Asian flavours always make my heart sing and combine that with my adoration of cucumber and obsession with avocado and I’m bound to enjoy this dish. But I am pretty sure that you will, too.
Homegrown cucumbers cannot be beat, my family grows them in greenhouses and I always look forward to visiting for the goodie bag of sweet cucumbers that we receive most of the time. It’s a sad day when there haven’t been any to pick. I just love them. They’re very rich in moisture which is great for hydration although they can make salads quite watery, so I sometimes salt them and allow them to drain in a colander before using them. I learnt this trick from a few failed attempts at using cucumber in salads and thought about the salting techniques used for preparing aubergines, and I was impressed. Remember to lightly salt them and thoroughly rinse the cucumbers, otherwise you’ll cry from all the salt.
To the softened cucumbers, I add gentle carrot ribbons, thin batons of red pepper, some creamy avocado slices and lots of flavourful spring onion and fresh mint. I love playing around with the textures and shape of vegetables and really enjoy this healthful bowl of crunchy cucumber rounds, carrot ribbons and soft avocado. Pan fried smoked tofu adds a delicious punch of protein that’s slightly crisp on the outside and soft and hearty in the middle. This is my favourite way to enjoy tofu at the moment and it compliments the subtle vegetable flavours well. All tossed in a light sesame, ginger, tamari, lime and miso dressing which makes my Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad with Smoked Tofu really crave-able. I top mine with extra crunchy seeds and nuts for another depth of texture. I really love these Tamari and Aleppo seeds from Eat Boundless which have so much flavour and texture and are activated for maximum nutrition and make them easier to digest.
What’s more, this lunch/side salad/light dinner comes together in next to no time, so you can have a flavoursome bowl ready and on the table within minutes. If you do want to make this a heartier meal, serve atop some brown rice or accompanied with some flatbreads.
Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad with Smoked Tofu
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
200g extra firm smoked tofu, cubed
2 carrots, in ribbons
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh mint, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
40g toasted/roasted nuts and seeds of choice
Spicy Ginger Dressing:
1 tbsp ginger umami paste (or 1 tbsp miso paste plus 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated)
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
½ – 1 tsp sriracha
To serve: brown rice, flatbread, sauerkraut, extra chilli flakes, seeds
Place the cucumber slices in a colander and rub over a pinch of salt. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and then wash thoroughly. Pat dry.
Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan. When it is hot, add the tofu cubes and cook for a couple of minutes on each side before flipping over. You’ll need to rotate the cubes regularly to ensure all sides are golden and crisp. Remove from the pan.
Tumble the cucumber slices, carrot ribbons, red pepper strips, spring onions, mint and avocado in a mixing bowl.
To prepare the dressing, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Add to the mixing bowl along with the tofu cubes and toss gently with your hands.
To serve, divide between two bowls and top with the seeds. Enjoy with any extra serving suggestions. This salad is best enjoyed straight away or leftovers will keep in an airtight container until the next day in the fridge.
Have you got a soft spot for cucumber, too? Please let me know what you think of my Spicy Ginger Cucumber Salad with Smoked Tofu by leaving a comment below and tag me in your creations. I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy.