04 October 2010

Balsamic Quinoa Salad & Mustard-Crusted Tofu Planks

So, I used to be busy.  One day, I will be busy again.... but not today.  I found my pictures of this salad and got really happy.  Good pictures -- and even better food.  So I thought I'd tell you about it. 

Balsamic syrup is one of my favourite specialty foodie ingredients. Back in the States it's called balsamic GLAZE, and I love to toss it in with some fresh tomatoes, basil and feta cheese for a nice salad, or drizzle over some roasted portabella mushrooms stuffed with red pepper and ricotta cheese. I'm glad I've found another use for it in this salad - so yummy!

I'd been considering this quinoa salad for a few days, and then I ran across this tofu recipe on Epicurious. Both the balsamic glaze and the whole-grain mustard have such strong flavours, but I wasn't overly worried about pairing them together. I was more, rather, intrigued. It turned out absolutely lovely, with the mustard and balsamic flavours playing nicely off each other in an earthy-sweet-savoury-spice kind of way. It was deep and complex without overpowering and somehow remained nice and clean on the pallette.

Balsamic Quinoa Salad with Mustard-Crusted Tofu Planks
Salad recipe is my own, Tofu recipe from Bon Appétit

For Quinoa Salad:
~ 2 cups cooked quinoa
1 medium white potato, peeled and cubed small
2 medium shallots, chopped
1/2 courgette, sliced
handful of mixed lettuce leaves (really any lettuce will do here, especially lamb's leaf, rocket, or chervil)
~ 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze (also called balsamic syrup)
olive oil - enough for sauteeing + 1 tblsp for dressing the salad
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Saute vegetables in some olive oil with a little salt. Add courgettes last since they cook the fastest and you don't want them mushy.

Mix together with all other ingredients in a bowl. Salad -- done.

For Tofu:
6 1.5-cm thick slices of extra-firm tofu* (3 per person)
wholegrain mustard

Spread each side of tofu plank with a generous slather of mustard. Pan-fry in some olive oil over medium to med-high heat until browned, about 3 minutes per side. It may take longer, depending on the heat... you don't want it too high, or the mustard will burn - you want a slow browning here instead of a flash-fry.

Plate-up and serve. Serves 2.

*You might want to freeze, and then thaw your tofu ahead of time for this. So much more of the water releases from the tofu, and you really want it as dry as possible so the mustard doesn't slip right off when you spread it on, or not adhere properly when frying.


  1. Wow, just found your blog and I recently started making food with quinoa and they are so hearty and filling! I have to try making this soon as it looks so great! As a vegetarian, this is perfect meal!