Baked black pepper tofu meets quinoa and crunchy veggies like carrots, cucumber, and spinach in this healthy and colorful salad. Plus it comes with a bright, herby, and tangy pesto lime dressing!
It' super quick to prepare and makes the perfect refreshing summer salad!
It starts with the tofu that is brushed with maple syrup and soy sauce for a balance of sweetness and saltiness (plus the maple syrup helps with the caramelization!).
Then, we add plenty of ground black pepper and pop in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
In the meantime, combine cooked quinoa with raw and crunchy veggies: shredded carrots, diced cucumber, red onion, and a handful of spinach. I also added chopped sun-dried tomatoes for extra umami and a natural sweetness.
Feel free to adjust the vegetables to your liking, I'm sure red bell pepper, radishes, or corn would make great substitutes/additions.
Now, let's talk about the dressing that definitely makes this dish. Pesto makes the base, then we have a lot of lime juice for freshness and tanginess, olive oil that brings extra richness, and garlic.
Simply combine everything in a bowl and pour over the salad.
Add the baked black pepper tofu, and stir to coat everything with the rich pesto and lime dressing!
I recommend refrigerating the salad for at least 2 hours, this will allow flavors to merge and the salad to cool a bit.
If you are looking for a flavor-packed salad that is healthy, high-protein, and refreshing, you are going to love this one!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
Black Pepper Tofu Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- ½ cup chopped cucumber
- 1 carrot shredded
- ½ red onion finely diced
- 3-4 sun-dried tomatoes diced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 5 tablespoon vegan pesto
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 clove of garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the tofu into rectangles of about 2x1-inch and ½-inch thickness. Alternatively, you can simply cut it into bite-size cubes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and arrange into an even layer, making sure the tofu slices don't overlap each other.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, soy sauce, oil, and black pepper. Generously brush the tofu slices with half of the sauce. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Using a fork, flip each tofu slice and brush with the remaining sauce. Bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the quinoa and cook until tender, according to the package instructions. If you have already cooked quinoa, use about 3 cups.
- Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, mix the vegan pesto, olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, garlic, and salt.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the cooked quinoa, chopped cucumber, shredded carrots, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, baby spinach, and baked tofu. Pour in the dressing and stir well to coat everything. Serve at room temperature, or let it chill for about 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- This quinoa salad will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.