Quick & Easy Lunch: Curried Tofu Salad

Curried Tofu Salad: An easy & delicious lunch!I realize that at one week before Christmas when people are making holiday feasts and desserts aplenty, it seems like a weird time to share a cold tofu salad. But hear me out! When the frenzy of end of year preparations is taking hold, it’s nice to have something quick, easy, and at the ready for lunch or dinner before you dash out the door. This curried tofu salad comes together in 10 minutes, and if you make it ahead of time, you can have lunch ready for several days.

Somehow whenever I have an appointment, I’m left at the last second scrambling for something to eat that won’t take long to prepare. Even when I think I’ve allowed plenty of time, it never fails that with ten minutes to spare I’m looking at a bin of produce and wondering how I’m going to turn that into something I can have in a flash.

At times like those, salad sandwiches are perfect. They’re filling and easy. They’re made with pantry staples, and for the most part, anything goes. Like the chickpea salad I posted this summer, I tend to use Vegenaise at the base. Then it can include additions like celery, onion, carrot, nuts or seeds, dried fruit, sliced grapes, diced pickles, stone-ground mustard, and/or spices. Depending on the amount of time I have, I can add a little or a lot. (In a major time crunch, I’ve been known to just stir together crumbled tofu, Vegenaise, kala namak, and ground pepper for a very basic eggy tofu salad.)

Tofu salad fits easily into a sandwich, tortilla, spread onto crackers, stuffed into a tomato, eaten in a lettuce leaf, or just plain right out of the bowl alongside of a green salad.

Curried Tofu Salad: An easy & delicious lunch that's ready in a flash!Even better are the times when I’ve made a tofu salad ahead of time, like this curried tofu salad. The flavors meld and deepen with time as it sinks into the blocks of tofu. Every day it sits in the refrigerator, it just gets better. (I think this one tastes best on day two!) When it’s already waiting and ready in the fridge, I can just add a couple of dollops into a tortilla, roll it up, and hit the door.

This curried tofu salad is based on one of my favorite prepared salads at my local Co-op. With carrots, onions, and raisins, it has a wonderful mixture of sweet and savory flavors. For spices, this one uses a simple curry powder. If you have a curry powder you like, by all means use it. I have two favorite curry powders from Penzey’s – sweet and hot. For this lunch offering, I use the sweet one, and then I add cayenne to taste for a bit of added kick.

Curried Tofu Salad: An easy & delicious lunch that's ready in a flash!

Curried Tofu Salad

Serving Size: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces super-firm vacuum-packed tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes*
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow onion, chopped small
  • 2 Tablespoons raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 3 Tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 2 teaspoons sweet curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon plain unsweetened non-dairy milk (I use rice milk.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon agave syrup
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Put tofu, celery, carrot, yellow onion, raisins, and sliced almonds in a medium sized bowl.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine Vegenaise, sweet curry powder, agave syrup, and cayenne.
  3. Pour the Vegenaise-mixture into the bowl with the tofu and thoroughly combine, being careful not to break up the tofu too much. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. The tofu salad can be eaten right away. However, for best results, cover and refrigerate the tofu salad and allow flavors to meld for several hours or overnight. The flavors will continue to deepen, and I like this tofu salad best after two days.

Notes

*I like to use the Wildwood vacuum-packed tofu, because it doesn't need to be pressed before using. If you use water-packed tofu, press it first.

http://cadryskitchen.com/2014/12/18/curried-tofu-salad/

Congrats to Michelle for winning the Oh She Glows Cookbook giveaway!

Forbidden Planet Pizzeria & Arcade in Iowa City

Forbidden Planet: Vegan pizza in IowaSurprisingly, it’s been six months since I’ve written about vegan options in Iowa. How did that happen? Well, I’m ready to make up for lost time with a pizza place in Iowa City that opened a couple of months ago called Forbidden Planet. It’s a small pizza shop and old school arcade with wine, beer, mixed drinks, and coffee drinks.  They also make a terrific Arnold Palmer with freshly squeezed lemonade (pictured below).

They offer three different kinds of pizza crust – deep dish, thin crust, and a square 6-inch metro slice.  Forbidden Planet is a non-vegan restaurant, but all three kinds of crust are vegan. They also have several different sauces that are vegan: traditional marinara, garlicky olive oil, truffle oil, and black bean sauce. (Their slow cooked marinara is not vegan. It contains cheese.)

Forbidden Planet - vegan pizza options in IowaThen they have all kinds of interesting toppings like roasted Brussels sprouts, arugula, basil, broccoli, carrots, and fresh jalapeno slices in addition to more standard ones like olives and red onion.

Let me just say – the pizza is fantastic. I love the interesting variety of toppings, sauces, and crusts. I can easily pick something totally different every time that I go, which is not always the case when it comes to vegan-ordering in a non-vegan business. Everything I’ve tried has been phenomenal, and my favorite pizza always seems to be the one I’m eating at that moment.

In addition to the truffle & potato pizza with truffle oil at the top of this post, here are some things we’ve tried so far:

Forbidden planet: vegan pizza in Iowa CityLook at those bubbles! This thin crust pizza has roasted Brussels sprouts, red onions, and mushrooms on a thin crust with garlicky olive oil.

Chicago style deep dish pizza at Forbidden Planet in Iowa CityThis monster-sized Chicago style deep dish is crazy filling. We loaded it up with traditional marinara, jalapeno slices, pineapple, and black olives.

Taco pizza at Forbidden Planet in Iowa CityHere the black bean spread is a base for a taco pizza with roasted red pepper, fresh tomato, and lettuce.

Taco pizza slice with Kettle chips - Forbidden Planet in Iowa CityThen we smuggled in some Salsa Picante Kettle Chips for a true taco pizza experience. (They have Doritos on the menu, but those aren’t vegan.)

Metro slice at Forbidden Planet in Iowa CityThis is their single serving 6 inch metro slice. For my toppings I went with black olives, roasted Brussels sprouts, and red onion with a garlicky olive oil topping.

Forbidden Planet: vegan pizza options in Iowa CityForbidden Planet: vegan pizza options in Iowa CityThen while you wait, grab some tokens to play arcade games or pinball. David is into GORF and Junior Pac-Man, but I’m all over the pinball. Two of their pinball machines are Doctor Who and The Wizard of Oz. So awesome!

Forbidden Planet: Vegan pizza in Iowa CityFor games, pizza, and drinks, Forbidden Planet really delivers. (Except that they don’t actually deliver. Confusing, I know.) As good as they already are, if I could make some dream additions they would be Italian seitan sausage and/or seitan chorizo from Upton’s Naturals, the aforementioned salsa picante Kettle Chips, non-dairy milk for their coffee drinks, and some kind of homemade non-dairy cheese like the rinotta at Pizza Luce in the Twin Cities.

If you should ever find yourself in Eastern Iowa, make a point of checking out Forbidden Planet. You won’t regret it.

For more vegan options in Iowa, check out my Iowa travel page.

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