Photo by Beverly Wang
- 1 medium avocado
- a handful of cherry tomatoes (8-10 pieces)
- 1 4 oz. block of firm tofu*
- 1 medium lime
- black bean soy sauce**
- shichimi togarashi***
I’ve been on an avocado kick lately. I’ve been putting it into sandwiches, mashing it for guacamole, and making lovely salads like this one. With an abundance of healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins C and K, there’s no reason why avocados shouldn’t be a part of one’s daily diet. I love them for their luscious, creamy texture and how they seem to have a cooling effect when I eat them; avocados are the perfect food to bridge between spring and summer.
This recipe comes courtesy of my mom; she used to make this Asian-esque caprese salad, with tofu instead of cheese (we, unfortunately, are mostly lactose-intolerant in this family), shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice pepper) instead of black pepper, and aged black bean soy sauce instead of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Tossed with a splash of lime juice, this salad is tangy, light, yet substantial enough to be eaten as a meal. It may seem like a random assortment of ingredients, but trust me; it’s delicious.
* About ⅓ of a standard water-packed package. If you’re tofu adverse, feel free to substitute with any cheese of your choice. Indian paneer, mozzarella, or feta would all be great choices here.
** This is a Taiwanese specialty soy sauce. It’s akin to aged balsamic vinegar in that it’s got a more viscous texture and a more complex flavor profile; it’s got notes of bitterness and sweetness. Try to seek this out if you can in your local asian grocery (in Chinese: 醬油膏, usually labeled “black bean soy sauce paste”, or simply “soy sauce paste”); if you can’t find it, feel free to substitute with your favorite brand of tamari or soy sauce.
*** Shichimi togarashi; literally, “seven flavor chili pepper” is a Japanese condiment consisting of seven ingredients. Can be found in Japanese and asian grocers but can be substituted with your favorite chili powder.
1. Wrap the tofu in several layers of paper towels and pat dry. Cut the tofu into small cubes, about ½” in size. Put into a medium mixing bowl.
2. Depending on their size, halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes. Try to match their size to the size of the tofu cubes. Add to the mixing bowl.
3. Add enough soy sauce to just coat the tomatoes and tofu (see picture above). Mix so that the soy sauce coats the mixture evenly. I try to do this step before adding the avocado so that the avocado doesn’t get too bruised in
the mixing process.
4. Cut the avocado into similarly sized pieces and add it to the tofu/tomato mixture. Add the juice of half a lime. Add more or less, to taste. Sprinkle with a few shakes of shichimi togarashi and toss lightly to combine.
5. You can choose to serve it immediately, or chill to let the tofu absorb more of the flavor. Either way, it’s delicious.