I know some of you are rolling your eyes at the screen right now mouthing a sarcastic “really?”, but to be perfectly honest, I may like this vegan Caprese Salad better than most using fresh mozzarella and I’ll tell you why. Unless you’re making your own fresh mozzarella, most of the store-bought stuff tends to be more rubbery than creamy.
If your idea of a delicious accompaniment to sweet summer tomatoes is chewing on a pencil eraser, then more power to you. Personally I’d rather have this cured tofu.
Sure, it’s not going to be the same as stretched cheese curds pulled straight out of hot whey, but by salting and curing the tofu overnight on a wire rack, it draws out moisture, giving the tofu a soft, cheese-like texture while seasoning each slice to the core. The lemon juice not only tones down the soy flavor, it also adds the hint of tartness present in fresh cheeses.
With layers of sugar-sweet sun ripened tomatoes and creamy cured tofu, each bite is an affirmation that food does not need to contain animal products to be delicious.
Vegan Caprese Salad
- 1 package (350 gram / 12.3 ounce) firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon salt
- olive oil
- 2 (400 grams / 14 ounces) large ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar (preferably from Modena)
- small handful of basil leaves
- Slice the tofu into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the tofu and then sprinkle the salt evenly on both sides of the tofu. Place the tofu on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. This will draw out moisture from the tofu while seasoning it.
- Slice the tomato into ¼-inch thick slices from side-to-side. Plate the tomatoes and cured tofu by alternating them in a staggered stack.
- Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and tear some fresh basil on top. If you like, you can sprinkle a little sea salt on top to finish it off.
Yield: 2 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.