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.
Penne pasta tends to be stiff when they are left in refrigerator too long. Warming up in microwave oven will make them soft again.