The March edition of the Crazy Ingredient Challenge featured two ingredients that are no strangers to my kitchen - tofu and blueberries.
Using them together in a recipe was a challenge but not in the way you may expect. In fact, I was overwhelmed by the ways I already use them together on a regular basis (I'm looking at you, smoothie concoctions) or simple twists to old favorites, like one of my all-time favorite desserts, tofu-based lemon bars (with added blueberries of course).
In the end, I wanted to try something new buy stil simple enough to let both flavors stand out. Tofu is incredibly versatile and can take on almost any texture or flavor. I especially like it on its own in a firm or extra-firm state baked, grilled or sautéed with seasonings and paired with complimentary flavors and textures. This makes it perfect for springy salads with crunchy greens, chunky veggies and big pieces of sweet fresh fruit.
To really make the flavors shine this time around, I braised large pieces of extra-firm tofu in a blend of coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, a little bit of liquid smoke, and chicken stock and then flash-seared it to crisp the edges. The result was a crunchy crust (if you want it really crispy, see my previous tofu recipe) with a creamy center with a tantalizing hint smokey/sweet/tangy. I also set off all the smoke alarms in our house, so I guess it really was "smokey."
The salad itself featured chopped kale, giant blueberries (seriously! Monsters!), sliced strawberries, shredded carrots, chopped cashews, shaved red onion, and crispy jicama all covered in my favorite (ahem, borrowed) prepared dressing from Zaxby's.
I loved, loved, loved this salad and I know you will too!