Does the title intrigue you? I was going to put Veggie Ribbon Salad with BBQ'd Tofu and Veggies but I thought that sounded redundant even though that's pretty much what it was. I had left over eggplant and some beautiful beets from our trip to the farmer's market yesterday. The left over eggplant was really the 'butt' of my ribbons for the salad but I hated to see them go to waste so I grilled them up with the beets and tofu.
Yesterday was my day off; the sun was shining, Noodle was in a good mood, the house was clean (so I thought) and I had a migraine. Yes... I am plagued with migraines. I haven't had one in a while and I was cursing them more than usual because of the sunshine and list of potential fun activities that Noodle and I may not get to do because of my head. However, in true Pure Mama fashion, I sucked it up, had a strong cup of coffee, some delicious migraine medicine and got on with my day.
I was determined to go to the Wednesday Farmer's Market because I hadn't been AND I am no longer shopping at the grocery store down the street from our house so I needed vegetables. The no longer shopping at the store is a long story but it is giving me the opportunity to take advantage of fantastical places like the Wednesday Farmer's Market (Saturday doesn't get to have all the fun) Youngstocks, the Food Co-op and the market that I DO like which, unfortunately, is across town. I have also entertained the idea of 'Wandering Wednesday' or 'Adventure Wednesday', taking every Wednesday to visit a fun local place, see what they have to offer, share our experience etc... we shall see. For now, this was our informal, possibly regular Wednesday around town.
So, beautiful day beautiful afternoon and back to the house for cooking. I was excited to use the fresh veg I got at the market and simultaneously pull out the mandoline... one of my favorite kitchen tools! The salad was my first intention but it needed a protein so I made the hunky tofu to go along with it. Either would be great by themselves or paired with something else. The salad was a big hit with Honey.
Need: For the salad:
1 summer squash, washed and run through the mandoline (I will get to that)
1/2 zucchini, same as above
3/4 eggplant, same as above
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Sunflower sprouts... one of my new favorite things!
1 bunch beet greens, chopped (from the beets you're going to grill with this) For the dressing:
4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil (sesame oil would be great too)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ginger salt (can use regular too)
pepper For the tofu:
1 block tofu, cut into cubes
3 Tablespoons coarse ground mustard
2 Tablespoons pickapeppa sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
salt and pepper To grill:
the butts of the eggplant pieces
Slice the squash, zucchini and eggplant into quarters and run them through the mandoline on the lowest setting. Think thin thin ribbons. Put into a bowl. Note: speaking from experience, the salad will be a lot better if you don't slice off the first hundred or so layers of your knuckle. Yeah... I totall sliced my hand and it was not a pretty sight. Apparently it's one of those days; I did manage to salvage the salad though, so hooray for that!
In a shakeable jar, combine all things for the dressing: vinegar, oil, ginger, ginger salt and pepper. Cover with the lid and shake the heck out of it... regular readers, I know you always hear me say this but seriously, just shake the heck out of it.
Using no more than half the dressing, cover the salad, give it a toss and put it in the fridge, covered, to cool and 'total marination'. You will have dressing left over but you can use it so it's ok. It's that simple... so simple I feel kind of bad posting it. But it's good so I'll get over it!
While your veg is soaking, chop your cilantro and beet greens then move on to your tofu.
Cut your tofu block. To make awesome cubes, stand the block up tall and slice down the middle lengthwise. Then turn it, still on its end and cut strips. Cut each of those strips into chunky blocks.
Put blocks in a low container and add the mustard, pickapeppa sauce, tamari and salt and pepper. Give it a good stir to incorporate, cover the container and refrigerate for more marination.
When it's time to grill, turn on your grill pretty high. I like to cook at high heat because it makes awesome grill marks... better than low heat grill marks, but that's just me.
Slice your beets, throwing away both ends and leaving the outer 'skin' on. This may be controversial but as long as they are scrubbed really well I like the outer 'skin'. Plus the outer skin is where most of the nutrients are... like a carrot. Slice them pretty chunky... I got about four or five slices out of medium beets.
Sprinkle beets and eggplant butts with olive oil and salt and pull out your tofu. Give it a stir then put the blocks on skewers for easy handling.
Pop all that on the grill and let it go for about five minutes then turn. Cook another five minutes until all grilly and crusty then remove.
Pull your salad out and drain the extra dressing into a bowl. Add chopped cilantro and sunflower sprouts to the salad and toss lightly. In the bowl with dressing, add some beet greens and toss lightly. This will be your base for the salad.
I served individually. Start with the salad: on the plate pile your beet greens tossed in dressing. On top of that pile the marinated veg ribbons.
Neatly arrange your roasted beets and eggplant then rest a skewer next to the whole thing. I served some of the marinade from the tofu on the side.... beauty about tofu? One of the beauties is that you can safely do that and it makes great dipping sauce!