Loaded Chopped Salad With Creamy Tofu Ranch 2.000

(Justin Tsucalas for the Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Plant-Powered Newsletter Jun 21, 2019

Tofu’s the ultimate shape shifter, and here it shows off by disguising itself as a creamy ranch dressing. It tops this hearty main-course chopped salad, a concept you can make your own. Watermelon radish and bell pepper, crunchy walnuts, boiled eggs and homemade croutons make for beautiful color and flavor contrasts. To speed up prep, cook your eggs up to 5 days in advance and refrigerate in their shells until serving.

Want to add extra protein? Try ahi tuna seared for 1 minute per side, or canned tuna, flaked and seasoned with salt and pepper.

This recipe is from Week 5 of Voraciously's Plant Powered newsletter. Sign up at wapo.st/plantpoweredguide.

Make Ahead: Refrigerate the dressing for up to 3 days; drain any liquid before serving. Make the croutons in advance and store up to 2 days in a sealed container at room temperature.


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: 2 servings

  • For the croutons
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh bread cubes (your choice; from about 2 medium slices)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika (pimenton)
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For the tofu ranch
  • 8 ounces silken tofu, drained
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil or pure sesame oil
  • 1 dill pickle spear, minced (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated fresh garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For assembly
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, chopped (toasting optional; see NOTE)
  • Leaves from 1 large head butter lettuce, washed and dried (6 cups)
  • 1 watermelon radish, thinly sliced (may substitute 2 or 3 red radishes)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 large hard-cooked eggs
  • Sea salt or kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


For the croutons: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Toss the bread cubes with the olive oil, smoked paprika, kosher salt and a generous amount of the black pepper. Give that pepper mill one more twist than you think! Spread the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 12 to 15 minutes until crisped and lightly browned.

For the tofu ranch: Combine the silken tofu, oil, minced pickle, white wine vinegar, dried dill, onion powder, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender; puree until smooth. You’ll get a smoother consistency from a high-speed blender or immersion (stick) blender, but a standard blender does the job just fine. You should have 1 cup of dressing. (If you don’t have a blender, whisk together the dressing in a bowl: just make sure to mince the dill pickle as finely as you can and expect a few chunks. The dressing makes enough for at least 3 servings, so refrigerate any remaining dressing and use it for salads or dipping carrot sticks.)

Toasting the walnuts is optional, but it sure adds flavor. So place them in a dry skillet and cook for a few minutes over medium-low heat, until fragrant and lightly browned, shaking the pan to avoid scorching.

When you're ready to assemble, peel the eggs and slice them into wedges. Arrange the lettuce, radish, red bell pepper, walnuts, cherry tomatoes and eggs on a large plate. Season all of that with a bit of salt and black pepper. Top with the croutons and drizzle with the tofu ranch.

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Recipe Source

From Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser, of ACoupleCooks.com.

Tested by Sonja Overhiser and Alex Overhiser.

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