Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Baked Tofu

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband is a finalist in the Salad’tude contest being held right now at Happy Healthy Life for a Napa Valley Culinary Adventure.  The fit really couldn’t be better, because while many people think of pizzas and burgers as the male domain, David is a salad lover through and through.  (Although he’s also happy for a veggie burger & sweet potato fries or a cheeseless tomato & pineapple pizza any day of the week.)

Several times a week we opt for salad for lunch or dinner.  It’s an easy go-to option, because we can use whatever we have on hand – kale, spinach, or green leaf lettuce, any kind of beans, seitan, baked tofu, roasted or raw vegetables of any variety, fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds…  And then there’s the dressing!  Even if we had salad every night of the week, it could be different every time.

I like to start the week by making one huge salad that can be pulled from for lunches, dinners, as a side, or as a filling for wraps or burritos.  A plus for having a huge salad around all the time is that it makes healthy eating convenient.  Let’s face it, people like convenience.  (I think that’s why so many people eat fast food.  Sure, some people like the taste, but even more than that, I think they like that it’s easy.)  If we make salad what’s easy, then that’s what we’ll eat.  When we’re too tired, too hungry, too hurried, or too lazy to cook, and a salad is what is ready and waiting, that’s what we’ll have.  (If it’s already in its own separated containers, even easier!) I love setting myself up for healthy eating by just having a salad on hand for when things are rushed.

The salad David used for his Salad’tude entry involves many classics from our kitchen.  The base is massaged kale.  (Just remove washed kale from its center rib, cut into bite-sized pieces, and massage until softened.  For more details, check out this video & post.)  Then it’s topped with carrots, celery, red bell pepper, and cucumbers.  It’s then tossed in creamy cashew dressing.

The two things that make this salad so completely craveable are the additions of roasted chickpeas & easy lemon baked tofu that’s been roasted in squares.  Outside of salads, the chickpeas are great with asparagus or broccoli on polenta or even by themselves as an alternative to popcorn for snacking.  The tofu is fabulous in slices on sandwiches, in a tofu Benedict, or cubed in pasta salad, stir-fries, or wraps.

Ready to get inspired?  Check out all of the luscious looking salads on Happy, Healthy Life.  If you haven’t already voted, it would mean so much if you’d consider voting for David, #6!  Thanks a bunch!

Easy Lemon Baked Tofu, roasted in squares

Easily enough for four salads

  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 10 oz. block Wildwood extra-firm tofu in an aseptic package or 1 14 oz. package of extra firm water-packed tofu, pressed
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Sliced the tofu into 4 slices width-wise.  With all of the slices on top of each other, cut into it like a checkerboard or Rubik’s cube, making a bunch of rectangular squares.

Combine extra virgin olive oil and tamari in an 8×8 glass baking dish or pie plate.  Toss the squares in the tamari mixture and bake for twenty minutes.  Remove from oven and flip the tofu squares.  Add lemon juice to the baking dish.  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.  (Check at 15 minutes to see if all of the lemon juice has been absorbed and the tofu is fully brown.  If so, it’s done.  If not, put it back in for five more minutes.)  Remove from oven and serve.

Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 cup

  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss chickpeas, nutritional yeast, and ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil on baking sheet.  Put baking sheet in the oven and roast chickpeas for 20 minutes, stopping once to shake the pans so that they roast evenly.

21 thoughts on “Massaged Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Baked Tofu

  1. awesome! Thanks so much for sharing your recipe! I love getting new salad ideas. I always forget about putting cooked things like baked tofu or grains in salad, but I think it makes the salad so much heartier. I will try this! :)

    • Definitely! A salad feels so much more like a meal when it has some hot elements, beans, or tofu. Especially in the winter months I’m a lot more interested in salads that have some warm parts too. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

    • Me too! On a list of my top five favorite meals, a hearty kale salad would definitely be there. David got that bow tie last year for his birthday. It’s convenient that it’s made of wood – no tying necessary!

    • Thanks, Caitlin! My preferred method is to make a huge salad at lunchtime on Sunday. We eat some right then and put the rest into containers for the week. It’s not that much extra effort when I’m already chopping to chop more kale, another pepper, carrot, etc. Then it’s done, but it doesn’t feel like an extra task.

      • I was unaware of the resurgence. I must get out from under the rock more often. I used to know how to actually TIE a bow-tie. But that was a long time ago (the first time bow-ties were in fashion for fashion forward guys)

        • David has tried again and again to learn how to actually tie a bow-tie but without much success. (That’s why the wooden one is so handy.) With your bow-tie knowledge and ability to fold a fitted sheet, you’re a jack-of-all-folding-trades! :)

  2. Pretty much the only way I remember to eat salad is if it’s all prepped and ready to go. Otherwise the greens just sits in the fridge drawer rotting away. Love all the different goodies you put in your salads. :-)

    • Yes! It’s so much easier when it’s all chopped and ready, isn’t it? When the cauliflower is still whole and wrapped in plastic sometimes it feels like there are too many steps between cutting it apart and eating. Once it’s all ready and in containers, there’s no reason NOT to eat salad!

  3. You can’t not love salads! They’re always a bonus to a meal, whether on the side or as the main dish. I love baked chick peas – normally they’re a snack for me, but I really like the idea of putting them in a salad. I wonder if the same thing would work for pumpkin seeds?

    • Baked chickpeas are a wonderful snack! When I first discovered that they could be roasted, I was eating them non-stop and putting them in everything I could imagine. I don’t eat them everyday like I used to once upon a time, but I still love them!

      Roasted pumpkin seeds would be fabulous in a salad!

  4. Yes, the salad that went with the contest! Would you believe I still haven’t roasted chickpeas yet!?! I gotta do it! And I have everything to make this. Lunch!

    • Somer, you need to get on that! It’s so easy, and I guarantee, one time and you’ll be hooked! My best friend isn’t vegan, but I got her started on roasted chickpeas. Now she can’t get enough.

  5. This is totally my kind of salad. I love making big kale salads because the kale is so sturdy it lasts for a few days. And I’ll take chickpeas and creamy dressing any day of the week. I hope you guys win! :-)

    • Yes, I love that about kale too! Even with dressing, it can still hold onto its oomph for a couple of days. You can’t say that about green leaf lettuce or spinach!

      David didn’t win, unfortunately. But the woman who did had a really pretty entry with fresh flowers in her salad! I trust she’ll have a great time in Napa.

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