Cozy Winter Salad with Crispy Tofu and Rice

The BEST cozy winter salad with crispy tofu and rice. This salad is made with warm crispy cast-iron tofu, rice, fresh lettuce, carrots and beets. Serve it with sunflower seeds and the most amazing nutritional yeast dressing.

hands holding a bowl of cozy winter salad with tofu and rice

Do you enjoy salads during winter? Or is it more of a summer thing for you? If you’re looking for a satisfying salad to enjoy on colder days, I have the perfect recipe for you!

This salad is made with a nutritious and satisfying mix of fresh vegetables, warm rice and crispy tofu. The hot and cold combination is perfect for winter! It’s also topped with an amazing nutritional yeast dressing that’s salty and packed with flavor.

Serve it as a side dish or have it as your entrée. It works perfectly for both!

This salad is inspired by the buddha bowl at Eatology, a small local restaurant in Vernon, British Columbia.

beets, carrots, lettuce and tofu

This salad has a few steps, but the good news is, you can easily save time by prepping parts of the recipe ahead of time! I promise, it’s easier than it sounds.

Make Ahead Option

If you’re looking to save time the night you’re serving this salad, you can make parts of the salad ahead of time!

  • Prepare the dressing the day before and keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It will thicken slightly as the oil gets cold. You can leave it at room temperature while you prepare the tofu before serving and add extra water as needed.
  • Cook the rice in advance and keep it in the refrigerator.
  • Chop and shred the vegetables and keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one day. Don’t add the dressing to the vegetables in advance!

Once you’re ready to serve the salad, simply prepare the crispy tofu, heat the rice and assemble the salad. You can also serve this salad cold if you prefer by preparing the tofu the day before. I like it better warm, but both options are great!

Notes on the Recipe
  • If you’re not concerned about making this recipe nut-free, you can top it with sliced almonds instead of sunflower seeds.
  • Add some extra nutritional yeast on top if you’d like!
  • Don’t have beets or carrots? You can skip them or add more of one or the other.
  • You can use your favorite rice in this recipe. I love using brown rice or basmati rice. Simply cook the rice according to the package’s instructions.
  • Instead of using green lettuce, you can try spinach, Romaine lettuce or mixed greens.
  • The crispy tofu is my go-to way to cook tofu and you can also find the recipe in my Cooking with Legumes eBook.
nutritional yeast dressing in a small food processor
tofu in a cast-iron skillet
cozy winter salad in bowls

Cozy Winter Salad with Crispy Tofu and Rice

The BEST cozy winter salad with crispy tofu and rice. Made with crispy cast-iron tofu, warm rice, fresh lettuce, beets and carrots. Serve it with sunflower seeds and the most amazing nutritional yeast dressing.
Course Salad
Cuisine vegan
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice (or 3 cups of leftover cooked rice)
  • 1 medium head green lettuce (about 5 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 large beet, peeled and shredded
  • Raw or roasted sunflower seeds or sliced almonds, for topping

Crispy Cast-Iron Tofu

  • 1 block (350g) extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Nutritional Yeast Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 medium garlic cloves

Instructions

  • Start by cooking your rice if you don't have leftover cooked rice. Add 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 40 minutes, covered. Remove from heat and let steam, covered, for 10 minutes. You can also follow the box instructions for the specific rice you're using.
  • Meanwhile, cut the tofu into 10 slices and cut each slice in half to make triangles. You can also cut the tofu in any shape that you like. Press the tofu for 15-20 minutes using a tofu press or wrap the tofu with a clean towel. Place a cutting board on top of the covered tofu and top with heavy books.
  • While the tofu is pressing, prepare the dressing. In a small food processor or blender, blend all the dressing ingredients until smooth. Set aside.
  • Once the tofu is done pressing, add it to a medium mixing bowl, along with the garlic powder, salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Carefully toss to coat the tofu.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12" cast-iron skillet (a non-stick skillet will also work, but the tofu won't get as crispy). Carefully place the tofu on the heated skillet. Cook for 7-8 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Assemble the salad: Divide the rice, lettuce, shredded carrots and beets into 4-6 bowls. Top with the crispy tofu, nutritional yeast dressing and sunflower seeds. Serve!

If you make this cozy winter salad, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

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