Tag Archives: vegan

Citrus-Ginger Tofu Salad with Kelp Noodles

One of my clients loves soba noodles, so I’m always on the lookout for interesting soba recipes. This week, I came across a recipe for Citrus Ginger Tofu Salad with Soba Noodles on Food52, and I prepared it for my client, pretty much as the recipe is written. It is everything you’d want to eat in the summer — bright, refreshing, full of crunchy vegetables. I highly recommend the recipe as written.

The version I made for myself later in the week had a few modifications. For one, I substituted kelp noodles for the soba because I had them on hand. Why did I have kelp noodles on hand? I’ve been meaning to experiment with them for some time because I’m attempting to incorporate more sea vegetables into my diet. The trace minerals found in sea vegetables — including iodine, which was added to table salt to prevent goiters in the early 20th century — are especially beneficial for thyroid health and other hormonal functions. The noodles have no flavor or color — they look like glass noodles — and they’re crunchy. However, after the salad marinated in the fridge overnight, the texture of the noodles resembled that of rice noodles. Also, they’re a raw food, if you’re into that kind of thing.

I also modified the variety of vegetables in the salad, based on what I already had in the refrigerator. For one, I peeled and grated the broccoli stalk, a sadly underutilized ingredient. It’s sweet and crunchy, and it adds another lovely layer of flavor and texture to any summer slaw. The recipe yields a lot of salad, and I’ve been eating the leftovers for the past few days. (If you know me, you know that I hate leftovers, so the fact that I’m not sick of this salad yet is a big recommendation unto itself.)

Here, I served myself the salad without the baked tofu to accompany some seared sockeye salmon. For breakfast because I love a really savory breafast.

Here, I served myself the salad without the baked tofu to accompany some seared sockeye salmon. For breakfast because I love a really savory breakfast.

Citrus-Ginger Tofu Salad with Kelp Noodles
Serves 4 (generously)

For the Tofu + Marinade:

  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce tamari (or other soy sauce, such as shoyu)
  • 1 ounce toasted sesame oil
  • 1 ounce sunflower seed oil (may substitute: grape seed, peanut, raw sesame oil)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 package extra firm tofu

Preparing the Tofu + Marinade: Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit. In a bowl mix together orange juice, tamari, sesame oil, sunflower oil, ginger, garlic, maple syrup, and cayenne and set aside.

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place into a small baking pan without overlapping. Pour the marinade over the tofu. Put the tofu into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for 15 minutes more until browned. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the tofu and place onto a plate and allow to cool. Pour the remaining marinade into a bowl and set aside.

For the Salad:

  • Leftover marinade
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 (12-ounce) package kelp noodles*
  • florets from 1 bunch of broccoli
  • stalks from 1 bunch of broccoli, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 3 small carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (I used a variety of rainbow carrots)
  • 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 8 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preparing the citrus vinaigrette: Add the lemon zest and juice to the remaining marinade. Continue to add the orange juice, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and sea salt to taste. Set aside.

Preparing the salad: Rinse the kelp noodles in cold water and drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil, and blanch the broccoli florets for 30 seconds. Immediately strain the florets and rinse with cold water. Put the blanched broccoli florets, shredded broccoli stalks, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, basil, and sesame seeds into a large bowl and toss. Dress the salad with the citrus vinaigrette. Serve the salad topped with baked tofu and garnished with sesame seeds.

*You can find kelp noodles at Whole Foods and most health-food stores.

Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam, Take 2

In my last post, I had mentioned that I might make this Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam recipe from Food 52. I’ve decided to make my own variation on it. I didn’t read the editor’s note to the original recipe until the jam was already cooking — if I had, I probably would have halved the total amount of sugar in the recipe. The resulting jam is definitely sweet, but also complex and delicious. I decided to use half organic cane sugar, and half sucanat. I’ve mentioned sucanat before, and I really do love the deep molasses flavor it imparts — a perfect complement to rhubarb’s bright tartness. For the most effective use of vanilla beans, check out Shuna Lydon’s blog post about vanilla.

Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam with Sucanat

Yields approximately 1 pint


  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup organic sucanat
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 18 ounces rhubarb, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • pinch kosher salt


  1. Whisk together the cane sugar and sucanat. Split the vanilla beans into two halves. Lay each bean on a flat surface and scrape the interior out with a small sharp knife. Knock the oily interior into the sugar mixture and smush the seeds into it with your thumb, forefinger and middle finger to distribute evenly throughout.
  2. Place the rhubarb, vanilla-sugar mixture and water in a heavy saucepan with a generous pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Stir the mixture over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, stirring to scrape the bottom. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring and breaking up the fruit with the back of the spoon. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until the jam is thick, just shy of spreadable, as it will thicken when it cools.
  4. Remove the vanilla beans and reserve them for later use. Carefully spoon the hot jam into jars and leave unsealed to cool. When cool, screw on the lid and refrigerate.

Rhubarb: not just for dessert anymore!

A quick note about rhubarb. This week, our CSA fruit share included about 3 pounds of rhubarb from Briermere Farms, and I’ve been contemplating what to do with it. I’ll most likely make a few pints of this delicious Rhubarb-Vanilla Jam from Food 52 that I made last year, but I’m also thinking about savory uses for rhubarb. Rhubarb, in and of itself, isn’t sweet, but it’s most often paired with strawberries in jams, compotes and pies. I found this savory, Indian-inspired recipe for a Rhubarb Lentil Stew last year, and I thought it was brilliant. Usually, I’ll add lemon juice to lentil-based soups and stews to add that bright burst of tartness that balances out the earthy flavor of the legumes. In Mark Bittman’s recipe, the rhubarb provides not only the necessary acidity, but also complex flavor and texture to an already flavorful dish. As with so many of Mark Bittman’s recipes, this one is minimal effort for maximum pleasure. Enjoy!

Lentil and Rhubarb Stew with Indian Spices by Mark Bittman

  • 3 or 4 stalks rhubarb, strings removed, chopped
  • 1 cup orange lentils, well washed
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 dried ancho or other mild chili, optional
  • Salt
  • Chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Combine all ingredients except salt and cilantro in a saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cook at a steady simmer until lentils and rhubarb are quite soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove cloves and, if you like, cardamom pods. Add salt, then taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

The Obligatory Ramp Post

Always label your pickles!

Always label your pickles!

In case you haven’t heard, it’s ramp season. Ramps are generally celebrated for their aromatic, garlicky flavor and short season. Pickled ramps are on many menus these days, and I decided to give them a try myself. I got this recipe from Food52, and I have to say I’m quite happy with it. I didn’t have fresh thyme on hand, so I substituted with a half-teaspoon of dried thyme, and it worked out just fine. This recipe only uses the white and purple bulb/stem portion of the ramps. I reserved the leaves for sautéing. In fact, I pan-seared a pork chop from my butcher shop, and sautéed a few handfuls of ramp greens in a bit of the reserved fat rendered off from the chop with a sprinkle of salt. It was perfect.

Pickled Ramps Makes about 1 pint pickled ramps


  • 3 bunches ramps (about 1 pound), green tops and root ends trimmed off
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 slices fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ cups red wine vinegar
  • ¾ cups water


Leaves and Bulbs

Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the ramps and cook for 1 minute. Drain and run cold water over the ramps to stop the cooking. Drain again. Place the ramps in a medium bowl or mason jar. Add the chilies, thyme, ginger, and fennel seeds.

ramp bulbs ramps in a jar

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, red wine vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and pour this mixture over the ramps. As soon as they’re cool, you can serve them, or just cover and refrigerate.