One thing, among many, that I love about traveling is how much being exposed to new cuisines inspires me when I get back to my kitchen. The first time I went to Spain, I wanted Catalan Bread (toasted baguette, drizzled with olive oil and covered with tomato pulp from being rubbed with a freshly cut tomato half) with every meal. After coming back from our honeymoon in Greece, I craved tzatziki constantly. Maui made me realize that there were several ingredients and flavors I have seriously neglecting in my cooking.
Since getting back on my game in the kitchen (it took me a few days), coconut milk has been replacing almond milk in several recipes. I can't go a day with out my cacao nib fix. We have a large variety of dips to dip our veggies in (other than hummus) than we ever have before. Pressed and baked tofu has been a popular entree in this house, and pineapple has also become an ingredient that I crave daily. This salad is a culmination of several flavors we enjoyed in Hawaii.
If you like salads with a variety of textures and flavors, then this one is for you. The savoriness of the baked barbecue tofu, combined with the citrusy, juicy pineapple and the sweetness of the nectarine balsamic dressing is one of the best combinations of sweet and savory ever. If that wasn't great enough, it's paired with the crispness of the fresh spinach and edamame, the creaminess of the avocado, and the bursts of tart cherry tomatoes. It was delicious enough for us to have it two nights in a row and it definitely took the edge off our longing to be back in Maui.
BALSAMIC NECTARINE DRESSING
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ¼ cup + 1 T white balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup apple juice (orange juice would be good too)
- 1 nectarine, pitted, and roughly chopped (peeling is optional)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp powdered stevia
- ¼ tsp salt
- dash of cayenne pepper
- dash of garlic powder
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Chill for an hour before serving.
BAKED BBQ TOFU
- 1 package of extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed overnight or up to 24 hours
- 1/3 cup + 1-2 T barbecue sauce, separated (I like the Homemade BBQ Sauce from Veganomicon, if you want to make it yourself, but I just used Organicville’s Tangy Barbecue Sauce, made with Agave Nectar)
- 1 T balsamic vinegar
- 1 T Bragg Liquid Aminos (or tamari/soy sauce)
- Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease, or spray with olive oil, a shallow baking dish, such as a casserole dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, balsamic vinegar and Bragg Liquid Aminos. Set aside.
- Halve the pressed block of tofu, horizontally. Thinly slice the two blocks into two thinner blocks, so you have 4 tofu sheets, all roughly 2 inches by 4 inches. Cut each slice into small cubes.
- Place ½ the cubes in the barbecue sauce mixture and toss to combine. Use a slotted spoon to retrieve each cube, letting most of the sauce drain off the tofu. Place the tofu in the prepared shallow baking dish, and repeat with the 2nd half of tofu.
- Place the baking dish in the oven and allow tofu to bake for 30 minutes, tossing the pieces halfway through to allow them to cook evenly.
- After 30 minutes, drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of barbecue sauce over the tofu and toss to combine. Place back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10-15 minutes before using in the salad. You can make this a day in advance, if you’d like. After allowing the tofu to cool completely, refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use.
BBQ TOFU, EDAMAME & PINEAPPLE SPINACH SALAD
makes 2 entree-sized salads or 4-6 side salads
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1 ¼ - 1 ½ cup diced pineapple
- 1 cup shelled edamame
- 15 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ avocado, diced
- ½ recipe Baked BBQ Tofu
- ¼ cup Nectarine Balsamic Dressing
- In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, pineapple, edamame, tomatoes and the Nectarine Balsamic Dressing. Serve it in 2 bowls (to eat as an entrée salad) or more bowls (to eat as a side salad).
- Top with the ½ recipe (or more if you’d prefer) of Baked BBQ Tofu bits and avocado. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
How have your travels inspired you in the kitchen?
All Photos taken by Chris Miller
© Kristy Turner and Keepin' It Kind, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material (content and images) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kristy Turner and Keepin' It Kind with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Amazing flavors and textures, Kristy!!
Thank you, Annie!
Whoever said you can't turn salad into a full meal was LYING! That looks SO delicious!!!
Liars! All of them! 🙂
Thank you, Somer! My favorite kind of salad is a full meal salad!
You had me at BBQ Tofu! Everything about this salad looks amazing. I am a huge fan a varying textures in my salad - I love layering all my food/meals 🙂
I can't wait to try your BBQ tofu, seriously it looks so good!
Thank you, Heather! Yay for BBQ Tofu! If you give it a go, I hope you like it! 🙂
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
wow! that is one of the most gorgeous salads i've seen in a long time!! so beautiful!! thanks for sharing! it sounds delicious!
Thank you, Caralyn, though I would have to say it's right up there with your Pink & Purple Salad! I mean, wow!!!
Oh my, this is so gorgeous! This looks so fresh and full of textures as you say...I'm dreaming about how delicious the dressing and bbq tofu combo along with all the other ingredients would taste. Thanks for the inspiration, this is going on my to-make list for sure!
Thank you, Rose! Be sure to let me know how it goes! 🙂
Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack!
This sounds amazing! You have some tremendous flavors and colors going on in that salad, bravo!
Awww, thanks, Jackie! I appreciate that! 🙂
DAAAMN! That look so good! Definitely on my to-do list! Picture perfect photography by the way!
Thank you and thank you, Natalie! Looking forward to checking out more of your awesome site too!
Holy Deliciousness! you should take vacations more often 😉 this is one fine colorful salad and i cant get over that deliciously dark bbq tofu!
Thank ya! I just made the BBQ tofu again last night- deliciously dark is the perfect description!
Gabby @ the veggie nook
Wow, how could this salad be anything other than good?? Barbeque flavours go so well with pineapple and I love that you kept things fresh with a salad.
So glad to hear you had a lovely time in Maui (your pics are great!). If you miss it this much you must have truly loved it 🙂
BBQ and pineapple pair so beautifully, don't they?! It is pretty great! Thank you!
this salad sounds absolutely amazing! i love the combo of spinach, edamame, and avocado! two main salads? no way, girl, i'd eat that entire recipe in one sitting..and then ask for you to make me more. 😉
ps- i TOTALLY remember the catalan bread from when i went to barcelona! it was like a mandatory appetizer that they immediately brought to your table without you asking for it, but then they charged you for it! it was pretty darn amazing, though 😉
That's right! They would charge you for it- I totally forgot about that! It was pretty great, though!
haha yes! and i remember that on the bill, it was written simply as "pan", which is bread in spanish.
I'll just double the recipe so that way there's enough for both of us to have in one sitting! 🙂
This sounds so delicious! I love the combo of nectarine, pineapple, and barbecued tofu all coming together in one dish. Can't wait to try it!
I hope you like it, Cadry- it is such a great collection of flavors!
Holy! This salad is gorgeous! Nectarine dressing? Yum! I must try it asap! 🙂 The BBQ tofu with pineapple and edamame sounds heavenly. Awesome post!!!
Thank you, thank you thank you! You are just the sweetest, Courtney!
Maui inspired salad, how creative and perfect for the season. I love the vibrant colors and different textures. This just inspired me to whip up one. Thanks for sharing!
No prob! Thank YOU!
CJ at Food Stories
Oh, yum ... this looks so good 🙂
Thank ya, CJ!
Hi Kristy.. Thank you for sharing this recipe.. I fell in love with it when I saw it on pinterest.. Can't wait to try it.. heavenly!!!
Yay for Pinterest! Yay for you falling in love! I hope you enjoy the salad- let em know how it goes! 🙂