Strawberry Beet Green Salad with Roasted Tofu

Thank you to everyone for your recent kind words of support! I’ve been a mopey and grumpy person since learning of my high cholesterol and am starting to snap out of it. Today’s weekly produce delivery gave me much needed inspiration and I crafted this wonderfully simple dinner tonight.

Tonight’s star ingredient is the golden beet, sweet and earthy. My produce shipment also contained fennel, strawberries, oranges, baby lettuce, red onion, rhubarb, spinach, and asparagus all of which you’ll see in the coming week.

My mother used to pickle red beets and to be honest it’s how I think of beets … pickled in a sweet/sour brine. Although I do enjoy my mom’s pickled beets, my goal in using it tonight was to focus on the natural flavor and not to mask it with any flavoring.

I was happy to see the these wonderfully golden beets arrived with their leaves attached, so I decided to prepare the greens as well. For me, any type of green is best when it’s blanched and tossed with a bit of balsamic vinegar. (a few strips of crumbled bacon pair well with greens too, but no bacon for me – at least not tonight)

I cleaned the greens and blanched for 30 seconds in boiling water then placed immediately into an ice water bath. Once cooled, I removed the greens to a colander to drain.

I peeled the beets and thinly sliced crosswise to create golden coins. The color is magnificent, truly a vibrant yellow. I blanched the beets for about 2 minutes or until they begin to become tender but still have some ‘bite’. Place the beets into an ice water bath, then remove and drain. Using paper towel, pat them dry.

I squeezed the greens in my hand to remove any excess water then placed into a small mixing bowl. I added 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion and a couple thinly sliced strawberries. Add about a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar and lightly toss to coat. I love the slightly sweet flavor of balsamic with the earthly greens and sweet strawberries. The onion adds a bit of crisp savoriness.

Mark of No Special Effects recently suggested that I use a ring mold for plating, so I decided to give it a try. I’m not one to get fancy with such things … but figured why not. Unfortunately, I don’t have a ring mold. And as luck would have it, I had emptied my recycling bin earlier in the morning. I made a tinfoil ring but then decided it was too flimsy and wouldn’t work. So, I did what anyone else would do (at least, I hope so) … I ran outside to my recycling bin and fished out a recently discarded tin can. I took it inside and thoroughly washed it, then removed the bottom to form a ring mold.

I filled the ring with the beet green salad then topped with a couple slices of the beets and a bit of strawberry as garnish. I added a few more beets to the plate and topped with a wonderfully good roasted tofu.

I’ve cooked with tofu a fair amount but have never roasted it. I looked through a few sites and saw that most people marinated it before baking.

Roasted Tofu

2 tablespoons reduced salt soy sauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon chili oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger (I used pickled ginger)
1 green onion, just the white part minced
1/4 cup water
1 lb extra-firm tofu

Mix all the ingredients except the tofu in a small bowl. Slice the tofu in 1/2″ slices and pat dry. Lay in the bottom of a baking dish in a single layer then pour the marinade over the top. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours or overnight if you can. Half-way through marinating, flip the tofu.

Heat an oven to 400 degrees. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes, then flip the tofu pieces and bake an additional 30 minutes. The marinade will reduce and caramelize on the tofu.

Overall, it was a satisfying and flavorful meal. The vibrant colors made it even more enjoyable — when food is pretty, it does taste better!

The beet green salad might be too simple for some. I liked the simplicity of it and felt the strawberries added a nice balance to the beets and greens. The tofu is fricken’ incredible though — a perfect dish for tofu newbies. Sometimes, the brand of tofu has a lot to do with whether you enjoy a tofu meal. I’ve noticed a great variance in flavor and texture from brand to brand. I used Mori-Nu and like it the best. It’s silky smooth with minimal soybean flavor.

So, there you have it. A healthy meal that is quick to make and even tastes good!

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Peter G May 2, 2008, 8:59 pm

    Great healthy creativity Allen! Its very inspiring to see what others can do when they put their minds to it. I love this whole roasted tofu idea..that I will def try…and those beets have an amazing colour.

  • RecipeGirl May 2, 2008, 9:21 pm

    I’m a beet lover, and I recently discovered those beautiful golden beets too. Roasted, pickled, love it all. I’ve never had roasted tofu though. The dish you put together is attractive and scrumptious looking!

