Chinese Chickenless Supersalad

This Asian-inspired salad packs a serious nutritional punch, and works beautifully as a power lunch, a light supper, or alongside fried rice or veggie stir fry. It’s a healthier take on the ‘traditional’ (really?) Chinese chicken salad – using two types of soy (tofu and edamame) instead of meat.

Unsurprisingly, this dish shines brightly when it comes to protein (15 grams for a moderate serving and double that for a Chana serving!) thanks to the soy-fest. More surprisingly, the calcium is impressive, at roughly 1/3 of daily needs (a team effort by the soy and the kale).

The tangy dressing really makes the salad. I figure the sugar and salt are well spent given that thyy are buying you a whole lot of goodness in the rest of the salad.

In order to keep this dish “lean and mean” I’ve omitted the fried wonton bits, but if you aren’t shy about extra fat and calories, go ahead and add them (or chow mein noodles)! Alternatively, try one of my healthier ‘crunch’ options below.

In my household, this generous salad serves two salad-ivores, but in most households, it will serve 4!

INGREDIENTS (SALAD)

  • 1 block medium firm tofu
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
  • 1 head kale
  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 mandarin orange
  • 1/4 red onion (or a few stalks of green onion)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • splash soy sauce (low sodium)

Healthy crunch options: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, rice crisps, puffed quinoa, bits of seaweed).

PREP

  • Rinse the tofu, blot dry with paper towels. Your goal is to remove excess water. You can do this by squeezing the block between paper towels, or, wrap the tofu in a paper towel and put it between two plates with something heavy on top (I miss phone books!) and leave it for 10-15 minutes.
  • While tofu is pressing, prep your greens and veggies. Wash and dry, then rip into small pieces into a large salad bowl. Finely dice red onion and add to bowl.
  • Prep frozen edamame according to package (I usually microwave a few minutes with a splash of water). Add to bowl.
  • Mince a clove of garlic if not pre-minced and set aside.
  • Once pressed, slice the tofu into 5 fairly thick slabs (1-2 cm each).

COOK

  • Saute tofu (or mock meat). Warm 2 tsp of olive oil (or 1 olive + 1 sesame) in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add garlic if desired. Place the tofu slabs in the oil. Quickly flip to make sure both sides get some oil. Then, cook each side for about 3-5 minutes. Add a splash of soy sauce at the end.
  • Once cooked, place tofu on paper towels, and cut into bite sized-pieces.
  • Add the chopped tofu to the bowl, then finish with mandarin orange slices and any chosen ‘crunch’ toppings.
  • Dress lightly or liberally depending on taste!

SUBSTITUTIONS

  • Instead of tofu, try ‘mock meat’ such as Gardein chick’n strips or pre-marinated extra firm tofu. They are really delicious and save a bit of time (no need to cook the marinated tofu). Note – some people find that the soy protein isolate and /or wheat gluten in mock meats don’t agree with them.
  • Swap orange bell pepper instead of mandarin oranges.

INGREDIENTS (DRESSING)

  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil (olive oil or canola)
  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar (or agave)

PREP

  • Mix all ingredients in a small jar and shake well.
  • Add extra soy sauce to make it richer / saltier or more sugar to sweeten.

NUTRITION

Salad (4 servings)

Dressing

The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA. They often do not apply to children.

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