Sunday, September 8, 2013

Piquant Caesar Salad with Seared Tofu

This is adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe. You massage mustard greens in a creamy, pungent dressing redolent of capers, garlic, and lemon, add some blackened tofu rectangles, croutons, and flame-red tomatoes, and pretty soon even your salad-averse boyfriend is clamoring for more.

This is a vegan Caesar (unless your croutons have some milk product), but it's just as zesty and potentially obnoxious as if it were filled with anchovies.

for a hungry crowd of people desperate for something green




2 Tbsp capers
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
juice from one lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
squeeze or two of Dijon mustard
black pepper
white pepper


Main Players


2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
6-oz package baked tofu: Italian, smoked, or savory
one head of mustard greens
handfuls of croutons (I used Caesar salad croutons, but any type will do)
1 carton cherry tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise
two juicy sundried tomatoes that have been packed in oil




First, slice the tofu into thin rectangles.

Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. You may need more than one pan, as you'll want each tofu slice to have full-body contact with the metal.

When the oil starts to protest, place the tofu slices on the pan(s). After two or three minutes, flip them with a spatula. Sear them so that each side has crusty, blackened patches, like so. It's even better if the edges start curling like one of those mood-detector fish.

No squishy, flavorless soy cubes here. Set the tofu aside to cool when it has been sufficiently punished.

Now, put your capers and garlic into a food-processor. Blend. Add the tahini, water, lemon, nutritional yeast, and mustard. Whizz until you have a smooth paste.

Rinse your mustard greens and chop finely. Soak up excess water with paper towels.

Place the greens in a bowl and massage in the dressing. Add salt, black pepper, and white pepper and massage some more.

Chop your sundried tomatoes and add those, too.

Add the tofu.

If serving right away, mix in the croutons and as many cherry tomatoes as you like. 




  • I bet this would taste just as good with kale or some other sturdy green.
  • A few handfuls of crisp red pepper slivers would be a nice addition.
  • This makes a good lunchbox option for work or school, as the mustard greens are hardy enough to withstand the pressure of the dressing, as opposed to a flimsier leaf, such as arugula, which would curl up and turn into a lifeless piece of mulch.

 Getting ready for a nutritious workday




4 stars. You may not want to breathe on anyone afterward.

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