Before today, I’d never cracked the code on fried tofu. When I’d tried it before, it stuck to the pan. Or, I’d have to turn each individual cube to brown each side, which took five-ever. But after trying this recipe, I found it’s actually not that hard. So, I decided to celebrate this victory with a dish as festive as it looks: crispy tofu quinoa salad.
But back to crispy fried tofu…here’s how to NOT mess it up.
Step 1: dry your tofu
It doesn’t take long to dry your cubed tofu. Just put it between two kitchen towels or two double-layers of paper towels. Gently press the tofu with your hands to get the brine to release.
Step 2: use a ceramic pan
Too many times have I innocently thrown tofu into a pan of oil–only to be scraping it off the pan five minutes later. Yes, it’s edible. But is that any way to live? Please for the love of food, get rid of your Teflon pans. I use a ceramic pan. It’s better for your health–and for fried tofu.
Step 3: toss it in cornstarch
Before cooking, your tofu will look goopy and gross, but the result will be a crispy bite that (a) still tastes like tofu and (b) stays crispy even if soaked in dressing for a day or so.
Crispy fried quinoa salad: putting it together
Assembling the salad is the easy part!
I used quinoa, but brown rice would also work. Here’s what else I put in:
- bell pepper
- green onion (just the green parts)
There are plenty of possible additions. You may also want to include:
- daikon or radish
- sesame seeds
- pickled carrots, jalapeño, or daikon
This dressing pulls together the whole meal. And it’s super simple:
- sesame oil
- rice vinegar
- soy sauce
- honey or agave
Enjoy this crispy tofu quinoa salad!
Want to start a salad bar? 😉 Check out these recipes:Print
A hearty and flavorful salad combining crispy fried tofu, quinoa, and flavorful vegetables.
- 1/2 block firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- neutral oil for frying
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 bell pepper, any color, diced
- 1 jalapeño, roughly chopped (seeds on for fire, seeds off for mild)
- 1/2 bunch cilantro (or 1/2 cup chopped)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onion greens
- 1 small avocado (or 1/2 large avocado), sliced
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, grated or finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
For the Sesame Dressing
- In a small bowl, add all ingredients and whisk to combine. Set aside.
For the Crispy Tofu
- Cut tofu into half-inch cubes. Place cubes between two layers of towels and press with your hands to release excess moisture.
- Toss the tofu cubes in a bag or bowl with the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and shake or stir until evenly coated.
- Preheat a ceramic frying pan to medium. Add 3/4 inch oil. When the oil reaches 350 Fahrenheit, it’s ready for the tofu. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can check by lowering a piece of tofu into the oil. If the tofu bubbles immediately, your pan is ready.
- Add the tofu. While cooking, casually turn the tofu halfway through to make sure both sides are evenly cooked. The tofu is done when golden but not brown.
- Line a cooling rack with paper towels. Remove the tofu and place on your rack to cool.
Assembling the Salad
- When the tofu is room-temperature, you’re ready to assemble the salad. Combine salad ingredients (except for the avocado) in a large bowl.
- Add the crispy tofu and toss with dressing. Top with fanned avocado slices.
- Enjoy immediately.
Keywords: tofu, crispy tofu, fried tofu, salad, vegetables, sesame, salad dressing, vegan, vegetarian