It’s a good bet that anyone who has been vegetarian for any length of time has been presented by a waiter with more than one limp-looking bowl of iceberg lettuce. This nutritionally-sparse offering usually comes with a thin slice of tomato, a little shredded carrot, maybe a slice of raw red onion, and, if we’re really lucky, a cucumber slice or two. For ovo-lacto vegetarians, sometimes shredded cheese and maybe a half a hard-boiled egg are also included. Because that’s what vegetarians like, right?? Not any of the vegetarians I know!
As a result, I for one am not a huge fan of salads. There are just so many more interesting things to cook and eat! There are two ingredients that will always interest me in a salad, though: 1) avocado, and 2) a really good dressing. Avocados fill in nicely for dairy and egg, I think, in both creamy texture and the satisfaction you get from a little fat (although of course avocado fat is a “good fat,” a fact of which I have to remind myself).
I found a really good dressing at Trader Joe’s the other day — Asian Style Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette. Don’t let the jalapeños listed on the label scare you, it’s not terribly spicy, just enough to give a salad some flavor.
The other ingredients in my supper salad:
Trader Joe’s Baby Arugula Blend
cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 avocado, sliced
handful of marinated baked tofu cubes
Baking and marinating tofu gives it the flavor of whatever you’ve marinated it in, plus a pleasant, chewy texture (but not too chewy, ala the rubbery texture of frozen and thawed tofu). Press drained, sliced tofu for 20-30 minutes, then mix with marinade (in this case, my new favorite Trader Joe’s salad dressing), and spread in a single layer in a metal or glass pan. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, turning about halfway through baking.