Blueberry Tamari Greens Bowl

Salad Samurai
This unexpectedly delicious combination of blueberries, cucumbers, and savory tamari dressing is habit forming. Served on spinach it is dandy, but if you can find delicate tatsoi (a Japanese green akin to tender bok choy) use that instead!
 
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 3 Persian cucumbers, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach or tatsoi leaves, torn into bite-size pieces, washed, and spun dry
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or Japanese red pepper blend (shichimi)
  • 1 cup 5-Spice Tamari Almonds (recipe follows)
  • Ginger Beer Tofu (recipe follows) or Lemongrass Tofu (recipe follows), chopped into 1-inch cubes (optional)
1. Place the blueberries, cucumbers, scallions, and greens in a large salad bowl. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil, sesame seeds, ginger, and red pepper.
 
2. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss to coat, and divide among serving bowls. Top with almonds and tofu, if using, and serve.
 
Look for the shichimi red pepper blend in little glass jars in Asian markets.
 
Tempting Tatsoi: I originally developed this recipe using this uncommon Japanese salad green instead of spinach, which unlike tatsoi is widely available year round. Similar in appearance to a smaller, slender bok choy with tender, sweet leaves, tatsoi adds a special touch to this Asian-inspired dish. Tatsoi has a very brief season: late spring through early summer.
 
5-Spice Tamari Almonds
Makes: 1 1/2 cups
Time: 20 minutes
 
These irresistible almonds are coated with a deep mahogany glaze and fragrant with Chinese spices. A simple weeknight project, these glazed, sweet, and spicy nuts are essential in salads and for snacking too.
 
  • 1 1/2 cups raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dark agave nectar
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 teaspoons chinese 5-spice powder
  • About 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt (such as maldon)
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a 13 x 9-inch metal or ceramic baking dish, combine the almonds, agave, tamari, and 5-spice powder. Stir until the nuts are completely coated. Sprinkle with salt.
 
2. Roast the nuts for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a sticky glaze forms. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the nuts to a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and use a fork to break apart any clumps of nuts. Once completely cool, store the nuts in a tightly covered container. Use within 2 weeks.
 
Raw Ready: Coat the nuts with the glaze, sprinkle with salt, and spread in a single layer on a solid dehydrator sheet. Dry for 8 or more hours as per manufacturer's directions.

Ginger Beer Tofu
Serves: 2 as a salad topping
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, most of the time inactive, including pressing and roasting
 
Baked tofu is bathed in a bright and gingery marinade inspired by sunny caribbean ginger beer. Adding a shot of rum transforms this dish into dark & stormy tofu!
 
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu or super-firm tofu (no pressing necessary)
  • 1/4 cup pure coconut water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon light molasses
  • 1 heaping tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
1. If using extra-firm tofu, press the tofu first. Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch strips. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the tofu. Add the tofu strips and flip several times to coat with marinade.
 
2. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the marinade has been mostly absorbed and the tofu is golden. Serve warm or chilled. Store chilled and use within 2 days for best flavor.
 
3. Alternatively, you may grill the tofu on an outdoor grill or in a cast-iron grill pan. Slice the tofu into 1/2-inch-thick slabs instead of strips. Oil the pan and grill the tofu in a single layer, basting occasionally with marinade and flipping once or twice until golden brown. Store as directed.
 
Dark & Stormy Tofu: Add 2 tablespoons spiced rum to the marinade.
 
For true ginger beer goodness, replace the coconut water with extra-spicy real Jamaican ginger beer!
 
Lemongrass Tofu
Serves: 2 as a salad topping
Time: 1 hour 15 minutes, most of the time inactive, including pressing and roasting
 
Zesty lemongrass tofu is great served warm or chilled, and it adds the perfect hearty element to Asian-inspired salads like green papaya salad with lemongrass tofu.
 
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu or super-firm tofu (no pressing necessary)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons tamari
  • 1 heaping tablespoon finely chopped fresh or prepared lemongrass
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil or olive oil
1. If using extra-firm tofu, press the tofu first. Slice the tofu into thin 1/4-inch strips. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat the bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch ceramic or glass baking dish with cooking spray.
 
2. Combine the maple syrup, tamari, lemongrass, garlic, and oil in the baking dish and whisk together. Arrange the tofu slices in the marinade and set aside while the oven is preheating, about 15 minutes. Occasionally stir around the tofu strips.
 
3. Bake the tofu for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the strips over. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, until the strips are golden and the marinade is absorbed. Serve warm or chilled. Store chilled and consume within 2 days for best flavor.

From Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Total time: 
10 minutes
Yield: 
Serves 2

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