I love a fried item. It's the southern in me, and I don't consider it a curse so much as a blessing, except when I've put on a few extra pounds that require me to make a choice between fried foods and more exercise. But regardless, I love that salty greasy taste so much that I can even turn an emerald green salad into a bowlful of hearty fried loveliness. Now that takes talent!
Two of my favorite things are chicken fried tofu and fried okra. A third, unrelated yet deliciously complementary, is bleu cheese dressing. But how to incorporate all this into something that's not so heavy that it will leave me Laz-y-boy chair bound? I had a date last night with the tennis court, and my family would not be amused if I left them in a state of stupor with a heavy Southern fried meal.
Southern-Fried Salad to the rescue! Leafy greens, crisp refreshing cucumber, and a pint of sweet grape tomatoes provide the base of the palate with jewels of fried okra and cubes of chicken fried-tofu providing just enough heft to make it substantial. Everything is finished off with a nice dollop of vegan blue cheese dressing. Y'all enjoy!
1 tub extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 cups fried okra - either prepared from scratch, or frozen, prepared according to directions
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2-3 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 head romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried and chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
Vegan Blue Cheese or Your favorite dressing (Ranch would do nicely here)
Prepare Chicken - Fried Tofu
1. Heat oil in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes and cook for what will seem like hours until they're getting nice and crispy. (Probably 15 minutes or so).
2. Douse with soy sauce (I don't measure - I just sprinkle the soy sauce on liberally - but you're welcome to.)
3. Continue pan-frying until tofu cubes are nice and brown, another 5 minutes or so.
4. Sprinkle tofu with nutritional yeast and flip cubes to coat. You can add more soy sauce here, if needed to help the nutritional yeast stick.
5. Cook another 5 minutes til done and transfer to a paper towel lined bowl.
1. In large bowl, toss romaine, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
2. Divide among bowls and scatter about half cup of tofu and half cup of fried okra on top of salad.
3. Douse liberally with vegan bleu cheese dressing (there's a great one in Alicia Simpson's Vegan Comfort Food) or dressing of your choice.