Not all salads are created equal. There are dinner salads, meant to whet the appetite. There are fruit salads, often eaten in lieu of French fries (so we can justify dessert). And then, there are meal salads. We feel proud of ourselves when we eat a meal salad. They fill us up with healthy stuff (so we can justify dessert).
My friend, blogger Angie Thompson at Peas For Two, posted a mouth-watering photo of a chicken salad from Umalu restaurant in Hawaii. People post a lot of food on Facebook, but this photo grabbed me like an iron vice.
Thanks to the internet I was able to find Umalu’s menu, read a description of the salad, and then promptly changed several things to make it vegetarian and mine.
As you may have noticed, I called this salad “Turkey” (quotation marks denote imitation) OR Tofu. That’s because they both work and are tasty. My husband and I prefer the fake turkey in this recipe, but I know there are those of you leery of imitation products. Tofu is rather bland and doesn’t really add much tastewise to the salad, whereas the faux (I’m feeling posh) gives a nice turkey-ish flavor and texture.
NOTE: There are lots of imitation turkey products out there. Some are fabulous, and some taste like cardboard. Don’t give up if you don’t like the first brand you try. My favorite is by Worthington and it’s called Meatless Smoked Turkey Roll (See photo below). Don’t be put off by the price – this baby weighs in at 4 pounds and it’s all edible. It comes frozen so I let it thaw enough to cut it into meal sized portions, then refreeze it. And, no, they’re not paying me to promote it.
The only real work to producing TANGERINE “TURKEY” SALAD is pan frying the “turkey” (or tofu, if you choose), and the tortilla strips – but neither of these steps is too time consuming. For the most part, this salad is fast and easy.
Of course, me being the perennial DIYer, I made the tortillas myself, which added a bit of extra work. I see you rolling your eyes, thinking that I could just pick up a pack of pre-made tortillas and save the trouble. Hear me out! Those tortillas come in packs of 12 and I only needed 1 or 2 (depending on size). Unfortunately, tortillas don’t freeze well. So I made only what I need and there’s no waste. As you may have noticed by now – I hate waste! I included the recipe for flour tortillas below – they’re really easy.
TANGERINE “TURKEY” (OR TOFU) SALAD – makes 3 servings
- about 6 oz tofu or imitation turkey (3/4″ slice of Meatless Smoked Turkey)
- 2 6″ flour tortillas (recipe below, for the adventurous)
- about 3 cups red leaf lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cucumber, skinned, seeded, and sliced
- 6 scallions, sliced
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded (about 2 carrots)
- 1 11-oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
- 2-3 T spicy peanuts
- Ginger Mandarin Dressing (see photo) or a similar one
Cut “turkey” into two 3/8″ thick discs. If using tofu, slice three 3/8″ pieces. Dredge the “turkey” in flour and shake off excess (you don’t have to do this with the tofu). It’s best to use a nonstick skillet if you’re using tofu – even with oil it tends to stick to pan. Fry in oil, browning both sides. Remove to paper towel and cool. Slice into bite sized pieces.
Slice the tortillas into 3/8″ wide x 1½” long strips. A pizza cutter works really well for this task. In a small saucepan or wok, put at least 1/2″ of vegetable oil and heat to 375º Fahrenheit. Deep fry small batches of the tortilla strips until they’re browned on both sides. Remove to paper towel.
NOTE: You can reuse the deep fry oil by pouring it through a fine sieve into a container. Store in the fridge.
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, cabbage, cucumber, scallions, carrots, oranges, and “turkey” or tofu. Add dressing (don’t be stingy) and mix well.
Just before serving, sprinkle in the peanuts and tortilla strips.
FLOUR TORTILLAS – makes 2 tortillas
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 2 T water
I used my food processor to mix the dough, but because this was such a small amount, I had to keep stopping the machine to scrape the sides and bottom. Instead, you can just mix everything together by hand, kneading until it’s well mixed.
Divide dough into 2 balls, cover, and let rest for 1/2 hour. (If you don’t do this, the dough will resist rolling.)
On a well floured board, roll out each dough ball into circles 6″ in diameter.
Either use a tortilla cooker or a 10″ dry skillet. One at a time, cook the tortillas, flipping often. You DON’T want to brown them or they get crispy – they need to be flexible. Each one will take about 1 minute total. Transfer into a plastic bag to keep them moist until ready to use.