Thai Eggplant Salad with Coconut Tofu Strips
- Oil or nonstick spray for the roasting tray
- 1½ pounds eggplant, peeled only if necessary, and cut into 1½ inch cubes
- Salt to taste
- ¼ pound Persian cucumber (or another tasty, sweet variety), peeled only if necessary, and cut into small dice
- 1 small, sweet bell pepper (orange or purple are especially nice), diced
- Cherry tomatoes (optional), cut in half if large
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Touch of lime zest (optional)
- Coconut-lime vinaigrette (see recipe below)
- Coconut tofu strips (see recipe below)
For coconut-lime vinaigrette
- ½ to 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons reduced fat coconut milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons agave nectar or sugar
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil (grapeseed oil or olive oil are good choices)
- For coconut tofu strips
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 ounces very firm tofu, cut into strips
- Dash or two of salt (optional)
- 4 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a roasting or baking tray with foil, and slick very lightly with oil or add a light coating of nonstick spray.
- Spread out the eggplant cubes in a single layer, and roast until very tender (about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on their size).
- Meanwhile, spread out ¼ cup of the vinaigrette in a shallow dish.
- When the eggplant is done, salt it lightly, and transfer to the dish, swishing it gently into the vinaigrette. Toss lightly, adding another 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette as you go.
- When it cools to room temperature, add the cucumber, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes (if using), and some red pepper flakes to taste. (You can also add some grated lime zest for more zing.)
- Let it sit to marinate for at least another 10 minutes, and as long as a day, covered and refrigerated.
- Serve at room temperature or cooled, topped with coconut tofu strips.
For coconut-lime vinaigrette
- Combine the garlic, lime juice, coconut milk, salt, and sweetener in a bowl or jar with a lid. Whisk until combined, and then keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion. When all the oil is incorporated set aside. If you are making this well in advance, cover and refrigerate, then bring to room temperature before using.
For coconut tofu strips
- Place a medium-sized skillet over medium heat and wait 1 minute. Add the oil, and swirl to coat the pan.
- Toss in the tofu strips with a dash or two of salt, and stir-fry (or “toss-fry”) until heated through and beginning to get crispy. Sprinkle in the coconut, and if you like it a touch sweet, some sugar, and continue to cook and toss until the coconut is lightly golden and heavily aromatic.
- Serve at any temperature, sprinkled on your favorite rice or vegetable dish with compatible flavors.
Nutrition facts:Per 1/4 of recipe 350 calories 8 grams of protein 18 grams of carbohydrates 8 grams of fiber 460 milligrams of sodium 27 grams of fat ( 7 grams of saturated fat 18 grams of monounsaturated fat 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat )
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