Oh my Salad!

Greetings!

Never in a million years did I ever think I would start a blog, and here I am.  It goes to show you how time and experiences change people.  My blog gives me the opportunity to talk about things I love: fitness, FOOD, knitting, outdoors, reading, pets.  I honestly think had I never became a fitness coach, I would never have started a blog.  Coaching inspired me to try new things, create new foods, and dive deeper into hobbies that I currently have.  So, life is pretty sweet!

Speaking of coaching, I am wrapping up a fun Salad Challenge that I had running on FB and wanted to end with a bang.  I saved my fave salad for last, I had previously had cranberry chickpea salad and southwest salad.
Because I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures, running on the trails, fishing and sitting on the back deck listening to golfers holler, I whipped up a modified version of a salad I absolutely enjoy during the warm summer months.  It is a blend of pear, organic mixed greens, a light yet tangy vinaigrette, toasted nuts and I’ve taken it a step further to add a little extra zing to the dressing and some much needed protein.  FYI, when you’re seriously lifting weights, you have to be serious about getting some healthy protein or you’ll crash.  The original recipe came from a Cooking Light seasonal (you know, one of those $10 mini cookbooks you find seasonally in the magazine aisle as you kill time trying to find, oh wait, not really look for, your husband at the grocery store).  Anywho, the recipe totally inspired me, I love fruit and toasted nuts in salads, especially in the summer months.  Toasting nuts brings out the extra flavor of the nut, adds warmth and texture and gives you a dose of healthy fat and a bit of protein.

Just to point out, this was the first time this vegetarian baked tofu!  I KNOW!  I can’t believe it either, and now I can’t wait until tomorrow to bake the next batch for another salad.  It was delish.  I will definitely be experimenting with that some more 😉  As you’ve probably figured out, I like to prep meals and then cook them as I need them (unless they reheat well).  That being said, this is made for 1 person but I know you’re all smart cookies and can add as needed if you’d like to make this for the family.

Tofu-Pear-Walnut Salad.
1/3 pkg extra firm organic non-gmo tofu (pressed)
1 pear, thinly sliced
2 cups roughly chopped organic mixed greens
1-2 Tbl toasted walnuts

Dressing:
1 1/2 Tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp champagne vinegar
1 Tbl minced shallot
~1/2 tsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard
Dash pepper
Dash sea salt
Optional! ~1/4 tsp nutritional yeast

I added the nutritional yeast for funzies and it was delightful.  If it’s not your thing, leave it out.  The dressing is very nice without it.

So, let’s get cookin’!  To prep the tofu, I’ve gotten into the habit of rinsing it with cold water, then pressing.  I sliced the 1/3 into half, lengthwise then placed it between paper towels and put a heavy dish on top for about 15 minutes while the oven preheated to 400F.

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Mix up your dressing by adding all ingredients together and whisking.  Keep in mind that the shallots and seasoning will settle, so give it another whisk before you’re ready to add it to the greens.

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When the oven is ready, slice your tofu into cubes and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Pop it in the oven and set the timer for 20, be sure to toss the tofu about halfway through and one extra time if you’d like it to bake evenly.  When the timer goes off, check the tofu, if it’s golden brown and slightly poofy, it’s ready.

In the meantime, add your greens to a bowl and toss with about 1 Tbl vinaigrette.
Place your pear slices around the periphery of the plate (because it’s pretty and who doesn’t like to eat well-presented food).  Add your tossed greens to the center.

Toast those walnuts!  Place walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a toaster oven (if you don’t have one, pop them in with the tofu).  The walnuts will only take a few minutes, so keep an eye.  I toss them after about 90 seconds, when they are fragrant, pull them or they will burn and nobody wants burned nuts!  Add the nuts to the salad.

When the tofu is ready, add it to your salad and grab yourself a beverage.  I was enjoying this for lunch, so pineapple-coconut sparkling water paired well.  I imagine that a nice Pinot Grigio would also pair well (ahem, I’m just kidding, I know it pairs well).  Enjoy!  This is a lovely vegetarian salad packed with healthy protein and fat.

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I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!  If you do any modifications, please share!

Cheers.

P.S. My loveable rottie, The Mollinator, is woofing in her sleep at my side… 🙂  there’s a cute, happy thought for ya.

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