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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Soup & Salad Combo, Please

Okay so I am excited about this one. These recipes, paired together, make a delightful lunch or dinner on a spring or summer day. The tofu salad is very cooling, which balances out the warmth of the soup. The soup would also be great in the winter time, when I usually picture squash in recipes. But I would HIGHLY recommend both of these, taken from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet.

The tofu salad is quick and easy, just requiring some chopping of ingredients and a quick steam of the tofu. It would be great on toast or in sandwiches; I put mine on top of the pitas because I didn't have high hopes for the pita standing up to the heavy salad.

The soup is so incredibly simple...if you can just get the squash cut up! Kabocha squash has such a tough skin and is a very hard squash, so I find it very difficult to cut up and peel. Other kinds of squash could be substituted, even bought already cut up (such as butternut)...I just love the taste of the Kabocha so much that it is worth the battle!
A pretty frightening (albeit accurate) picture of Doug and his power saw at war with the Kabocha squash.

Creamy Sweet Kabocha Squash Soup
4 cups kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 2" cubes
2 pinches of fine sea salt (or 1 pinch salt, 1 teaspoon shoyu - this is what I used)
minced fresh parsley

Place the squash in a saucepan with 3 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, and add a small pinch of salt. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, until the squash is soft. Mash the squash with a potato masher, or blend with a handheld blender, right in the pot. Add another pinch of salt (or 1 teaspoon shoyu) and simmer for 7-10 minutes longer. Serve the soup hot with a sprinkle of parsley on top.

Soup served in a mug, as a side dish to the tofu salad

Tofu Salad
1/4 cup fresh, or frozen and thawed, peas
1/3 (14 oz.) package firm tofu
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
3 olives, chopped
1 tablespoon rinsed capers
2-3 slices kosher dill pickles, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions or chives
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon Vegenaise
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar or 2 tablespoons umeboshi plum paste
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
whole wheat pitas
green leaf lettuce leaves
1 red radish, thinly sliced (I don't really like radishes, so left this out)

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the peas, and blanch for 3 minutes or until the peas are bright green. Drain and set aside.

Wrap the tofu in cheesecloth or a clean dish towel and place on a plate. Place a second plate on top of the tofu, and place a weight on top of it for 10 minutes to press out the liquid. Bring water to a boil in a steamer or pot fitter with a steamer basket. Unwrap the tofu and place it in the steamer basket. Cover the pot and steam the tofu for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the tofu and transfer to a bowl. Mash with a fork to make it crumbly.

To the tofu add the peas, celery, olives, capers, pickles, scallion or chives, parsley, Vegenaise, vinegar, and lemon juice. Taste the mixture. If it is too bland, add more umeboshi vinegar, a little at a time, to taste (I needed to add another splash or two to mine).

Spoon the tofu salad into warmed pitas with the lettuce leaves and sliced radishes, or serve on the lettuce leaves and garnish with the radishes.

As good as it looks...reminiscent of egg or potato salad!

Bottom Line: Two ultra-healthful, Superhero recipes that taste so good yet are so simple to make! Definitely recommend both of them...impress your friends with lunch! =)

For more on Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet, visit

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