Tuesday, March 1, 2011

AFR: Pad Thai Salad w/ Red Tofu & Peanut Dressing.

The Vegan Cookbook Club has moved on to Book #2!
First dish for me: Pad Thai Salad. The flavors of a great pad thai dish over fresh crisp greens sounded quite delicious to me.

The Pad Thai Salad (33) had great flavors. With crisp veggies, nice acidity, and crunchy peanuts, it was a great combination for a salad. I need to write an "about me" so I can let you know how I probably eat fewer salads than any other vegan/vegetarian/veggie-loving fiend. I just don't enjoy raw veggies very much. Nevertheless, the actual salad ingredients themselves made for a "winning" combination (in the words of Charlie Sheen, lol...)

The Red Thai Tofu (149) was a suggested topper to the salad, so I went with it. I ate the meal for lunch but wanted something very filling (again, add this to my reason for disliking salads). The red curry paste is DYNAMITE. If you haven't used this yet, find it at your grocery store (or specialty/asian store) and USE IT IN SOMETHING. It really gives an earthy and savory while spicy thai element that is absolutely necessary. The other ingredients in this dish meld nicely. I will be making this again!

The Peanut Lime-Dragon Dressing (34) was a flop, for me at least. I liked the idea of a more textured dressing with the chopped peanuts, but it did not add to the flavor, which made this seem like a watery dressing with chunks of peanuts and some lime. I added more sriracha and still didn't like it very much. SO, I took it upon myself to better the recipe. I added in a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter as well as some rice vinegar and it tasted significantly better. I think a peanut sauce (or dressing) is dependent upon PB. Even this slight amount is not going to add a ridiculous amount of fat. The lime came through more pleasantly, the heat from the Sriracha complemented the creaminess of the PB nicely.

My recommendation (and what I'll do next time)? Make the dressing while the tofu is cooking through. Pour the dressing over the tofu while it is still in the pan, allowing the two sauces to meld together into one beautiful, nutty and spicy sauce. Serve over the salad, allowing it to beautifully wilt and the veggies to absorb some excellent flavor.

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