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Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Terry Hope Romero
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Preparation: 20
  • Cooking: 40
  • Ready: 60

A colourful and imaginative salad where fruit meets tofu meets spinach and is topped off with a seductive crunch of smoky pecans!


For the orange poppy seed dressing and tofu

  • 1 pound/450 g extra-firm tofu
  • ½ cup/120 ml orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • ¼ cup/60 ml olive oil or grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup/60 g minced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach salad

  • 6 cups/300 g fresh spinach (or other salad greens, such as baby mixed greens, arugula/rocket, red leaf lettuce, Boston lettuce, butter lettuce)
  • 2 cups/150 g sliced strawberries
  • 1 cup/75 g blueberries
  • 1 cup sriracha and smoke pecans (see below)
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into thin half-moons

For the sriracha and smoke pecans

  • 1½ cups/160 g raw pecan halves
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt (such as Maldon)


For the strawberry spinach salad and orange poppy seed dressing

Press the tofu. Meanwhile, whisk the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Slice each piece of tofu into four rectangles and then slice each rectangle into two triangles. When you’re done, you’ll have a bunch of little tofu triangles! (The dressing can be made and stored in the fridge up to 4 days in advance, along with the tofu. Store washed, spun-dry greens in a green bag for up to a week.)

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 4 and lightly oil a 9 x 13-inch ceramic baking dish. Lay the tofu triangles in the pan, pour half of the dressing over the tofu, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip each piece over, and brush with the marinade from the bottom of the dish. Return to the oven and bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until the tofu is golden. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Wash, spin dry, and tear the spinach into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a big serving bowl and add the fruit, onions, sriracha and smoke pecans, and tofu triangles. Pour on the remaining dressing and toss well. Summon your salad-loving cohorts and eat!

For the sriracha and smoke pecans

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/gas mark 5. In a 13 x 9-inch metal or ceramic baking dish, combine the pecans, maple syrup, Sriracha, and liquid smoke. Stir until the nuts are completely coated. Sprinkle with salt.

Roast the nuts for 16 to 18 minutes, stirring occasionally, until a sticky glaze forms. Remove from the oven and immediately transfer the nuts to a lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil, and use a fork to break apart any clumps of nuts. Once completely cool, store the nuts in a tightly covered container. Use within 2 weeks.

Raw Ready: Coat the nuts with the glaze, sprinkle with salt, and spread in a single layer on a solid dehydrator sheet. Dry for 8 or more hours as per manufacturer’s directions.

Additonal notes

From Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

“Berries always find their way into my favorite spring salads, but strawberries and blueberries are the centerpiece of this gorgeous salad. Frozen orange juice concentrate packs zesty flavor into the sunny poppy seed dressing, which also doubles as a marinade for the chewy, baked tofu.”

Twitter: @TerryHope
Instagram: @TerryHope

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