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)

Toasted Walnut Banana Bread

banana bread

So, you know how it goes: grocery shopping on a Sunday, all the best intentions in the world… meal planning… fresh fruits and vegetables….dreams of juicing. Then a week and a half goes by and you’ve had takeout three times and, well, some sorely neglected produce is languishing in your fridge and on your counter.  There isn’t much you can do about wilted lettuce and bendy carrots but bananas… bananas have been waiting for this moment all week. In fact,  sometimes I buy bananas knowing full well that what I really want in my heart is BAKED GOODS. Thus is the journey of this lovely fruit from the best of raw fruit intentions to the inevitable destination of cozy, indulgent afternoon cakes.

This banana bread is very moist, I suggest serving each slice individually toasted with a dab of butter and an accompanying maple latte as shown. Remember, the next time you are in the produce aisle, there ain’t nothing wrong with smoothie dreams and banana bread mornings!

Toasted Walnut Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used cashew)

1/2 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup vegan butter (I used a brand called ‘Melt’, it’s coconut oil based)

1 cup brown sugar

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract, I just like the paste for the real flecks of vanilla)

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once heated, spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the milk and vinegar, stir and set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.

Combine the mashed banana, sugar mixture, and milk mixture.

In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients except walnuts and stir to combine. Don’t over-stir, just make sure the dry ingredients get wet.

Add the dry to the wet and stir to combine, then fold in the walnuts.

Line a 9″ loaf pan with either parchment paper or spray with an oil coating and a dusting of flour.

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes. Test to see if a toothpick comes out mostly clean.

Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before turning it out. If using parchment as I did, you can lift it out, with that pretty and crusty top.

Don’t forget to toast each slice with some butter and enjoy with a cup off coffee or tea. I mixed 2 shots of espresso-sweetened with maple syrup- with half a cup of steamed cashew milk….heaven.