When I first saw this recipe, it struck me as such a beautiful dish that I knew I had to try it. And, well, let’s face it, it has avocado on it, so how could it be bad? But, the fresh combination of flavors and textures, as well as the fabulous presentation, just totally inspired me.
I wanted the dish to be more of a main course than a salad, so I added the carrots and the tofu. Red bell pepper would also be a great addition. I decided I wanted the bok choy and the tofu to be seared, again more of a hot main dish.
Everything in this dish works together to create a beautiful and healthy flavorful meal. The dressing’s a bit spicy with the creamy avocado working to balance it. The crunchy seared bok choy balances the soft texture of the tofu. The bitterness of the bok choy is offset by the slightly sweet dressing and the sweet carrots. The sesame-cashews add a wonderfully fun crunchy texture. And the colors of the dish are just gorgeous.
I’m really happy with the result of a fresh healthy main dish. Thanks so much to The Cafe Sucre Farine for a wonderful inspiring salad.
Sweet Soy Vinaigrette Seared Baby Bok Choy & Tofu with Avocado and Roasted Sesame Cashews
Adapted from The Café Sucre Farine
Serves 4 as a starter course or 2 as a main course
For Roasted Cashews:
½ cup cashews
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, white or black
½ teaspoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. Combine the cashews and sesame seeds in a small baking pan. Add olive oil and sea salt and bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until cashews are golden brown.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon dried ginger
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon Chili-Garlic Sauce
Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Close the lid, and shake until sugar is dissolved, and all ingredients are mixed well.
1 (8-ounce) package extra firm tofu, drained and rinsed
6-8 baby bok choy bunches, cleaned and sliced in half lengthwise
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and cored then diced into ½-inch pieces
Cut the tofu into ½–inch slices. Layer your cutting board with a clean cotton towel and three layers of paper towels. Place tofu slices on top of the towels. Place a layer of three more paper towels on top of tofu, and cover with another cotton towel. Carefully place another cutting board or cookie sheet on top of the towels. Stack something heavy on top of the board, like a cast iron skillet, a large can of beans, heavy bowl or other weight to press down on tofu. Let sit for at least fifteen minutes, and up to one hour. Pressing the tofu will help it absorb more flavor.
Marinate the tofu in the dressing for at least 15 minutes or even up to overnight.
Heat a large non-stick pan over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, add the marinated tofu, and cook until a nice golden brown crust forms. Turn tofu over and continue to cook until the second side is also nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side.
While tofu cooks, add halved bok choy, cut side down, to the same pan (if there’s room and the pan isn’t too crowded, otherwise, work in batches). Sear bok choy until golden brown edges develop.
Place chopped carrot in a microwave safe bowl and add 1 tablespoon water. Cover and microwave for 1 minute until softened. Drain.
Optional, sear the carrot and red onion pieces in the pan to develop small charred edges.
Arrange seared bok choy and tofu on serving plates. Scatter with carrot, red onion, and avocado. Drizzle with dressing, and scatter roasted sesame-cashews around the plates. Serve and enjoy!
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