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I Have Fallen in LOVE with Tofu All Over Again

OK, that’s not totally true since I was never really in love with it, to begin with. However, all that changed when I found this recipe for Caprese Pesto Kale salad with crispy tofu! Let me explain.
I’m sure a lot of our Elevate readers aren’t too different from me in their feelings about tofu. It’s supposed to be good for you so we occasionally tolerate it in the name of healthy eating, but truthfully we really see it as this semi-mushy block of really pasty looking white…..stuff. I’ve heard all of the arguments about tofu taking on the flavors of whatever seasonings you are cook it with. It just has never worked for me….until now…with olive oil and salt being the only “seasonings” I used. 
This recipe took under 25 minutes to prepare, and the taste return on time investment was phenomenal! You could play with the recipe a bit by substituting baby spinach for the kale. You can experiment with seasonings in hopes that it takes on its own flavor, although just with salt and olive oil, it’s a treat! Other than that, this recipe can hold it’s own at any meal. 

INGREDIENTS for Caprese Salad with Crispy Tofu:
1 – 14 oz block of extra firm tofu
3 TBLSP extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp finely ground sea salt
2 Cups cherry tomatoes, measured whole, then halved.
6 oz. fresh mozzarella balls, sliced in half (about ½ cup)
2 Cups packed baby kale, chopped 

INGREDIENTS for Basil Pesto Dressing:
2 Cups packers fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
¼ tsp finely ground sea salt
2 TBLSP pine nuts
½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 TBLSP extra-virgin olive oil

•Slice the tofu into 4 pieces, laying them flat on top of a towel (flour sack dish drying towels work great). Wrap the pieces in the towel, place a cutting board on top of the towel and press down with all of your body weight about 3 or 4 times. This helps to drain the water from the tofu.
•Cut the tofu into cubes.
•Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until all the sides of the tofu are golden brown and slightly crispy. (10-15 minutes.)
•While the tofu is cooking, prepare the pesto. Combine the basil, garlic, salt, and pine nuts in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Slowly add the vegetable broth while the processor is running. Next, add the olive oil while the processor is running. 
•Combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, fried tofu, and kale in a large bowl.
•Stir in the pesto dressing.
•Call a friend to come over and have an amazing lunch with you! 

Another special thank you to Katie Parker and Kristen Smith for this recipe, found in  their amazing cookbook “The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook.” 

*If you plan on having leftovers of this and taking it for tomorrows lunch, here are 2 things to know -  first of all, there probably won’t be leftovers because it’s so delicious, and secondly, the tofu loses its crispiness after it’s mixed in with the pesto dressing. 

The staff at Elevate hopes you have a happy healthy Monday, and let us know if this recipe made you fall in love with tofu!!