Sunday, September 12, 2010

Toasted farro, green bean, and shiitake salad with tofu

For some reason, all my Magazine Mondays recipes have been coming from Cooking Light. I'm not sure why that is, since I flag lots of recipes in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine as well, but I'm really glad I stuck with Cooking Light for this one! This recipe is super tasty. The only thing I didn't like in this dish was the lack of heat in the dressing - I ended up adding a little Sriracha sauce to my bowl, which made it perfect.

Although this is called a salad, it really is a balanced main dish. The tofu preparation is rather time-consuming, but it is worth it - I loved the dense, firm texture of the pressed tofu. I made a few changes to this recipe: the original one calls for pearled barley, but I used pearled farro instead. Farro is a grain in the wheat family that I have been wanting to try for a while - my grocery store recently started carrying it, so I took the opportunity to give it a try. It cooks pretty quickly, and I liked it a whole lot in this dish. Wheat berries or brown rice would probably work well too. I also sauteed the beans instead of blanching them, and tweaked the amounts of some of the ingredients based on what I had available.

Toasted farro, green bean, and shiitake salad with tofu
Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2010
Serves 4-6

1 (12-14 oz.) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 5 (1-inch-thick) slices
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, grated
Cooking spray

2 tbs sesame oil, divided
1 cup uncooked pearl barley or farro
5 cups water
1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
10 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed (I used 7 oz.)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced green onions (I used 1 cup)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs agave nectar or honey
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
Vegetable oil
Sriracha or other chile sauce for serving (optional)

Place tofu on top of several layered paper towels. Top with several more paper towels, and cover towels with a cutting board. Place a heavy skillet on top of the cutting board and let stand for about 45 minutes, pressing down on skillet occasionally. Cut each tofu slice into 10-20 cubes (based on your size preference, I like smaller cubes) and arrange them in a layer in a shallow dish.

Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Prepare tofu marinade by mixing together brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic in a small bowl. Pour marinade over tofu and toss to coat well. Let stand for 25 minutes. Coat a baking sheet with spray oil and arrange tofu in a single layer on sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes, turning cubes after 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add barley or farro and toast for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 5 cups of water and 1/2 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until grains are tender. Drain and cool completely.

Add a splash of vegetable oil to the saucepan and heat over medium-high heat. Add green beans and saute until crisp-tender and browned in parts.

Brush shiitake mushroom tops with 2 tsp sesame oil. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and add mushrooms oiled side down. Grill until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, sprinkle with salt, and slice thinly when slightly cooled.

Combine grains, beans, green onions, mushrooms, and tofu in a large bowl. Mix together remaining 1 tbs sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, agave nectar or honey, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Drizzle over salad and stir to combine (I only used about 3/4 of the dressing - taste as you go to decide how much to use). Salad can be served warm, chilled, or at room temperature. Serve with Sriracha or other chile sauce if you want to add some heat.


  1. do you drain the tofu or does the marinade bake with it?

  2. Hey Sonia, the marinade soaked right in to the tofu so there really wasn't anything to drain after marinating


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