A hearty (and protein-rich!) Asian-style Kale Salad with baked tofu and creamy peanut dressing. Nourishing, easy to prepare, and full of satisfying textures and flavors. Plus simple to customize! (Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free.)
This Asian Kale Salad with tofu is a family favorite! I wanted to create a super satisfying salad with a hearty dose of both greens AND protein.
So we start with a nutrient-rich base of kale and colorful veggies. Then top it with flavorful, tender baked tofu.
And finally, drizzle it with a luscious peanut dressing. (The dressing is simply my favorite Peanut Sauce thinned out a little.)
The result is so many textures and amazing flavors all in one meal!
Ingredients for Asian Kale Salad
For the salad portion, you will toss together in a large bowl:
- Lacinato kale: This is also known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale. I prefer this variety here, but you could also substitute common curly kale if desired. I use one large bunch kale which is about 5-6 cups chopped.
- Red cabbage: Also called purple cabbage, this variety contains almost twice the amount of vitamin C as green cabbage. Plus it's rich in sulforaphane (a powerful phytochemical found in cruciferous vegetables) which has been linked to many health benefits such as heart health, digestion, anti-cancerous benefits, and more. It also contains anthocyanins which are antioxidants that are responsible for the deep purple color.
- Green onion (scallions): I like the mild onion flavor these provide. However if you want a stronger onion taste, feel free to substitute with thinly sliced red onion or sweet onion instead.
- Slivered almonds: Or you can substitute sliced almonds, crushed peanuts, cashews, etc. The nuts add really nice crunch, texture, and more protein to the salad.
- Baked tofu: I use my recipe for Easy Baked Tofu and it's a perfect addition to this salad. You can easily make it ahead of time (or at least through the marinating step) for even faster preparation.
Tip: Serve the baked tofu either warm or chilled with the salad - your choice!
Ingredients for Dressing
For the flavorful garlic-ginger peanut dressing, you will whisk together in a medium bowl:
- Peanut butter: I use creamy and natural with no added sugar or oil. But feel free to use chunky if you have it. This will add a little more texture to the dressing however.
- Pure maple syrup: This adds some delicious natural sweetness and helps to balance the flavors. Feel free to substitute brown sugar if you prefer.
- Tamari: I use this for a gluten-free option, but you can use soy sauce or even coconut aminos instead.
- Fresh lemon juice: You will need two tablespoons for this recipe, which is about half a lemon. Lime juice also works great depending on what you have on hand.
- Minced garlic cloves: Either one or two cloves depending on how much you like garlic.
- Fresh ginger: Feel free to use as much or as little freshly grated ginger as you'd like.
- Hot water to thin
Veggies: Include other vegetables in the salad as you see fit. Red bell pepper, avocado, cucumber, sprouts or mung bean sprouts, baby greens, broccoli, etc.
Protein: Instead of the baked tofu, feel free to add cooked shelled edamame, your favorite tempeh, white quinoa, or more nuts.
Garnish & toppings: Sprinkle sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, toasted almonds, or crushed peanuts on top before serving if desired.
Dressing: Feel free to play around with other flavors such as rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, or even a sprinkle of red chili pepper flakes for some heat.
Leftovers or preparing ahead: I suggest storing the salad, tofu, and dressing all in separate containers in the fridge. Then simply toss together when ready to serve. This helps it stay fresh and crisp. These ingredients hold up well in the fridge so it's great made ahead for meal prep, etc.
Note: We enjoy this salad as a main dish, but it works a hearty side dish as well!
Asian Kale & Tofu Salad with Peanut Dressing
- 1 batch Easy Baked Tofu*
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale (about 5-6 cups chopped)
- 2 medium carrots (about 1 cup shredded)
- 1 cup purple cabbage (finely shredded)
- 3 green onions
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds (or sliced)
- Optional garnish: Sesame seeds, fresh cilantro, etc.
For the peanut dressing:
- 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy, natural)
- 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or brown sugar (more/less to taste)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice or lime juice
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- Hot water to thin to desired consistency
- Make the tofu: Prepare the Easy Baked Tofu, or do this in advance and store in fridge until ready. (I like to slice mine in strips for this salad, but cut any shape you want like cubes or triangles.)
- Make the dressing: Add all dressing ingredients to a medium bowl. Add hot water, a little at a time, whisking to combine until dressing reaches desired consistency. I usually add about 1/2 cup hot water (more or less depending on the thickness of my peanut butter).
- Prepare the salad: Finely chop kale (large stems removed). Place in a large bowl and lightly massage to tenderize. Shred carrot and cabbage. Slice green onions. Add to bowl and toss to combine.
- Assemble: Place salad into serving bowls. Add tofu and slivered almonds on top, then drizzle with desired amount of dressing. Garnish with sesame seeds or fresh cilantro if desired.
Nutrition Per Serving (Estimate)
Sodium: This is omitted as I cannot provide an accurate number. I encourage you to calculate your own to provide a much more precise reading based on the exact ingredients, brands, and amounts you're using.
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