  • Manggy May 2, 2008, 10:49 pm

    Oh, sorry, I think I’ve stumbled on to the French Laundry website by mistake.. :p That looks amazing, Allen… Honestly I was dreading your first post would be a cucumber sandwich (btw, I hate cucumbers), but this completely blew me away. I’ve never roasted tofu either– see, we’re learning from each other already :) Alton Brown marinated his in balsamic vinegar, I liked it too but it might be a tad too sweet for the healthy eating we are aiming for.

    By the way, I’m an introvert too (despite my manic ramblings on several blogs).. Thankfully no-one approaches me in the gym here (must be my faux mean/serious look again). I imagine that would not be the case in California, ha ha ha!

  • farida May 2, 2008, 11:51 pm

    You got creative again, Allen.This looks great and HEALTHY! I have never seen or tried yellow beets, and they look amazing.

  • Pixie May 3, 2008, 2:07 am

    haha I like how you were able to get hold of a ring mold- bought one myself to try to make my dishes look ‘prettier’ truth is I’ve hardly used it thus far ;)

    This looks truly delicious!

  • Peter M May 3, 2008, 2:47 am

    Look at you Allen, making healthy food look “to die for” and beautifully plated.

    You’ll do just fine and DON’T touch that cupcake!

  • Jen (Modern Beet) May 3, 2008, 11:49 am

    That looks absolutely delicious! I love beets in just about every form, but I never would have thought to combine them with strawberries! Tomorrow is Farmer’s Market day around here, so I’ll be looking for these ingredients! By the way, your blog’s design is fantastic

  • Arundathi May 3, 2008, 11:50 am

    that looks delicious! i love golden beets. I toast tofu on a pan with cilantro leaves, cumin powder and salt. Drizzled with some lemon juice, it tastes fabulous! :)

  • Ruth Elkin May 3, 2008, 11:54 am

    Wow!!!! How very creative of you! Never come across golden beets before, they look delicious.

    Can’t wait to see what you did with the rest of your shipment!

  • Helen May 3, 2008, 12:21 pm

    This looks great, I love the colour of those golden beets! I’ve never tried them before so I’m going to look out for them. Beet greens are such a treat too.

  • Jen May 3, 2008, 12:34 pm

    Wow– that looks gorgeous. I hope you’re not missing the things you can’t eat when you have such a beautiful plate for dinner.

    P.S. I am going to save my next tin can to make a mold out of it and attempt to plate with it- though I don’t think the result will come close to yours.

  • Allen May 3, 2008, 4:39 pm

    Peter G: Thank you — I think you’ll like the roasted tofu, it’s flavorful and I like the tofu consistency too.

    Recipegirl: Thanks! I have 2 more beets left to cook and think I may try roasting them.

    Manggy: Thank you, Mark — don’t like cucumbers? Finally, you’ve exposed one of your flaws :-)

    Farida: Thank you!

    Pixie: Haha — my ring mold worked well and it was affordable :-)

    Peter M: No cupcakes yet, but if I can find a way to craft a healthy cupcake, I most certainly will :-)

    Jen (modern beet): Thank you for visiting! Combining beets and strawberries may not be for everyone, so if you try it, let me know what you think!

    Arundathi: Oooh, your toasted tofu sounds good — will have to try that seasoning blend next time.

    Ruth: this was my first time with gold beets and I quite enjoyed them.

    Helen: Definetly keep an eye out for the golden beets. The color is just amazing and holds up after the blanching. I liked the flavor of them too.

    Jen: The can worked perfectly. I used one that green chillies came in, so it was only about 2-3 inches tall. As you can see in the photo, a few beet stalks poked out after unmolding but I didn’t mind :-)

  • Erin May 3, 2008, 4:47 pm

    You’ve definitely sold me on the roasted tofu! What a gorgeous salad. If this is your “diet” food than please sign me up for your next dinner party. Beets are so awesome. Now I want some beets! I look forward to viewing your upcoming lighter fare :)

  • White On Rice Couple May 4, 2008, 3:37 pm

    Roasted tofu is great!! I like to press mine with raw sesame seeds before roasting, giving the tofu more flavor.
    This is a beautiful dish and I feel healthier already!

  • Kristen May 6, 2008, 10:39 am

    This is wonderful! What a beautiful presentation.

  • Angela May 17, 2008, 8:59 pm

    What a gorgeous presentation — I love the ring mold idea. Nicely executed. This looks incredibly sumptuous for being so healthy. Beautifully done!

  • Aylin October 27, 2008, 2:42 pm

    I haven’t played with beets beffore. This looks so good -I must try it. I didn’t even know the leaves from the beet tops were edible. So they are just blanced, and tossed with balsamic?
    Tofu looks good,too.

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