While many of us enjoy cooking and eating fresh food, the whole thing takes up a lot of time. Do you agree with me on that? This roasted tofu and kale pasta salad is not only flavorful and healthy, but also a time saving recipe that I strongly recommend. In 25 minutes, the spicy, tangy, and savory pasta salad with proteins, dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals will be ready, all in one bowl. It’s a fantastic meal to pack in your lunch bag and take to work, or even in your picnic basket.
In this recipe, I used penne pasta that I bought at one of my favorite local grocery stores, ALDI. They have a large selection of gluten-free products at a relatively lower price. I paid $1.28 for a 16 oz bag of penne pasta. Although these penne pasta are made of 100% corn, they don’t have a heavy corn taste. Our family loves this pasta, especially my two-year-old son, Leo. He always finishes every piece on his tray, and then he’ll ask for more.
The tofu I used in this recipe is called pressed tofu. It contains much less water than firm tofu. However, the only place I can find them is in our local Asian grocery store. I often use this pressed tofu in recipes because it’s so versatile. It’s a great way to add protein to soup, stir-fry, or salads and turn a side dish into a main dish instantly. If I have leftover pressed tofu, I usually just freeze them and use them later. They are my vegan meat.
By the size of Leo’s big belly you would think he must be a good eater. Overall, he is. However, he is not very interested in leafy vegetables, unless they are mixed in soup, rice, or burgers. I have created many dishes with shredded leafy veggies he likes, such as Swiss chard lentil burgers and lentil butternut squash soup. In this recipe, I added some finely chopped kale and red bell pepper. I am glad he ate most of it with his favorite pasta.
- 10 oz penne pasta (gluten-free if desired)
- 9 cups water
- 14 oz pressed tofu
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups shredded kale (hard stems removed)
- 6 white mushrooms
- (optional) 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbs vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tsp crushed chili pepper
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¾ tsp salt
- 1 tsp soy sauce (gluten-free if desired)
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- In a saucepan, cook penne pasta in boiling water for 10 minutes or follow the package instructions. Pour the cooked pasta over a strainer, rinse with running water thoroughly, and drain well.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut pressed tofu to ¼” cubes, dice red bell pepper, finely chop or shredded kale leaves, and dice mushrooms. Set aside.
- Heat a sauté pan over high heat until it is hot. Add oil and wait until the oil is hot; approximately 15-30 seconds. Stir in pressed tofu and fry for 2 minutes over medium heat. Use a spatula to stir occasionally. Add garlic, red chili pepper, red bell pepper, kale, and ¼ tsp salt. Stir until the kales are wilted.
- Add the cooked penne pasta into the sauté pan and stir briefly. Add black pepper, soy sauce, and the remaining salt. Stir 1 minute until all ingredients are well mixed.
- Serve immediately for a hot dish if desired. For a cold dish, refrigerate for about 1-1/2 hours before serving. Serve with lime wedges for either hot or cold options.