Berry and Avocado Summer Salad with Barbecued Tofu

berry avocado salad

I have been making this salad everyday for a couple of weeks now. It has all the perfect components for a summer dinner. The seasonal ingredients, the sweet and savory flavors, the cold ingredients easily thrown together in the kitchen, the hot ingredients cooked outside on the grill to keep your house cool, the bright happy colors- It’s summer in a bowl! If you don’t think you like tofu, you might not have tried it barbecued. I wouldn’t even say that it particularly tastes like barbecue sauce or feels like tofu. The sugar in the sauce caramelizes to a savory taste and the tofu firms up for a satisfyingly chewier texture. I like it better than tofu prepared any other way. This is an easy salad to throw together when you are having people over for dinner because it’s quick and looks so pretty. It is also packed with protein and  many healthy nutrients!

Berry and Avocado Summer Salad with Barbecued Tofu

Serves 2

6 oz of organic super firm tofu

1/4 cup barbecue sauce of your choice, or try this recipe if you want to make it from scratch!

3 cups baby arugula

6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 sprig of dill, finely chopped

2 green onions, finely chopped

1/3 red bell pepper, very finely chopped

5 strawberries, sliced

1/2 cup blueberries

1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and thinly sliced

1/3 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup balsamic reduction (you can buy this at the store- usually labeled balsamic glaze- or make it by simmering balsamic vinegar over low heat until it thickens, about 15 minutes)

Optional: 1/4 cup olive oil (I found that the fat from the avocados and walnuts was enough fat for me but to each her own!)

 

If you have bought a block of tofu, slice off two 1/2″ thick slabs, and slather them in the barbecue sauce. Heat up the grill to medium high heat and grease it with a little oil. Once the grill is piping hot, lay the tofu slabs on there and grill for about 10 minutes per side, or until you get those nice dark grill marks.  If you don’t have a grill, you can put them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning once halfway through. I even make these in my toaster oven to keep the heat in the kitchen to a minimum.

While the tofu is cooking, get a big serving plate and spread out the arugula. On top of the arugula, sprinkle the basil, dill, green onions, and bell pepper evenly. Then, layer the strawberries and blue berries evenly. Do the same for the avocado and walnuts. I like to make a nice pattern and space everything out in an even, radial design. But, if you are not crazy like me and just throw everything on there, it will still be just as pretty, haha.

Finally, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve with the barbecued tofu slab on top. If you want you can slice the tofu up, which is what I did after taking the picture.

Happy Summer!

 

berry avocado summer salad (1)

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Fresh Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction

Fresh Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction

Bruschetta is one of my favorite foods of all time. When my husband and I went to Italy, I made sure to get bruschetta at every single restaurant we went to, so that I would really get a feel for how it is supposed to be made. I also got scolded by a waitress when I pronounced it ‘Brooshetta’, so make sure you are saying it with that hard ‘C’! It still feels a little clunky to me but I guess that’s the proper pronunciation. It comes together really quickly, and you can do all the chopping the night before to save time as well. I made these for a BBQ, so I toasted the bread right on the grill, which turned out great, but you can also just use your oven.

 

Fresh Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction

makes 12 servings

12 slices of fresh french bread (or any crusty rustic bread)

20 ounces of grape tomatoes

2 shallots

8 cloves of garlic

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup first cold pressed olive oil, divided in half

2 tbs plus 1 cup balsamic vinegar

salt to taste

Chop the tomatoes and put them in a medium mixing bowl. (it’s more work to chop these small tomatoes as opposed to Roma or Beefsteak, but I find that smaller tomatoes have much more flavor.) Peel and mince the shallot and garlic very finely, add to the tomatoes. Chop the basil into a thin chiffonade and add to the other ingredients. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil, the 2 tbs of balsamic, and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to combine and set aside.

In a small sauce pan, bring the 1 cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium heat, then bring the heat down to low and allow it to simmer until it reduces by half. The longer you let it go, the thicker it will get, I like it to be thick and syrupy. Allow it to cool.

Meanwhile brush both sides of each piece of bread with the remaining olive oil and toast it/grill it until it’s nice and golden.

To serve, scoop a little mound of the tomato mixture onto each toast and lightly drizzle it with the balsamic reduction. The balsamic becomes VERY sweet and intense when reduced, so drizzle lightly, more lightly than what is pictured!

Bruschetta with Balsamic Reduction