As I’ve said, I hate using recipes. In theory, they are fantastic. I love to read cookbooks cover to cover. I rarely, however, have a recipe in front of me when I’m cooking (baking is an entirely different story). This salad was inspired by a salad I clipped out of a magazine some time ago (not sure which magazine — searched it, if you know, tell me!) and I believe it was a Mark Bittman recipe. But again, I clipped this information off. Anyhow, I won’t post the original recipe, only my adaptations. This one really surprised me (in an amazingly delicious way).
Spicy Tofu and Beef Salad
- 1 container firm tofu, drained and cubed
- romaine lettuce, about 2 heads, rinsed and chopped
- 1/2c each copped mint leaves and chopped basil leaves
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, sliced
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1/4c lime juice
- 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
- 2 tsp dark sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 serrano pepper, minced
- 8oz. skirt steak, trimmed and cut into thin strips
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Putting it Together
- Combine lettuce, mint, basil, cucumber, and onion in a large bowl.
- Combine lime juice and all ingredients through serrano pepper. Whisk them together. Toss half of this dressing with the lettuce mix.
- Heat a skillet. Add peanut oil. Brown the tofu and beef with the salt and the pepper. Remove pan from heat. Add the remaining dressing to the pan to deglaze. Add this mixture to the lettuce mixture and toss.
**Again, if you know what magazine this came from, let me know — I’d like to link to the original. **
This salad really brings the HEAT. It’s great and unexpectedly spicy… like the slow burn kind of spicy. The mixture would also probably be great as little wraps in Bib lettuce or something. It tastes even better the next day – just don’t add the tofu/beef mixture if you plan to refrigerate for later. Keep in a separate container so the salad doesn’t get soggy.
Do you like to use recipes when you cook? Any favorite salad “recipes” for me to try during salad month?
Check out the other two salads from salad month: Laziest (and Tastiest) Falafel Salad, and the At-Home Pump Salad.
Have you checked out my running book club? Here’s my review of Personal Record: A Love Affair with Running by Rachel Toor. I’ll be reviewing What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami the first Friday in July, if you want to join in!
I rarely make salads for one. I’ll make a giant salad for M and I sometimes, or make a giant batch of salad fixins to take to lunch all week (like this), but a tasty salad doesn’t usually seem worth all the hassle to make for one.
What makes this salad so lazy? Well, first of all, it’s not homemade falafel. I tried out Dr. Praeger’s Falafel Flats (I was pretty happy with them!). Second, the tzatziki sauce was made in about 2 minutes with maybe 3 ingredients.
Here’s what you need:
- romaine lettuce (however much you’d put in one salad for yourself)
- diced onion (depending on how much you like onions… I diced a quarter onion)
- falafel (mine was store-bought, here’s a good homemade recipe)
- plain Greek yogurt – 2 rough tablespoons
- olive oil
- minced garlic (or garlic powder works too)
- salt and pepper to taste
- pita (optional) nice to toast for croutons
- chopped tomato and/or cucumber would be great… I didn’t have any on hand
Put it Together:
- (Optional) Cut a piece of pita into tiny wedges. Toast them for croutons. Set aside.
- Heat up (or make) your falafel.
- Rinse and chop your lettuce. Chop up your onions. Toss them together in a bowl.
- Dressing: Put 2(ish) tablespoons of greek yogurt in a cup. Slowly whick in olive oil until you reach the desired consistency (I wanted mine to be a little thick). Add in minced garlic (I LOVE garlic, so I kept adding and tasting until it was enough for me), and salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss dressing together with lettuce.
- Add falafel and pita croutons on top.
Believe me when I tell you that this is delicious. And clearly, I don’t really measure when I cook (or in this case, just put things together) so play around with it. I also happened to have some Alexia spicy sweet potato fries in the fridge, so I had them on the side.
I don’t rely on the freezer and boxed foods too often for dinner, but this was in a pinch and turned out to be awesome. It will totally go on my short-list of emergency quickie meals. Alexia fries are tasty, as well as most items from Amy’s and Dr. Praeger – I like to keep some things on hand in the freezer. I’d been on a hunt to find some tasty frozen falafel (note: don’t try Trader Joe’s – it’s TERRIBLE). Dr. Praeger’s was a tasty substitute for fresh.
What do you keep on hand for quick, emergency meals? Do you have any salad suggestions for salad month?
