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Colorful (and Veggie-Full) Vegan Tofu Pasta Salad

Here's a feast for the eyes on a warm summer's evening: This Colorful (and Veggie-Full) Vegan Tofu Pasta Salad is a little more hands-on than some of the recipes I post, but it's worth it!
Course dinner
Keyword pasta salad, tofu, vegan, vegan pasta salad, vegetarian, veggies
Optional chilling time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6
Author Rachel Singer

Ingredients

- for the tofu

  • 14-16 oz package extra firm tofu drained, pressed, and cut into cubes
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil optional, but recommended
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper optional

- for the veggies

  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of a red onion chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cucumber peeled and chopped
  • 8 oz mini sweet peppers seeded and sliced

- for the pasta salad

  • 12 oz box tri-colored rotini or shaped pasta of choice
  • 1/2 cup dressing of choice I used sesame ginger -- see Note

Instructions

  1. Press tofu by patting the block dry, then wrapping it in either a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Put the wrapped tofu on a dinner plate, place a second plate on top, and use something like a heavy can on top to add some weight and help press out some of the liquid. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then unwrap and cut into cubes.
  2. While the tofu is busy pressing, start the water boiling for your pasta. Cook the rotini al dente in salted water according to package directions, then drain and run under cool water.
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, start chopping your veggies and getting them all ready for the pasta salad.
  4. Once the tofu is pressed and cubed, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for one minute. Add tofu and saute for about two minutes, then drizzle with soy sauce and season with garlic and crushed red pepper. 

  5. Continue to saute over medium-high heat for about another eight minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove the tofu from the pan to a paper-towel lined plate to cool once it is nicely browned on all sides.

  6. Stir your veggies and tofu into the cooled cooked pasta, then toss with dressing to create your colorful vegan tofu pasta salad.

Recipe Notes

Go on the sweeter side with the dressing to balance out the savory tofu. For optimal flavor, cover pasta salad and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating in order to let flavors marinate -- and, if you like more dressing on yours than I do, add a bit at a time until it's to your liking.