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Thai Crunch Salad

Course Salad
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4



  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce chopped
  • 3 medium carrots julienned and chopped into bite-sized pieces (1½ cups/375 mL)
  • 1 medium red bell peppers seeded and diced, or 1¼ cups (300 mL) diced cucumber
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced (⅔ cup/150 mL)
  • cup 75 mL chopped fresh cilantro or basil leaves
  • Cast-Iron Tofu recipe below
  • Roasted Tamari Almonds recipe below
  • Thai Almond Butter Sauce recipe below

Cast-Iron Tofu

  • 1 12- to 16-ounce/340 to 450 g block firm or extra-firm tofu
  • 3 teaspoons 15 mL avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon 5 mL garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon 1 mL fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon 1 mL onion powder (optional)

Roasted Tamari Almonds

  • ½ cup 125 mL raw almonds, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon 20 mL low-sodium tamari or coconut aminos

Thai Almond Butter Sauce

  • 1 large or 2 small clove s garlic
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons 10 to 15 mL grated fresh ginger, to taste
  • ¾ cup 175 mL smooth homemade almond butter or store-bought
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons 45 to 60 mL fresh lime juice, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons 30 mL low-sodium tamari or coconut aminos, or more to taste
  • 3 to 4 ½ teaspoons 15 to 22 mL pure maple syrup, to taste
  • teaspoon 0.5 mL cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons 30 to 90 mL water, as needed to thin



  1. Place the romaine in a large salad bowl, or divide it among four individual bowls.
  2. Add the carrot, bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, tofu, and almonds.
  3. Serve the Thai Almond Butter Sauce on the side and drizzle it over the salads just before serving.

Cast Iron Tofu

  1. Press the tofu overnight, or for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Slice the pressed tofu into 9 or 10 rectangles ½ inch (1 cm) thick and then slice each rectangle into 6 squares, to make a total of 54 to 60 tofu pieces.
  3. Heat a large cast-iron (for nonstick) skillet over medium-high heat for several minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the tofu with 1½ teaspoons (7 mL) of the oil. Gently stir until all the tofu is coated. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, and onion powder (if using).
  5. When a drop of water gently sizzles on the skillet, the skillet is hot enough. Carefully add the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons (7 mL) oil and tilt the skillet to coat it evenly with the oil. Add the tofu to the pan in a single layer (be careful, as the oil might splatter-- use a splatter guard, if desired), making sure all the pieces lay flat against the skillet. If your skillet is too small to cook all the tofu at once, work in batches.
  6. Cook the tofu on one side for 4 to 7 minutes, until you have a golden crust with some speckled brown spots (the crust should be about 1/16 inch/ 1.5 mm in thickness). With a fork, flip each piece and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more, until golden. Serve immediately; the tofu crust will soften as it cools.

Roasted Tamari Almonds

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the almonds with the tamari until the almond pieces are fully coated. Spread the almonds over the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.
  3. Roast the almonds for 9 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. The tamari will have dried up.
  4. Let cool completely on the pan. The almonds will harden up as they cool. Using a spoon, scrape the almonds off the parchment paper and enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a couple of weeks

Thai Almond Butter Sauce

  1. In a food processor, process the garlic until they are finely chopped.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Add the water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency-- start with 2 tablespoons (30 mL) and work from there. The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Recipe Notes

This is a helpful note by Angela Liddon, author of Oh She Glows Every Day: “The dressing can easily double as a dip for summer rolls, baked tofu, or crudités, too. If you’d like to turn this salad into a heartier entrée, try swapping the romaine lettuce for cooked soba noodles for even more staying power”. “If you don’t have a julienne peeler, you can use a regular peeler to create thing carrot “ribbons,” or you can grate the carrot on a grater box. If you use a grater box, I would probably reduce the carrots to 1 cup (250 mL) so they don’t overwhelm the salad”.