This is a lovely way to pack in some raw ingredients, even in the depths of winter. The trick with this recipe is to get all the chopping, and the dressing, prepared and done in advance (take your time, it is almost a meditation in itself). We’ve adapted the recipe a little to suit, the original had kelp flakes in the dressing but we couldn’t find these in the depths of Gloucestershire! We also replaced raw butternut squash for courgette, simply because we found it softer and easier. Don’t be scared of using tofu – it absorbs all the lovely flavours, and, when dry pan-fried as here, takes on the most wonderful squidgy and dense texture. Overall, this is an extremely satisfying and bulky salad, fresh and snappy but with all the wholesomeness that wild rice offers, and a thick glossy dressing that tastes rich and decadent.
Yield:Four hearty portions
Level:Lots of chopping, but easy overall
Ingredients: The Salad
- 1 cup of wild rice
- 1 red pepper, cut julienne (or thin!)
- Half a red onion finely sliced
- 1 corn on the cob, cooked in boiling salted water and cut off in slices
- 1 cup of courgette cut julienne
- 1 cup of spinach leaves, washed and chopped
- One block of firm organic tofu
- 1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup of bean sprouts
- 1/4 of a cup of sliced spring onion rounds
Ingredients: Tahini and Tamari Dressing
- 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of two lemons
- 1/2 cup of tahini paste
- 2/3 cup of tamari
- Half a cup of bottled water
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoons of ginger, peeled and grated
- For the dressing, blend the tahini with the tamari, ginger and garlic. Add all the other ingredients except the oil, then slowly add the oil.
- For the salad, first wash the rice in cold water. Drain and place in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Turn the water down to a simmer and cook the rice until tender and the grain has popped. Strain and place in a colander to dry.
- Mix all the salad ingredients together except the corn and seeds, dress well and arrange, placing the corn shards through the salad as you go. Arrange the tofu on top, garnish with the seeds and drizzle with some extra dressing before serving.
Nutritional Value: REJUVENATING
Discovered over 2,000 years ago by the Chinese, Tofu began receiving attention in the Western world only during the 60s. Since then its popularity has skyrocketed as evidence supports its nutritional value. It is important to point out that the antioxidant benefits and the mineral value of this food are directly related to the length of its fermentation time. This is also a warning against cheap and highly processed soy products and an invite to just stick to good quality fermented varieties, of which tofu is top of the list. This salad tastes so good you may even be able to convince unwilling husbands. Yes, tofu contains phytoestrogens, which can help to relieve uncomfortable menopausal symptoms like hot flushes and loss of bone density. However, a study in China also found that men consuming the most tofu had 42% lower risk of developing prostate cancer. So, there!
Combined with the tofu are a rainbow of crunchy vegetables, such as red peppers, corn and bean sprouts – all rich in free radical scavenging Vitamin C, a nutrient that is essential for skin collagen production. You’ll also enjoy detoxifying onions, alongside iron and folic-acid rich spinach leaves. The wild rice and the seeds add extra bite to the salad, great additions that ensure you get an extra dose of youth promoting and brain calming nutrients, like magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, Vitamin B3, B6, B9, fibre, protein and healthy fats. The dressing itself also deserves praise as it beautifully brings all the flavours together, blending them into a zingy and creamy emulsion made with calcium rich tahini, immune boosting lemon, ginger and garlic, and mineral rich kelp flakes (if you can’t find them, don’t worry, it still tastes fantastic without them).
AN EXRACT ON TOFU
“She forks up a little nibble and wedges it in her mouth. “Yum,” she croaks.
Mrs. Wong looks pleased. “It’s made with tofu.”
I can’t resist. “Free-range tofu?”
My mother looks over at me sharply.
Mrs. Wong takes the bait. “Now, Cassidy, tofu isn’t an animal,” she chides. “It’s soy bean curd. Soy bean curd doesn’t need to roam free.”
On the floor below me, Emma lets out a little snort. I nudge her again with my foot. We’re both grinning at the thought of a corral somewhere with little cubes of tofu wandering around. “Home, home on the range,” I sing to her under my breath. “Where the deer and the tofu roam free…”
― Heather Vogel Frederick