There is not much that would make this a more quintessentially Californian healthful meal, but the fact that I ate this after going to a hot yoga class with a group of my friends probably means that I will have a future as a farmers’ market vendor that doubles as a yoga instructor and drinks kale juice regularly. Oh well. At least I’ll be getting plenty of iron.
That being said, don’t let the aura of greenery and tofu dissuade you from making this salad, because then you’d be missing out on the umami richness of the miso that clings to the kale ribbons as well as the crisp, slightly sweet exterior of the seared tofu that’s punctuated by a dusting of sesame seeds. The lacinato kale becomes tender after a few minutes of sitting in the dressing and a few spoonfuls of sesame oil take away the bitter edge that often accompanies a pile of dark leafy greens.
It’s the kind of meal that gives you energy without weighing you down and conveniently makes sure you have some room for a few cookies for dessert (or granola, if you’d like to keep with the Berkeley-esque theme). The kale is sturdy enough to prevent wilting, so a container of this would make an excellent weekday lunch, even if you don’t live in California.
Kale Salad with Tofu and Miso
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons white miso paste
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
8 oz. lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale), de-ribbed and cut into 1 inch strips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1, 14 oz. block firm tofu, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices then cut on the diagonal to create triangles
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 cup sliced cucumber
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil, miso paste, rice vinegar, and grated ginger. Place the kale in a large bowl and pour the dressing over it, massaging the dressing into the kale with your hands until decreased in volume by about 1/3. Let sit for 20 minutes to marinate while you prepared the tofu.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Add the triangles of tofu and sauté on each side until golden brown, 5-6 minutes per side.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the sweet chili sauce and the soy sauce. Turn the heat on the pan down to low and pour the soy sauce mixture over the tofu and shake the pan gently to evenly distribute the sauce. Let the sauce reduce and coat the tofu until the tofu is a deep golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per side. Take the pan off heat and set aside.
- Distribute the tofu among 4 serving bowls and top with the sliced cucumber and tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.