janet @ the taste space

The New Best Salad Ever (Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa)

In Favourites, Mains (Vegetarian), Salads on July 6, 2011 at 5:52 AM

Hi! It’s Rob again. I know that I haven’t posted here in a while. A few months ago I was worried about Janet’s blog when she was going through a really busy time at work. I’ve realized, however, that Janet has many dozens of recipes on deck waiting to be posted and she always had things well in hand. I knew that The Taste Space would forge on boldly without my extra help.

I’m back, though. A couple days ago I made a salad which both Janet and I agreed was the best salad we’d ever had in our lives. It was simply amazing. There was a cacophony of bold flavours bursting with every bite. There were so many things going on. Every portion was enhanced for extra action and pleasure. I knew that I had to share it here.

The salad is the Uptown Salad, adapted from Radiance 4 Life by Tess Challis. Janet suggested it to me as something that was up my alley. It only took me a few seconds of looking at the recipe for me to decide that I had to make it. It hit many of my ingredient buttons: mangoes, coconut, tofu, cilantro, citrus, and chilies. And that’s the just the beginning.

The recipe suggested that it would take 30 minutes (or less!) to prepare the recipe. No way. It took me an hour and a half of chopping, shredding, soaking, slicing, and frying. I was getting cranky by the end. This salad was more work than advertised. The verdict was going to come when we finally got to try it.

Janet occasionally uses some swear words. She’s generally a good girl, though, and restrains herself. However, when she tried the Uptown Salad there was a foul concoction of some four swear words in a row. These words were not uttered in anger. They were the stunned response of a girl eating the best salad she’d ever had in her life. These words were an emotional response of extreme awesomeness. This is a salad with the power to move you.

This is being submitted to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this week’s Potluck Party for Best Dish and to Ricki’s new Summer Wellness Weekends.

Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa
aka The New Best Salad Ever

Garlic Tofu:
7 oz. extra-firm tofu
4 teaspoons tamari
2 teaspoons non-virgin coconut oil, divided
8 large cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Cilantro Rice:
2 1/4 cups cooked brown rice (though I used white sushi rice and this salad still turned out)
3 tablespoons minced cilantro
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 medium cloves garlic
5/8 teaspoons sea salt

Spicy Mango Salsa:
2 mangoes, peeled and cut into small cubes (I used Ataulfo mangoes)
1/2 cup minced cilantro
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons agave nectar or maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon Aleppo chili pepper flakes
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups cooked black beans, (if using a 19 oz can, rinsed and drained)
2 cups baby spinach or baby greens
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup shredded purple cabbage

This recipe also called for one small avocado, but I didn’t use one. Trust me, this salad didn’t need it.

1. Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick slabs and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Sprinkle evenly with the tamari and set aside. Toss a few times, to make sure it is evenly coated.

2. Prepare the rice by stirring together all the “Cilantro Rice” ingredients and set aside.

3. Prepare the salsa by stirring together all the “Spicy Mango Salsa” ingredients and set aside.

4. Prepare the beans and veggies so that everything is ready when the tofu is done.

5. In a skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until lightly golden brown. Remove onto a place and set aside.

6. In the same skillet or wok, add the other 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil and add the tofu cubes. Stir-fry gently until golden brown. Remove from the heat and toss with the garlic.

7. Place some of the baby greens (or spinach) in bowls. Top with the beans, rice, carrots, and cabbage. Add the garlic tofu. Top with the mango salsa. Serve immediately. Swoon. Cry. Swear. Emote.

Serves 3. Prepare to fight for that last serving!

  1. loved the spicy mango salsa and the whole platter is a winner !

  2. Ha! I canNOT picture Janet uttering even ONE swear word! No less four in a row. I must really need to make this salad.

  3. […] I lucky to have a guy who will make me The New Best Salad Ever? If you don’t believe Rob, take it from me: It was fabulous, heavenly, and a whole lot of […]

  4. I love the story behind this–hilarious! Okay, an hour or more, huh? Well, it had better be worth it. . . it’s now on my “to try” list. 🙂 Thanks for submitting it to the WW event!

