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2 bowls of thai salad with peanut dressing and tofu.

Thai Salad with Tofu and Peanut Dressing

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  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai
  • Diet: Vegan


This Thai-inspired salad with peanut dressing features seared tofu, which turns it into a complete meal.



For the Tofu and Salad

  • One 14-ounce block extra firm tofu
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • About 2 tablespoons avocado oil or refined coconut oil
  • 1 head of crunchy mild lettuce of your choice
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cucumbers, peeled in strips and thinly sliced
  • A generous handful of cilantro or basil, torn

For the Peanut Dressing

  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 to 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, to taste (optional, see note below)
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup, date syrup, or honey
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed, grated, or finely minced
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Drain the tofu and press it in a tofu press, or: place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board, and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 3/4 teaspoon each of garlic powder and smoked paprika, with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Toss to combine; set aside.
  3. Make the dressing. In a medium bowl, combine the peanut butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, curry paste, maple syrup, ginger, and garlic. Whisk into a paste. Then gradually add 1/4 cup water and whisk until creamy.
  4. Slice the tofu into 8 slabs, then cut each slab on a diagonal, creating 16 triangles total. Arrange the triangles in an even layer on the cutting board and sprinkle one side with half of the paprika spice blend.
  5. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Arrange the tofu in the skillet in a single layer seasoned side down. Sprinkle the top side with the remaining spice blend. Fry until the underside is golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the triangles and cook the other side for about 6 more minutes. (Resist the urge to move/flip tofu more than necessary).
  6. Meanwhile, place the onion in a bowl of cold water and set aside for at least 10 minutes (this tones down its pungency).
  7. To assemble, divide the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and drained onions among 4 bowls. Top with the tofu and drizzle with dressing.


Sold in most supermarkets these days, this chili condiment adds heat, fragrance, and umami. If you don’t have any, you can skip it in this recipe and just add a splash of hot sauce if you want.


  • Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
  • Calories: 364
  • Fat: 24.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 21.8 g
  • Fiber: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 21.6 g