Friday, January 6, 2012

avocado, clementine and tofu•quinoa salad

I do love the holidays, but I always come out of them feeling run-down and asking myself a lot of questions, like, "When was the last time I went to the gym?", "When was the last time I consumed a whole grain?" and "Why are my skinny jeans so much skinnier than they used to be?".
This meal may just be an (indirect) answer to many of my questions.  What I need is something simple and fresh, yet satisfying enough to keep me away from those glazed nuts we still have laying around.  It was inspired by a recipe that recently ran in Sunset Magazine and the fact that clementines are in abundance at the supermarket (and my kitchen) right now.  It was veganized (and therefore made more awesome) by yours truly.
While quinoa is not technically a grain, take heart that you're eating what many call a "supergrain" for it's awesome protein content.  This, along with the tofu and healthy fats in the avocado mean it will satisfy you like no Christmas cookie can.
Now I just need to get to the gym sometime this year...

the veggies:

-for the quinoa
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water*

-for the tofu
  • olive oil, for prepping your pan
  • 14 to 16 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice and zest from 1 key lime or 1/2 Persian (regular) lime**
  • 2 TBS soy sauce

-for the rest
  • 5 clementines, peeled and segmented
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 1/2 bunch)
  • juice and zest from 1 key lime or 1/2 Persian lime
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

the love:
  1. Preheat your broiler to high, and prep a broiler-safe pan with a thin layer of olive oil.***
  2. Cook the quinoa: Rinse and drain your quinoa then add to a pot with the water.  Cover, bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes****, or until all the water has evaporated and quinoa is no longer crunchy. Fluff with a fork and set aside, covered, until ready to use.
  3. Make the tofu: Squeeze the excess water out of the block of tofu, pat dry with a clean tea towel, then slice the tofu into cubes.  Pat dry again.  Combine the 1/4 cup water, minced garlic, juice and zest from one key lime, and the soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.  Add the tofu and very gently toss until it's coated.  Dump into your prepared pan and place under the broiler for 15 to 20 minutes, turning carefully a few times during cooking.  The tofu is done when it's firm on the outside and all the braising sauce is gone.
  4. Prep the other stuff:  Combine your clementines, avocados, cilantro, the remaining lime and the 3 TBS olive oil in a large bowl.*****
  5. Combine it all: Add the quinoa and tofu to the other ingredients and gently toss.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.


*At a lower elevation, you may need to reduce the amount of water to as little as 1 1/2 cups.
**If you use a Persian lime, make sure you zest it (then divide the zest) before you halve the fruit (I've tried zesting a cut lime before, and it's not very easy).
***I used my 10-inch cast-iron skillet for this and it worked beautifully.
****For lower elevations, reduce cooking time to about 15 minutes.
*****Save on dishes and reuse the bowl you used to toss the tofu.


  1. You like it? You left us so many great little things...