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This healthy Peanut Tofu Salad would be perfect for meal prep. In less than 30 minutes, crispy tofu, fresh vegetables, and homemade peanut sauce come together and are ready to eat. It’s the best gluten free and vegan lunch.
This cold Peanut Tofu Salad is super simple, yet packed with dynamic flavors and textures. Carrots, red peppers, and cucumber are piled into a bowl and topped with crispy tofu cubes. A homemade peanut sauce is added last, elevating every bite.
If you’re looking for an easy and vegan meal prep idea, then you’re sure to love this salad. The vegetables and tofu are easy to prepare and the peanut dressing can be made days ahead of time. Toss the three together and you have a delicious, yet filling lunch.
- The variety of flavors and textures is hard to resist. There’s crispy tofu, crisp vegetables, umami-forward peanut sauce, and crunchy peanuts in every bite.
- It all comes together in 30 minutes or less and is made with gluten free, dairy free, and vegan ingredients.
- This salad makes for a flavorful light meal for two, a great appetizer to share, and is perfect for meal prep
- Peanut sauce - This vegan-friendly sauce is the perfect salad dressing, noodle bowl topping, or dip for tofu. It has a smooth texture and bold umami and nutty flavors.
- Tofu - The type of tofu you use matters. Super firm tofu is best here because it contains the least amount of moisture and doesn’t require much prep or pressing. The tofu is cut into cubes and baked in the oven, pan fried, or air fried until they’re golden and crisp.
- Vegetables - There’s no shortage of colorful veggies in this cucumber tofu salad. See below for even more vegetables you can add.
Step 1: Make the peanut sauce. If you haven’t already, make the peanut sauce.
Step 3: Assemble. Add the cucumber, carrots, and red pepper to a bowl. Add the cooled crispy tofu and stir to combine.
Step 4: Add the sauce. Pour the peanut sauce over top and stir to coat. Finish by garnishing the salad with chopped cilantro and peanuts, then enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- To help the fried tofu become extra crisp, coat the cubes in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce before baking or frying.
- There aren’t any greens in this salad but you’re welcome to pile the tofu and vegetables over a bed of spinach, shredded iceberg lettuce, butter lettuce, or a blend of Asian greens like bok choy, choy sum, Chinese broccoli, and napa cabbage.
- Fill your salad bowl with even more vegetables, like avocado, radishes, green onions, red cabbage, Chinese celery, and more.
- Garnish your tofu salad with sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, or crispy wonton strips instead of peanuts.
Can it be made without peanuts?
To make a peanut free and nut free version of this tofu salad, try substituting the peanut butter for sunflower butter or tahini in the sauce. Also, hold the chopped peanuts and sprinkle sunflower seeds or sesame seeds over top instead.
Does the tofu need to be pressed?
Pressing all of the moisture out of the brick of tofu will leave you with extra crispy tofu, but it isn’t a necessary step for this recipe. To press the tofu, wrap the brick in a paper towel and place a heavy book or a skillet on top. Let the moisture drain for about 10 to 20 minutes.
How else can you use peanut sauce?
Peanut sauce is the signature dipping sauce for Indonesian satay, but it pairs well with all kinds of appetizers, sides, and main dishes. Once you’re done with the salad, you’ll have plenty of extra peanut sauce to enjoy with Thai peanut cauliflower steaks, peanut chicken, tofu spring rolls, grilled tempeh, or banh mi sandwiches.
If you plan on making this for meal prep, store the peanut dressing separately from the tofu and veggies. Toss them all together immediately before serving.
Refrigerator: Extra tofu salad is best stored in the fridge within 1 to 2 hours of preparation. Keep it in an airtight container and enjoy it within 2 to 3 days.
More tofu recipes
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Peanut Tofu Salad
- First, make the peanut sauce.
- While the tofu is cooking, prep the veggies: chop the cucumber, slice the carrots and red bell pepper and add them to a large bowl. Once the tofu is done, add it to the same bowl.
- Pour the peanut sauce overtop and stir to combine, then add the cilantro and peanuts on top. Enjoy!
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in July 2018. It was updated with new text and photos in July 2022.