Tomato and Tofu Salad 4.000

Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Top Tomato 2014 Weeknight Vegetarian Aug 20, 2014

This fresh, filling salad is full of vibrant flavors and a little crunch from onions and cashews. The recipe comes from Sakunthala Seetharaman of Silver Spring, who entered it in this year's Top Tomato contest.

It caught Joe Yonan's attention during the testing phase; because it called for roasted tofu cubes, that meant the ingredient list would be just out of contest range. Then he saw a few tweaks he thought could improve the dish. Hence, Seetharaman earns a thumbs up and honorable mention in the competition.

Make Ahead: The roasted tofu can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Let come to room temperature before making the salad.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4 servings

  • 4 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more as needed
  • 6 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds), thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger juice (see NOTE)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have a rimmed baking sheet at hand, large enough to hold the tofu cubes in a single layer so they don't touch.

Toss the tofu cubes with the oil and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt on the baking sheet so they are evenly coated. Roast until golden brown, 10 to 20 minutes, using a spatula to turn them every 5 minutes or so. Transfer to a large mixing bowl to cool.

Add to the bowl the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, basil, mint and jalapeño, toss to combine. Pour in the ginger juice and lemon juice, and sprinkle with cumin, brown sugar and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Toss well.

Taste and add salt as needed. Top with the cashews; serve right away.

NOTE: Extract ginger juice by grating unpeeled fresh ginger root with a Microplane or Japanese grater, then press the solids through a fine-mesh strainer to obtain the liquid. A chubby, 3-inch knob of ginger yields about 1 tablespoon of juice. (Alternatively, you can look for Ginger People brand ginger juice in some stores.)

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Tested by Joe Yonan.

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