Recipe Strawberry Balsamic Tofu Pasta Salad

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I came across this recipe for a tofu, balsamic glaze, strawberries and pasta and just had to try it. It was delicious though we did need to make a few changes to the salad. My first was to use a spelt pasta that has a fantastic taste and texture. The second was to added onion powder to the coating for the tofu because we prefer the taste with it than without it. I also now always freeze and defrost any tofu being used with a marinade or in a sauce because I have found it makes a huge difference to the uptake of the marinade and this was no different. So if you can, plan ahead, or do add i so which is to keep one block of tofu in the freezer and another defrosted block of tofu in the fridge ready for use (if you compare the texture with an unfrozen block, you'll easily identify the defrosted one to an unfrozen one, though we do keep the defrosted one in a the fridge door, rather than on the shelf).
And we found that the marinade was nowhere near enough, so I've doubled it. This may be something to do with my inability to measure 225ml of spinach though! Similarly with basil.
And I went with orange tomatoes just for colour. You can really use any that taste great!

This is the original recipe. Strawberry Balsamic Tofu Pasta Salad (Vegan)

Ingredients
400g extra firm tofu, frozen, defrosted, drained and pressed.
3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper

225 g pulse or spelt pasta
500g strawberries, quartered/8ths
250g orange solanto tomatoes, halved
100g fresh spinach, chopped
2 packets/good handfuls fresh basil, chopped
150-200g homemade vegan feta, diced

Balsamic Marinade:
8 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp fresh black pepper

Method
  1. Preheat your oven to 220°C/425F or 200°C fan assist.
  2. Meanwhile, cook your pasta as per its cooking instructions to al dente, (not thoroughly cooked to death). Drain and let the pasta cool.
  3. Drain the tofu and wrap in a tea-towel and press to dry it out as much as possible. Once as dry as you can easily get it, dice it into roughly 1cm cubes.
  4. In a ziplock plastic bag or lidded container, add the cornflour, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper. Add the dry tofu cubes, seal with a good volume of air in it and shake to evenly coat all of the tofu.
  5. Turn out onto baking parchment and bake on a baking tray for 10 minutes, turn and bake for another 10 minutes before removing from the oven and allowing to cool.
  6. To make the marinade, if you have an empty jar and lid, or similar, add all of the ingredients, put the lid on and shake well to combine. Failing that, use a bowl and whisk carefully.
  7. Transfer the cooked tofu cubes to a shallow flat bowl, and carefully coat with about ⅓ of the marinade. Turn the tofu if needed to coat thoroughly.
  8. Wash, dry and roughly chop both the basil and the spinach and add to a large serving bowl. Add the halved tomatoes, the tofu & any remaining liquid marinade, the strawberries but not the feta. (Mine tends to be a tad softer than dairy feta and is best added to the bowls at the very end). Add the other ⅔rds of the marinade and toss well.
  9. Finally serve into pasta bowls or similar, and add the vegan feta to the top.
We did find that the dish improved with standing for a couple of hours in the fridge. It was even better the next day once the strawberries softened a tad, just not as photogenic.
 
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