One to love
Sprouts, bacon & ranch salad combines shredded Brussels sprouts, no-fuss savory tofu bacon and creamy cashew ranch dressing. This salad is a complete meal, but also makes a great side for your next potluck. This is plant-based, no-oil goodness at it’s best. It will wow your sprouts and your taste buds.
It’s official – sprouts, bacon & ranch salad is my newest favorite salad. I know we think holidays when we think Brussels sprouts. Don’t be tempted to wait for the holidays for this one. This salad makes for great picnic and barbecue food. Any excuse will do. My only concern is how often it too often?
Not that seasonal
It’s like clockwork in the autumn. Every food shop, market and green grocer showcases their abundance of sprouts. Admittedly, when the plethora of sprouts arrives, I get a little giddy. Arriving a bit late to the ‘love them sprouts’ party, my growth in admiration has atoned for it. I don’t just eat them because they are good for me (I don’t eat anything solely for that reason). I genuinely like them. The good news is that although you might pay a bit more in the off season, Brussels sprouts are available essentially year around.
Tofu, master of versatility
I spent years believing that I didn’t like tofu. Looking back, it wasn’t the taste, but the texture that put me off. However, I was not to be deterred, so I kept on experimenting with it. I now love it and here are a few of my strategies.
First, tofu really benefits from a marinade as it takes on the flavor you give it. Second, if you don’t like ‘mushy’ tofu, be mindful to slice your pieces relatively thin and bake it in the oven. I’ve had some success dry frying tofu (no oil) in my cast iron and non-stick skillets, but (in my opinion) tofu has a much better texture and you benefit form less mess if you just put it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet in the oven.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch
Ranch dressing and all its rich, creamy flavor gets a plant-based makeover using cashews, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic and fresh herbs. Raw cashews are essential as is soaking them for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make this dressing using a food processor, blender or an immersion blender. All gadgets welcome. The trick, if you want smooth ranch dressing is not compromising on soaking times and using an appliance that can reach a reasonably high speed.
My whole-food plant-based journey has initiated many the recipe makeover in my kitchen. Beyond recipe transformation to whole food, plant-based, my transition has really been dependent not allowing my story to determine my destiny. Reflecting on the past might stack the deck in favor of a failure, but if we can take our story, glean what we can and move on, perhaps we are not doomed to repeat the past. Peace.Print
Sprouts, bacon & ranch salad is a plant-based picnic and barbeque favorite. Brussels sprouts, savory tofu bacon & cashew ranch dressing create a salad sensation everyone will love.
- 8 oz. (250 gm.) tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
Cashew ranch dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup (or more) plant milk
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
- 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives
- Pinch of salt (if desired)
- 4 cups (400 gm) brussels sprouts
- 2 cups (400 gm) chopped tomatoes
- 1 medium red onion sliced
- 8 oz (250 gm) tofu bacon
- 1 cup (250 ml) cashew ranch dressing
- Dice or cube the tofu into bite-sized pieces
- Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a shallow dish
- Add the tofu and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes (longer for more flavor)
- Preheat the oven to 3500F (1900C)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the tofu.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tofu is firm and crispy. Toss the pieces at least once.
Cashew ranch dressing
- Soak the raw cashews for 4 hours or overnight.
- In a blender or food processor, add the cashews, plant milk vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, onion powder black pepper. Blend until smooth adjusting the plant milk for consistency and the vinegar or lemon juice for flavor.
- Once you have your dressing where you want it, add the fresh chopped herbs.
- Using a knife or food processor, thin slice (shred) the brussels sprouts.
- Mix the brussels sprouts, chopped tomatoes, sliced onions and the dressing.
- Mix in the tofu bacon.
- Tofu can be marinated a day ahead for a stronger flavor.
- Mix it up – add shredded carrots or diced cucumber if you have them on hand.
- Category: Salads
- Method: Blending/Baking
- Cuisine: Plant-based