It’s JUNE! I’m so excited. This is my last month of school (oh, summer vacation, see you soon), and it’s the last few weeks before marathon training officially starts up. Here are some goals I’m chasing down this month:
- On the Run (and in the gym)
- Build base back to 20-25 miles/week. This will help big time before starting up marathon training in July.
- Kettlebell workout 6x this month. It’s an easy enough at-home workout that I can do after getting home from a runmute. I’ve just been too lazy to do it recently.
- Hit the yoga – hard. I feel like I say this all the time, but I’m constantly amazed by how inflexible I am. Really. It becomes more and more important for me to be flexible, but it seems that every day I get a little less so. In June, I’ll commit to 6 yoga classes. I’d like to do it at home, but I need many modifications (and lots of encouragement).
- Do a chin-up. I have the bar at home. And now I have the plan. I’m using this.
- One dvd ab workout/week (I’m looking at you, Physique 57 Arms and Abs)
- In the Kitchen
- June = Salad month. M and I dubbed one week in May salad week and it was awesome. With so much good stuff going on at the farmer’s market and the CSA starting soon, this June I’ll be eating different salads 5days/week. I’ll let you know what different salads we come up with.
What are your goals for June? How will you keep yourself accountable and/or reward yourself?
I’m a big fan of a good salad. I’m also convinced that the best salads are the ones that other people prepare. Read: was convinced.
This week at our house has been designated salad week. We tend to eat the same(ish) salad all the time. It’s delicious, but gets old pretty quickly and as a result we don’t each as much salad as we’d like to.
If you’re in NYC, you may be familiar with The Pump. It’s just a healthy, tasty fast-food-ish place. I’ve only been there twice, but both times I had the same exact salad. The ingredients were fresh and absolutely delicious. It was an amazing salad. And now, we’ve recreated it at home (and it was even better).
The mix is simple: romaine lettuce, shredded chicken (it was the slow-roasted turkey at The Pump), roasties (roasted sweet potato chunks), and guacamole.
And that’s really it. The guacamole adds a little heat and serves as the dressing. Mix it all up and it’s really delicious and is definitely a hearty meal (esp. for a salad).
What have you successfully recreated at home?
Yesterday was the weekly CSA veggie pick-up. This week’s bounty included:
- Swiss chard
- 2 squash (I’m not sure what kind yet – I’ll post pics soon)
Today I ate all the lettuce for lunch in a salad. I made a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and garlic – yum. I threw some parmesan cheese on top and had a Dr. Praeger California veggie burger with it.
It was delicious. I have found that the lettuce tends to wilt very very quickly so I try to eat all of it as soon as possible. For the rest of the items, I sauteed the chard in onions, garlic, and olive oil so I’ll have a veggie side dish ready for the week – I have a feeling that this first week of school is going to be very busy. I’ll use all the basil for pesto and have a few pasta meals this week. I’ve cleaned and cut the celery and bagged for lunch snacks. Not sure about the potatoes yet, but they’re easy and versatile. I’m looking forward to figure out the squash. I think I’ll do that on Sunday or so… I’ll let you know what I come up with!
Check out some of these articles that may be of interest…
Enjoy the holiday weekend!
Here’s this week’s CSA veggies. I knew that the prep work would take a while, so I had a banana to hold me over before I got started.
After my little ‘naner snack, I took on the corn. The corn is the biggest job – you have to peel, then cut all the kernels off. It kinda takes a while. I do have a trick for de-kernel-ing the cob: in a large mixing bowl, stand a cereal bowl upside-down inside to use as a stand. As the kernels fall off, they fall into the bowl. Check it out:
So cool, right? I wish I could take credit for such simple brilliance, but I’m pretty sure I saw someone on a cooking show do this at some point.
Anyhow, with all this corn taken care of, I reserved one cup of the kernels for the black bean enchilada bake, and made corn salad with the rest. For the corn salad, I finely chop a small onion, and toss it with the corn, a splash of red wine vinegar and some salt and pepper. Today I chopped up some fresh basil and threw that in too because I had some on hand. It’s simple, fresh, and really delicious. Some pics:
Whew! After all that corn work, I had quite a spread for lunch: black bean soup, a green pepper, some of the corn salad, and a few baked tortilla chips with some leftover monterey jack cheese from the enchilada bake.
I’m going to relax a bit, then figure out when/what workout I’m going to fit in today, then get back to the cooking and baking extravaganza!