Pan-Seared Pressed Tofu with Apples and Champagne Vinaigrette – Recipe


Pan Seared Tofu and Apples with Champagne Vinaigrette and Pomegranate Seeds

I stopped by Northwest Tofu the other day and came home with their beautiful pressed tofu, along with regular tofu (still warm) and fresh yuba. Casting about for a lunch I could throw together in just minutes, I tossed the pressed tofu in my skillet and rummaged around in the fridge to see what would could join the party.

Now normally I use tofu almost exclusively in Asian dishes. I’m not inclined to go pureeing it into milkshakes or stuffing it into lasagna. But when I saw a container of leftover pomegranate seeds (well, arils if you want to be technical) marinating in champagne vinaigrette, flavored with lots of fresh thyme, it just jumped out at me that it would be delicious with the super-fresh, well browned tofu. Then I thought of the Braeburn apples that Full Circle had brought, and five minutes later, this salad was born.

At least, I guess salad is the right name for it since the apples aren’t cooked and it has a vinaigrette, but really this is plenty hearty enough to be a one-dish meal.

This tofu has had so much of the moisture removed that it browns really quickly and easily. It almost reminds me of grilled halloumi cheese, which I think would also be excellent in this dish. I’m not sure you will get the same results with the prepackaged pressed tofu you often see at groceries. I often find those aren’t just pressed, but actually unpleasantly tough. Take this as an opportunity to get out and explore a local tofu shop in your town.. and if you know one, leave it in the comments so other folks can find them.

Needless to say, this salad dressing is delightful on lettuce too!

Pan-Seared Pressed Tofu with Apples and Champagne Vinaigrette
Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free
Serves 2 as a light lunch or 4 as a side dish

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons minced shallot
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the vinegar, shallot, thyme and salt. Allow to stand for ten minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil while whisking to emulsify. Taste and adjust seasoning. Reserve.
To finish
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 9 ounces pressed tofu (the kind that is completely firm and generally already brown with some soy sauce on the outside), cut into approximately 1″ x 1″ x 1/2″ squares [note: if you need gluten-free you’ll need to inquire about the soy sauce!]
  • Reserved dressing
  • 1 large or 2 medium crisp, sweet apples, cored and cut into 16 slices each (Braeburns work well)
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Flaky sea salt
  1. Place a large skillet over high heat. Add the oil, and when it is shimmering, add the tofu in a single layer. Cook until well browned on one side, then flip and cook the other side. Remove to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Pour the dressing over the tofu and toss. Add the apples and pomegranate seeds and toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning. Divide among serving bowls and finish with generous amounts of black pepper and flaky salt.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, January 2nd, 2012 in Gluten-Free or modifiable, Kid Friendly, Main Courses, Recipes, Salads, Sauces and Condiments, Seattle, Vegan or Modifiable.

7 Responses to “Pan-Seared Pressed Tofu with Apples and Champagne Vinaigrette – Recipe”

  1. January 2, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I think for 2012 I’m going to experiment with tofu and get to know it, something I need to do and never have done.

  2. January 3, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    What a refreshing and delightful recipe!
    Happy 2012!

  3. January 3, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Michael, this looks wonderful! I had just seen pomegranates yesterday while produce shopping but failed to pick them up. Also, I need to find the champage vinegar locally. What I will try with the firm tofu I just bought is pressing it with weight in cheese cloth over a sieve; that may help dry my store-bought, packaged variety out to achieve the desired consistency.

    When I make it I will let you know, and if I post it to my salad blog, I will leave a link back here :D

    • January 3, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

      Great! Let me know how it works out. If you don’t find the champagne vinegar, sherry vin would probably be good too.

  4. Anne Campbell
    January 16, 2012 at 10:06 am #

    I almost always press my tofu – I learned the technique from the book _The Flexitarian Table_ by Peter Berley, and had a “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. Now I just cut the tofu into slices or cubes, spread them out between the layers of a folded dish towel, put a cutting board on top, and pile on a couple of cast-iron pans. After 15 or 20 minutes, it’s nicely pressed and ready for whatever marinade or flavors I want to add, and there’s no excess water in the tofu to water down the sauce. It also makes it easier to fry tofu without as much crazy spitting and hissing.

    As a matter of fact, that _Flexitarian_ book really opened my eyes to using tofu with flavors *other* than Asian ones. He has a great marinade with lemon, garlic and mint, and another with lemon, fresh thyme or rosemary, olive oil, and soy sauce that’s very savory. It made me realize that I don’t have to be envious of the sauces and marinades that people put on, say, plain chicken breasts. I often make Jamaican jerk tofu (which I serve with your island-style sweet and spicy cabbage!), Korean barbecue tofu, Moroccan charmoula tofu, etc. It works out great, and you can put the same sauce on some chicken or fish or other meat if you’re sharing with omnivores.

    Thanks for this post and also for the one about “where do you get your protein?”! I wish more Americans knew that the amount of protein they eat is really excessive, not the norm.

    • January 19, 2012 at 10:43 am #

      You know, I’ve always resisted using tofu in non-Asian recipes. This one you commented on is about as far as I’ve ever gone in that direction. But maybe I need to open my mind more on that topic. I definitely relate to what you are saying about having something to put a sauce *on*.

  5. February 7, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    I have been looking for a good tofu recipe for ages now. I am so sick of the same old soy sauce/teriyaki sauce pan fry.

    This looks divine! Thank you!

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