Chinese Tofu Salad has loads of great Asian flavor with crispy tofu, crunchy veggies, toasted almonds and a light sesame dressing. Colorful, hearty with bold flavor and plant based protein, it’s perfect for lunch or dinner!
I love a good hearty salad and this Chinese tofu salad does not disappoint! Filled with crunchy vegetables, baked tofu, toasted almonds and sweet mandarins then tossed with an orange ginger dressing it’s both nutritious and crave-worthy!
This asian inspired salad is from the the Wait! That’s Vegan Cookbook by Lisa Dawn Angerame. The cookbook is full of real food with wholesome ingredients and I love that mission! On her blog Lisa’s Project: Vegan she shares plant based recipes that are down to earth and full of good taste. Other recipes that are cookbook inspired that we love include this chocolate peanut butter pie and chickpea loaf!
This salad is crunchy, colorful and most of all appealing! If you have been waiting to try a tofu salad, this salad is it. It’s perfect for a make ahead lunch or a hearty dinner.
Why This Recipe Works
- Entree sized salad: No wimpy salad here! This entree sized salad is not only delicious but high in protein, too!
- Nutritious: Plant based protein, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, carrots, toasted almonds, cucumbers, there are so many vitamins and minerals packed into this salad bowl.
- Flavorful: Seasoned tofu, a delicious orange ginger dressing and so many vegetables with their each unique flavor profile.
- Crunchy and colorful: Eating the rainbow never tasted so good and with a variety of textures from the cabbage to the soft tofu and juicy mandarins there is so much hearty goodness!
- Tofu: To season your tofu you will need olive oil, tamari, garlic powder, ground ginger, salt and pepper as well as extra firm tofu.
- Blanched almonds: Slivered blanched almonds are best as they won’t alter the taste and are great toasted.
- Tofu salad dressing: Garlic, grated ginger, apple cider vinegar, Mandarin orange juice, sesame oil, tamari, mirin and maple syrup.
- Salad: Napa cabbage, purple cabbage, shredded carrots, scallions, cucumbers and mandarin oranges.
- Cabbage: Not a cabbage fan, try romaine or kale.
- Nut allergy: Sesame seeds are a great substitute.
- Soy free: Try the same seasonings on chickpeas or roasted butter beans.
- Other vegetables: Try water chestnuts, sliced radishes, diced bell peppers, snow peas, or cilantro in addition or as a substitution to the vegetables in this Chinese tofu salad.
How to Make Chinese Tofu Salad
While there are many steps to this Chinese tofu salad recipe, many of them can be done at the same time which means it comes together quicker than you think!
- Make the tofu: First, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Add the oil, tamari, garlic powder and ginger to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the tofu to the bowl and toss to coat the tofu well.
- Bake tofu: Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- Toast the almonds: At the halfway mark for the tofu, toast the almonds. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange the almonds in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the almonds have turned a few shades darker.
- Combine salad dressing: In the meantime, to make the vinaigrette, add the garlic and ginger to a glass jar with a lid or to a dressing bottle. Cover with the vinegar and Mandarin orange juice, and let sit for 15 minutes to macerate. Add the oil, tamari, mirin and maple syrup. Cover the container and shake well to combine. The dressing will separate, so shake well before using.
- Assemble salad: To assemble the salad, add the cabbages, carrot, scallions and cucumbers to a big salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine.
- Finish and serve: Top with mandarin oranges, baked tofu and toasted almonds. Serve immediately.
- The easiest way to shred the cabbage and carrots is to use the shredding blade of a food processor.
- Add some cornstarch when tossing the tofu in the seasonings, it will add the best crispy crunch to the tofu!
- Marinate your tofu in the seasonings up to 24 hours for more depth of flavor.
- Add a splash of hot sauce on top of the salad if you like some tangy heat!
- A squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice before serving really brightens all the flavors.
While you will want to serve the assembled salad immediately, you can make the tofu, salad dressing and put the salad ingredients together and store separately. When ready to serve, reheat your tofu and toss everything together. You could even enjoy it cold if preferred.
You should store all parts of the salad separately. You can store them up to 3 days. When ready to serve just toss all together and enjoy.
This salad contains baked tofu, cabbage, toasted almonds and a sesame oil based dressing. There are many variations to tofu salad! You can serve it over mixed greens with cucumbers and tomatoes and your favorite dressing or you can go more exotic and add pineapple and savory ingredients. The choice is yours!
While this is subjective to each person, tofu is free of cholesterol and saturated fat. If that is your goal then it is much healthier.
More Vegan Entree Salads
Chinese Tofu Salad
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Pinch of salt and a dash of pepper
- 7.5 ounces extra firm tofu pressed for 10 minutes and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Mandarin orange juice, from a can of Mandarin oranges
- 1/4 cup sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 2 cups shredded Napa cabbage
- 1 cup shredded purple cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 4 scallions white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 2 Kirby cucumbers thinly sliced
- 1 can Mandarin oranges
- To make the tofu, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Add the oil, tamari, garlic powder and ginger to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk together and season with a little salt and pepper. Add the tofu to the bowl and toss to coat the tofu well. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on the sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes.
- At the halfway mark for the tofu, toast the almonds. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange the almonds in a single layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the almonds have turned a few shades darker. Cool and coarsely chop.
- In the meantime, to make the vinaigrette, add the garlic and ginger to a glass jar with a lid or to a dressing bottle. Cover with the vinegar and Mandarin orange juice, and let sit for 15 minutes to macerate. Add the oil, tamari, mirin and maple syrup. Cover the container and shake well to combine. The dressing will separate, so shake well before using.
- To assemble the salad, add the cabbages, carrot, scallions and cucumbers to a big salad bowl. Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine. Top with mandarin oranges, baked tofu and toasted almonds. Serve immediately.
- Tofu: You can use firm if preferred
- Salad greens: If you would prefer you can use less cabbage and use your favorite hearty greens.
- Other: You can add water chestnuts, snap peas, and diced sweet peppers for more crunch.
- Recipe by Reprinted with permission from Wait, That’s Vegan?! by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019.