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Post Thanksgiving Spinach Salad with Tofu

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

After a romaine-free Thanksgiving week, we are probably not surprising our readers with an idea for a much-needed Tasty Tuesday fresh spinach salad, instead of an early-winter hearty soup recipe, even though it's freezing cold and the snow seems to be falling in parts of the country.

We think this dark green salad with Japanese overtones from the NYT City Kitchen food writer, David Tanis, is substantial enough to be a main course makeup for all the fresh greens you might have avoided over the holiday weekend.

The garlicky dressing with miso, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce and splash of sake for fun should make you smile. The hearty texture, created with chopped cucumber, thinly sliced daikon radish and edamame beans, along with a shower of sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and slices of baked marinated firm tofu is filling and certainly satisfies the need for something green, after feasting on heavier foods all last weekend. 

As with most all of our Tasty Tuesday recipes, substitute ingredients to taste.


Ingredients for the tofu and marinade

½ pound firm tofu

¼ cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon sake

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon grated ginger

Pinch of cayenne

Ingredients for the salad

8 ounces medium fresh spinach leaves (not the prewashed kind)

2 tablespoons lime or lemon juice

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 tablespoons white or red miso

½ teaspoon grated garlic (from about 2 to 3 cloves)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (from a peeled 1-inch piece)

1 cup chopped cucumber

1 cup thinly sliced daikon radish

1 cup frozen edamame, thawed

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons roasted peanuts

Pinch of kosher salt or flaky sea salt


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tofu into 1-inch-by-2-inch pieces about 1/4-inch thick and place in a deep bowl or on a platter.

Make the marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, sake, brown sugar, ginger and cayenne. Pour marinade over tofu slices to coat well. Leave in marinade for at least 15 minutes. (You may marinate the tofu up to 24 hours in advance.)

While the tofu marinates, pick over spinach leaves and remove any tough stems. Swish the spinach in a deep bowl of cold water. Lift leaves from water into a colander. If you see any sand in the water, repeat up to 3 times, using fresh water every time. Drain well and dry spinach, then wrap in a kitchen towel and refrigerate until ready to use. (You may wash the spinach up to 24 hours in advance.)

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together fresh lime juice, brown sugar, sesame oil, vegetable oil, soy sauce, miso, garlic and ginger.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the tofu pieces in a single layer. Spoon remaining marinade over tofu. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly crisped. Remove and leave at room temperature.

To make the salad, arrange spinach in a low, wide salad bowl or on a deep platter. Scatter cucumber, daikon and edamame over spinach, then sprinkle with sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and peanuts. Tuck slices of tofu here and there.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt over everything, then drizzle salad with dressing and serve.

Enjoy and have a great week.

Ellen Troyer, with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

Nutrition and safety information

To be on the safe side, we have elected to avoid pre-washed lettuces and other greens at this time. 

Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamin A as beta carotene, vitamins C, K, folate lutein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.  

As you all probably know, tofu is gluten-free, low in calories and includes no cholesterol, while still being a great source of complete protein, iron and calcium. However, it also contains isoflavones such as phytoestrogens that may have both estrogen-agonist or estrogen-antagonist properties. So, excessive overconsumption of tofu may present some risks. The amount of tofu in this recipe is not considered excessive, particularly when consumed occasionally.