A hearty, fresh salad with southwestern flavours, this Santa Fe Salad with Crispy Tofu, Beans, and Cilantro Lime Dressing also features avocado, quinoa, roasted sweet potato, dates, orange, red pepper, and red onion. It’ll make your taste buds sing!SKIP TO RECIPE!
There are few things I love more than creating meal-sized salads. I am admittedly what you would call a “volume” eater, so I will gladly embrace any opportunity to eat a massive bowl of something that is good for my body, rather than, say, ice cream (although there is obviously a time and a place for that, too 😉 ). I think an all too common refrain against veganism is that IT’S ALL RABBIT FOOD! I’ll happily prove any skeptics wrong, again and again, with pizza, pasta with meatballs, tacos, ice cream, cookies, and even salad!
This Santa Fe Salad falls into the category of meal-sized salad quite well, given how rich it is in all three macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat), as well as a plethora of micronutrients. Kale, my salad green of choice, is a veritable micronutrient powerhouse, being a rich source of vitamin K1, calcium, magnesium, and antioxidants to protect against free radical damage caused by pollution, aging, physical exertion, and stress. Dates are rich in potassium and fibre; oranges are rich in vitamin C, and the cilantro in the dressing is believed to detoxify the body of heavy metals.
And this salad is absolutely delicious to boot! There are so many flavours at play here, and yet they all coalesce into something that is truly magical.
I hope that you try this recipe, and that it becomes a regular item in your spring/summer menu rotation!
To make this salad, follow these simple steps:
Prepare the crispy tofu by tossing cubed tofu in some olive oil, tamari, and arrowroot starch/powder (arrowroot is absolutely key in attaining that irresistible crispiness).
At the same time, roast the sweet potato. While the tofu and sweet potato are in the oven, prepare the rest of the salad and the dressing: Cook the quinoa. Wash, dry, and chop the kale and lightly massage it with some olive oil and sea salt. Slice/chop the red onion, red pepper, orange, dates, and avocado. Add the vegetables, fruit, and black beans to the kale. Blend up the cilantro lime dressing, then take the tofu and sweet potato out of the oven and add that, too.
And that’s it! All that’s left to do is plate the salad, where it won’t look nearly as stunning as it did in the bowl before it was tossed and dressed, lol.
It still tastes amaze-balls, though (do the cool kids still use that term?). Just trust.
Because you’ve been so healthy and eaten a tonne of greens for dinner, might I recommend one of the following vegan desserts?
And if you, too, are salad-obsessed, here are three more favourites to try:
Santa Fe Salad with Crispy Tofu, Beans, and Cilantro Lime Dressing
Crispy Baked Tofu
- 1 block (454 g) firm or extra-firm organic tofu
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch/powder
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- 4 small/ 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained through a fine mesh sieve
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 medium bunches kale
- 1/2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 medium orange, peeled and chopped
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 8 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1 medium ripe avocado, pitted and diced
Cilantro Lime Dressing
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 lightly packed cup cilantro
- 1 lightly packed cup parsley
- 3/4 cup water, plus more as needed
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Make the Crispy Baked Tofu: Slice the tofu into 1-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. Add olive oil, lime juice, tamari, chili powder, and arrowroot, and toss to coat. Transfer to one of the prepared baking sheets and bake for 25 minutes, or until brown and crispy.
- Make the roasted sweet potato: Place the diced sweet potato on the second prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until tender and crisp around the edges.
- Cook the quinoa: Combine water, quinoa, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn down heat to low, cover, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until all water has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and cover again until ready to use.
- Prepare the rest of the salad: Place the kale in a large salad bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and a healthy pinch of salt. Massage the oil and salt into the leaves until they are tender and bright green. Arrange the black beans, orange, red onion, red pepper, avocado, dates, sweet potato, and tofu on top of the kale as pictured.
- Make the Cilantro Lime Dressing: Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Add additonal water as needed to create a creamy dressing consistency. Pour into a glass Mason jar until ready to serve.
- Pour about half of the dressing on top of the salad and toss to combine. To serve, divide the salad between plates and serve with 1/4 of the quinoa on the side (alternatively, add 1/2 of the cooled quinoa directly to the salad before tossing and serve extra quinoa on the side). Pass extra dressing at the table, as well as extra salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if desired.
If you make this recipe and post it to Instagram, make sure to tag @upbeet_kitchen and #upbeetkitchen so I can see!