Pickled carrot and smoked tofu quinoa salad

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Now that my diet is consisting less of Prosecco and Supernoodles again, I’m bringing this bad-boy of a blog back to life, because a) I’m finding myself coming up with a lot of new recipe ideas lately, and b) you all seem to like my smug healthy Instagrams, so who I am to prevent you the privilege of re-creating them yourself? Expect shit iPhone photography! Sporadic posting! And of course loads of tasty things. What more could you want from a food blog?

I’m on a bit of a Gwyneth tip following a winter pasta binge (is there anything better than a massive steaming bowl of spaghetti and a warming red wine to wash it down with, is there???) and this salad was something I came up with when thinking up a reasonably hearty-but-healthy way of using up my ever expanding stock of carrots. If you’re a Riverford vegetable box subscriber, you’ll know what I’m saying – carrots galore with those lads.

I found the smoked tofu in a health food shop in Dulwich, and I’m sure you can buy it everywhere, and it’s brilliant. It’s nice and firm and is flecked with little bits of cashew and sesame. The smoky taste meant it reminded me of those wonderfully filthy hot dogs from a jar. In fact, you could totally sub the tofu for the dogs if that kind of thing floats your boat. I friend my tofu cubes, because YOLO, and I like hot food, but you could do it raw.

The lightly pickled carrots, and a sweet and sour vietnamese dressing that Uyen Luu taught me how to make at her fantastic Vietnamese cooking class, counter the nutty quinoa and rich smoky tofu with a nice amount of sharp zest. I used some pickle juice out of a pickle-free pickle jar when I made it, just because it was lying around, which I reckon did add some flavour, though any light vinegar – white wine, cider, rice – would do.

Click on through for the recipe.

Ingredients – serves 4

1 block of firm smoked tofu

200g quiona

200mls cold water

2 carrots, finely sliced like little coins

1 courgette, grated

Enough broccoli or other dark green veg of your choice for 4

Small bunch of coriander, finely chopped

4 spring onions

A good splash of light vinegar

 

For the dressing

2 tablespoons of fish sauce

2 tablespoons of light vinegar

2 tablespoons of runny honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

 

Directions

Put sliced carrots in a shallow bowl and splash over enough vinegar to lightly cover. You can just leave them for the time the rest of the recipe takes, but they come out nice if you do half an hour to an hour before, if you have the time and inclination. Set aside.

Pour the water over the quinoa in a lidded pan and put on a high heat until boiling. Turn down to the lowest setting and allow the water to gently absorb for 8-9 mins. Throw in your dark green veg in the last 4 mins or so to allow it to steam.

Meanwhile, whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Cube your tofu and fry it until lightly golden if doing that. Will take 3-5mins.

Finely chop the coriander and toss with your cooked quinoa, greens and grated courgette in a salad bowl. Drain carrots from vinegar and toss those through too.

Distribute between four eating bowls and top with the tofu, chopped spring onion and a good drizzle of the dressing.

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