Crispy Tofu Pasta Salad

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Sometimes being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean you’re responsible. Take last night for example. Instead of a healthy meal of lean protein, light vegetables and good-for-you carbohydrates, I ate pie. Not just any pie. A big, honkin’ slice of bourbon soaked cherry pie. With about 1 cup of whipped cream. Sure, it all sounds good and delicious (trust me, it was going down), but my stomach was less than pleased with my irresponsible behavior. As in, I laid on the couch with a budda belly the size of a beach ball groaning in pain. Which is why it was imperative I ate like a real person today, hence this stupid healthy (and insanely delectable) tofu pasta salad recipe.

I know, looks amazing. And it is! And unlike the other amazing things I’ve been putting down my gullet recently, this hasn’t given me extreme stomach pain or a lackluster self-worth. TOUCHÈ tofu, you win again.

I really don’t know how on earth I ever lived without this stuff. Tofu is honestly like a Greek god in my house. It’s protein packed, filled with healthy fats and has like 10 calories per 1/2 cup. (Okay, not 10, more like 88, but still). Plus, you can do some pretty amazing things with this jiggly meat substance. Like slather it in BBQ and grill it or put it in a cheesecake. Let’s just say me and mista tofu aren’t breaking up anytime soon.

Before this turns into an “ode to tofu”, I want to discuss this mac salad. Surprise to y’all, I’m sure, it’s actually not doused in cheese sauce and topped with bread crumbs. This salad is as light as they come, with just a bit of tangy vinaigrette and some caramelized vegetables. It’s lack of hearty sauce or crispy breading doesn’t mean it’s not full of flavor though, folks. It’s tangy, sweet and a little spicy, with just the right amount of textural contrast from the crispy tofu and soft noodles.

The moral of today’s story? Tofu salad good, boozy pie for dinner bad. Which is probably one of those things my parents were telling me when I was too busy listening to the best of Hanson or something on my portable CD player.

Crispy Tofu Macaroni Salad

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Serves about 8. Recipe adapted from My Recipes.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: About 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 15 ounces extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 8 ounces macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 3/4 bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh mozzarella slices (optional)
  • Mint sprigs for garnish

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • Liberal dashes of salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

Directions: 

  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Rinse and set aside.
  2. Cut pressed tofu into bite size pieces. Heat 3/4 tablespoon oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium high heat. Add tofu and cook until browned, about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove from heat and place in a warm oven to stay warm. In the same pan, heat remaining oil. Add onion and cook until fragrant. Add garlic and pepper and cook until soft. Remove from heat. Toss pasta, tofu and vegetables together.
  3. To prepare the dressing, whisk red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the tofu pasta and garnish with fresh mozzarella and mint. Enjoy!

Nutritional information per serving (1 1/2 cups)

Calories: 180
Fat: 6 grams
Protein: 9 grams
Fiber: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 24 grams
Weight Watchers Points:  5

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Comments

  1. Posted by RavieNomNoms on
    Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
    This looks amazing!! 
  2. Posted by kjpugs on
    Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
    This looks so fab and tasty!!! I need you to do an idiot's guide to tofu, though. You lost me at "drained and pressed." I'm always looking for healthier options but I will never buy it unless I know that I know exactly what to do with it... I literally don't even know what it would look like!!!!
  3. Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
    I love tofu. Even after I started to eat meat again, I still love it. But that pie sounds awesome, totally worth the pain, I'm sure. 
  4. Posted by Jill on
    Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
    I have never eaten tofu in my life but this might make me change that! I love that it has no mayo and no tomatoes in it (family with allergies). I might have to send the husband out to the grocery tonight. :)
  5. Posted by amy donovan on
    Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
    i looove tofu, especially if it's crispy, so this sounds awesome to me. Lovely pics, too!
  6. Posted by Baker Street on
    Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
    Oh yum! Love trying out new pasta salad recipes and the addition of crispy tofu sounds fantastic!