Salad with roasted sweet potato & chipotle dressing.

Southern Germany 2001. That’s when I first heard of, smelled, tasted and fell in love with chipotle in adobo sauce.  I was studying a year abroad and one of my new friends had just spent her summer vacation in South America. One of the treasures she had brought with her from that trip was a collection of canned chipotles. These fiery,  intensely smoky peppers were going to form the basis of some hearty (and hot!) chili stews and lively dinners for a motley crew that solidified new acquaintances into long-term friendships.

I have never come across such cans since. But chipotle paste, however, has become quite commonplace over the past decade, and now I usually keep one of those small jars in my fridge. With temperatures soaring last week (causing a sudden change in outdoor gear from fleece-lined rain jacket to flimsy t-shirt), it was time to suit the action to the word again, and create another, new salad. This time with a hint of smoke: chipotle, smoked paprika and smoked almonds.  Smokey deliciousness.

Salad with roasted sweet potato & chipotle dressing.

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened soy yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 TB agave syrup
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 TB lime juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • some cracked black pepper
  • some cilantro sprigs

For the roasted sweet potato

  • two medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced/cubed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

For the salad

  • roasted sweet potato (see above)
  • mixed greens of your choice
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 1/2 mango, cubed OR the equivalent amount of pineapple (smoked pineapple would definitely work like a charm here – only I did not have pineapple in the house when I made this salad)
  • 1 bell pepper (you can of course also roast the bell pepper!)
  • 1 largo tomato
  • 3 scallions
  • handful of chopped smoked almonds
  • handful of cilantro
  • optional: black beans (I served this salad alongside a Spanish tortilla on the basis of chickpea flour and silken tofu, so I did not add the extra beans today, but may do so a next time)

Directions

For the dressing: combine all ingredients and mix with an immersion blender

For the roasted sweet potato: place the chunks of sweet potato on an oven dish, and rub them with the spices and olive oil. Bake (hot air + grill) at 200 degrees celcius for about 20 minutes, or until nicely browned and crispy.

For the salad: well, it’s a salad,…

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Thai tofu-mango pasta salad.

davA little over a week ago my 7-year-old son was away on a 2-day field trip with school: the perfect occasion to toss together a summery pasta salad with an Asian touch in which mango – a fruit much enjoyed by my daughter, but detested by my son (unless it’s in a smoothie) – is a key ingredient. Pasta, mango, tofu – what’s not to like?

Even though this is a very straightforward recipe, it does require some advance planning, as it contains marinated tofu. And the secret to successfully marinated tofu is – apart from a good marinade of course – time. Plenty of it. This tofu will be at its best when at least marinated overnight (I actually usually let it sit in the fridge for two days). I can promise you this tofu will be worth the wait, as it’s absolutely heavenly.

dav

Thai tofu-mango pasta salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Thai marinated tofu

  • 400 g pressed (do not skip the pressing part) and cubed tofu
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 knob of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 – 1/3 stalk of lemongrass, grated or finely chopped
  • 3 TB agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TB lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil (or other oil of your choice

Pasta salad

  • marinated tofu (see above)
  • ca. 350 g pasta shapes of your choice
  • 1 diced mango
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 2 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
  • a handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1 TB vegan ‘oyster’ and mushroom sauce (or if you cannot find this: 1 more TB of soy sauce)
  • 1 TB sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
  • 4 TB lime juice
  • 2 TB agave syrup

Directions

Marinated tofu

  • Mix all ingredients and pour into a container (with a lid), together with the pressed and cubed tofu.
  • Let sit overnight. Shake the container every now and then, so that the marinade is evenly distributed.

Pasta salad

  • Heat some oil in a skillet and sauté the tofu cubes until nicely browned. When you want to add some extra crispness, sprinkle some arrowroot or cornstarch over the tofu cubes, toss around the cubes until the starch is evenly distributed, and fry. Set aside when done.
  • Boil the pasta, drain, and set aside until somewhat cooled.
  • Take a bowl and toss in the pasta, the tofu cubes and all remaining ingredients. Mix well, and enjoy your meal.