Sure, pesto is a classic pasta sauce, but did you know it also makes a great salad dressing? Bursting with fresh basil, homemade pesto is a special summer treat that can be whipped up in a food processor. Combine it with grilled tofu, sweet new potatoes and juicy cherry tomatoes and you've got yourself a refreshing meal that highlights some of the best offerings of the season.
First, soak your tofu in a rich Italian marinade that includes white wine, balsamic vinegar, garlic and oregano. I like to marinate mine for about 4 hours or overnight so it's nice and flavorful. A little while before you take out the tofu, you can get started on the potatoes. The just need to be boiled until soft and seasoned with salt and pepper.
Next, grill up your tofu and cut it into bite-sized cubes.
Now it's time to make the pesto! Start by grinding the garlic and pine nuts together in a food processor.
Blend in the fresh basil along with some nutritional yeast to help give it a slightly cheesy taste. It's also a good source of B12. Finally, add the olive oil. Do your best to prevent the sauce from separating by pouring the oil through the feeder in a slow, steady stream while the food processor is still running. The result should be a beautifully thick and creamy pesto.
Mix up everything you just prepared along with some celery, scallions, cherry tomatoes and baby spinach or arugula. Look at that - you've got yourself a fine looking salad!
Grilled Tofu Pesto Salad
Important: You'll need a grill or a grill pan to make this recipe. Also, make sure you have a few hours to marinate the tofu, or marinate it in the fridge the night before.
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat side of a knife
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2” slices
1 lb red new potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
3 cloves garlic, quartered
4 cups basil leaves
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups baby spinach or arugula
- Prepare the tofu. Combine all marinade ingredients in an 8” square dish. Add the tofu slices and coat thoroughly in the marinade. Keep covered in the fridge for 4 hours or more, flipping once.
- Cover potatoes with water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Drain and let cool. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
- Heat grill or grill pan on medium heat and coat with cooking spray. Grill the tofu 3-5 minutes on each side or until well charred. Let the slices rest until they are cool enough to handle, then cut into cubes.
- Pulse garlic and pine nuts together in a food processor until well minced. Add basil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, then puree until finely ground. With the food processor still running, add the olive oil through the feeder in a slow, steady stream.
- Combine potatoes, tofu, celery, scallions, tomatoes and spinach in an extra large bowl. Stir in pesto until well mixed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.