Tofu is a common ingredient you will find in many Chinese recipes. I personally like to dress these white, mild flavored tender cubes with all kinds of spices. Sichuan style mapo tofu is one of my favorites. If you haven’t tried any tofu, this rainbow tofu salad, dressed with homemade spicy tahini sauce, will make you remember tofu in a good way.
I always have at least one package of tofu in our refrigerator, because I like how versatile it is as an ingredient in many recipes. I usually use soft tofu in soup or salad recipes; medium, firm, and extra firm tofu in sauté or stir-fry recipes; and dried tofu as stuffing for spring rolls and dumplings. Although tofu is bland and doesn’t absorb flavors very well while cooking, making a super flavorful sauce or dressing to coat the tofu on the outside is a fantastic way to make it appealing and yummy.
My mom always likes to prepare a tofu salad as a side dish that’s refreshing and easy to make. She simply sprinkles a pinch of salt, drizzles on some sesame oil, and then garnishes it with some chopped green onions. Taking it from there, I like to add colors and more spices to my tofu dishes in order to make it more interesting and appealing on our dinner table. I chose red and yellow bell peppers along with fresh cilantro and roasted peanuts to decorate the tofu. I use soft tofu in this recipe because the soft, tender, and smooth texture melts in your mouth. Mix together salt, tahini, homemade chili oil, soy sauce, and sesame oil to give it a thick but somewhat runny sauce to dress the tofu. Is that simple or what? You couldn’t believe how decorative and appetizing this tofu dish is.
My husband, Brad, is always surprised how fast I can make such an amazingly attractive and addictively tasty tofu dish. It’s a protein rich salad with vitamins and fats. It’s also a good choice for lunch, side dish for dinner, or even potluck.
- 12 oz soft tofu, drained
- ¼ cup diced yellow bell pepper
- ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
- 2 tbs finely chopped fresh cilantro
- (optional) ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
- 1½ tbs chili oil
- 1 tbs tahini
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- ½ tbs soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Cut the drained soft tofu to approximately 1” cubes and then transfer them to a serving dish. Set aside.
- Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Without adding any oil, sauté the bell peppers until they are soft. About 3-5 minutes. Spread the bell peppers and cilantro over the tofu. Toss roasted peanuts over the tofu.
- Mix together all spicy tahini dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the tofu. Serve immediately at room temperature or cold.