  5. So much color and flavor on one plate–this salad does look truly special. Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays. 😉

  6. Great looking salad, love the combination of everything that’s in there!

  7. […] Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and Mango Salsa from The Taste Space […]

  8. Ooo yum this sounds amazing. I can see why you guys both loved it so much!

  9. […] or non-traditional slaw, turn uber sweet after a long braise, bulk up a porridge, add crunch to a salad, or turn Mexican with the right […]

  10. […] taste as you go. Little did I realize how similar this dressing was to my Turkish Bulgur Salad, of former Best Salad Ever fame. With all the roasted veggies, it is kisir on steroids. Or maybe just a […]

  11. […] as Rob became cranky as he prepared The New Best Salad Ever, I gradually became cranky as I made this… because I had to destem my wakame! This was such a […]

  12. […] found this delicious salad at Post Punk Kitchen. I know it looks like another crazy multi-component salad: roasted beets, smoky tempeh croutons, a warm maple mustard dressing. Trust me, the best […]

  13. […] in my kitchen! I don’t cook with tofu that often, and if I do, it is usually incorporated into my meal. I’ve made a few stand-alone tofu recipes, and that was even before I went vegan. […]

  14. […] Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa (aka The New Best Salad … […]

  15. […] even bat an eye when I used 6 cloves of raw garlic in the Black-Eyed Pea and Kale Salad, 8 (pan-fried) cloves of garlic for The New Best Salad Ever, 10 cloves of (roasted) garlic with broccoli and chickpeas, 14 cloves of raw and roasted with this […]

  16. I bookmarked this recipe a while ago but for some reason, the multiple parts just intimidated me. Also, I don’t always have all those ingredients on hand. So last night I did a riff on this with what I had and it was awesome! I made a garlic sauce for the rice (garlic, salt, red pepper flakes slow sauteed in olive oil) plus chopped parsley and scallions. Then mango salsa (mango, sweet red pepper, shallots, lime juice and salt), refried black beans (black beans, onion, garlic, cumin and chili con carne) and steamed broccoli. It was amazing. All the different flavors played off each other beautifully. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

    • Trust me, I know how crazy it can be to make multi-component dishes… but I love your spin on it with the broccoli and refried beans. It sounds super delicious and I really should make it again. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know about your version! 🙂

  17. […] White Bean and Kale Soup – Holy Shiitake Lentil Soup – Ginger Lime Carrot Soup (recipe elsewhere) – Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and  a Mango Salsa – Smoky One Pot Beans and Rice – Immune Boon Noodles – Almost Raw Quinoa Toss – Hungarian Chickpeas […]

  18. […] sweet mango salsa – how could it not be good? Thankfully, it is easier to make then our New Best Salad Ever (aka Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa).  This was best […]

  19. I love mango salsas in the summer…beautiful salad. Thanks for linking up to HVF!

  20. […] is actually fairly plain with limited marinade but I thought mine could use a bit of flavour. While Rob usually scoffs at Tess’ declarations of making meals in under 30 minutes, I quickly located a quickie tempeh […]

  21. […] The New Best Salad Ever (dethroning the above): Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Salsa […]

  22. […] Kale and Edamame Salad, Lime-Spiked Black Bean and Quinoa Kale Wrap, Miso Healthy Dressing, Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and  a Mango Salsa and Maca Chip Raw Energy […]

  23. […] Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and Mango Salsa from The Taste Space […]

  24. […] your posts. However, until you build up extra posts, guest posts definitely help. I still remember when Rob was guest posting back in the day […]

  25. […] If you have yet to try them yet, try to imagine how they would taste. Crunchy, salty little nibbles. It surprised me how much they taste like popcorn, I kid you not. Combined with the pickled currants (tart and sweet), and the avocado (creamy!), this salad was perfectly balanced. I know I say that a lot here, but this salad rises above its peers. It could possibly be my best salad of the year. I thought my Cali-Coco BLT Salad was the best so far, but this week I switched allegiances. It could possibly usurp the former champion, crowned in 2011: The New Best Salad Ever aka Roasted Garlic Tofu Salad with Cilantro Rice, Black Beans and a Mango Sa…. […]

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