of the original recipe....go ahead, make it your own!

Bake for 20 minutes, turning the tofu over to brush with any remaining marinade and bake for another 20 minutes or until tofu is caramel brown. Remove from oven, cool and serve.


  1. My husband does not like Tofu and I have been looking for a recipe that will really disguise the lack of taste. This sounds like it might be it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Chaya, I hope he likes it. This is a very flavorful recipe and it also gives the tofu a nice, chewy, meaty texture. If you freeze the tofu first, then thaw it and squeeze out the liquid before soaking in the marinade, it will soak up even more flavor like a sponge!

  3. This sounds like it might be it. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Thanks for this sharing. I love such stuff with green vegetables, fibrous foods along with simple food. I will have it with my meal.

  5. These recipes are so yumm and easy to prepare. Thanks a lot for sharing it and keep on posting the drooling recipes.

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