Marinated Cauliflower, Roasted Artichoke and Tofu Orzo Salad
for the tofu
- 12 oz jarred marinated artichoke hearts
- 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed at least 20 minutes see note
- zest of one lemon
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- freshly ground black pepper
for the cauliflower
- 1 small red onion, sliced into rings
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets I used a yellow cauliflower
- 2-3 stalks celery (with leaves), thinly sliced
- 1/2 cubanelle pepper, sliced into rings
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-2 tablespoons nonpareil capers
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- freshly ground black peppr
- sea salt
- 8 oz cooked and cooled orzo
- The day before you want to serve the dish: press the tofu under weights or in a tofu press for at least 20 minutes. Slice in half across the middle and then cut into bite-sized cubes. Place in a non-reactive container and add the remaining ingredients from the tofu section. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Place all of the cauliflower ingredients in a second non-reactive container. Toss to combine and coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, preheat oven to 400. Drain the artichokes/tofu and toss with the dusting mix to coat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and arrange the tofu and artichokes in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, turning once, or until crispy. Allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, stir the cooked orzo into the cauliflower mixture and allow to sit at room temperature. Add the cooled tofu/artichokes to the mixture and toss to evenly distribute all ingredients.
- Serve at room temperature.
- I used a tofu press! I highly recommend it. You can also press it with weights as I show in this recipe.
- If you want to preserve the color of the cauliflower, even more, blanch it before marinating.
- Cut down on waste by peeling and slicing the cauliflower core and adding it in with the florets.
I created this recipe as an excuse to try out my new tofu press I bought after I came across three (unsponsored!) mentions of how well they work in a single afternoon. We both like tofu but I don’t think to make it much because the pressing step (which I think is needed pretty much any time you use firm or extra firm tofu) is always sort of a pain and simply isn’t something I think of until its almost dinner time when it’s too late. But in the last year, thanks to the pandemic we’ve made 99.9999999% of our meals at home, ourselves so I’ve been trying to make an extra effort to make a variety of meals. Not always brand new, postable recipes but dinner every night.
This dish is a real winner. Marinating the tofu with the artichoke hearts overnight gives the tofu an almost feta-like taste and texture. Roasting them in the oven crisps them up and deepens the flavor as well. It is a little fiddly of a recipe–two separate marinades the day before you want to eat–but all of the prep is very simple and the day you want to eat, all you have to do is roast the tofu/artichoke hearts and make the orzo. You could probably skip roasting the tofu/artichokes but you would miss out on some texture contrasts I think the salad needs. The cauliflower is crunchy and lightly pickled and the celery adds a lovely floral note.
The whole dish is super flavorful in every bite and even holds up well as leftovers. We had it as our main the first night and then a couple days later as a side dish. It would be great to bring on a picnic or to a potluck if they still exist.