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October 13, 2013

Quinoa, Sea Bean, and Tofu Salad

by Anne Paddock

The secret to the flavorful Quinoa, Sea Bean and Tofu Salad lies with a tiny green plant called the Sea Bean. Sea Beans are salt tolerant plants that look like skinny little asparagus sprouts, Grown close to salt water: in marshes, on beaches, or in mangroves, these green plants have a salty flavor which can be toned down if soaked overnight in a bowl of cold water and then rinsed.

No need to cook these delightful greens as they are delicious raw and because they come “pre-seasoned,” there is no need to use the salt shaker in any recipe in which they are included. Available at specialty grocery stores (i.e. Whole Foods) in the refrigerated section, fresh sea beans cost about $10 a pound, although this salad only calls for 1 cup which is about 4 ounces.

Quinoa, Sea Bean, and Tofu Salad is a refreshing salad spiced up with the sea beans and the tofu which is covered in cumin, paprika, and pepper. Browned in a skillet, the tofu provides a satisfying source of protein and flavor to this plant-based salad.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of  tri-colored quinoa, cooked
  • 1 container extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into bite sized cubes
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 scallions, green part diced
  • 1 cup of sea beans (soaked overnight and rinsed)
  • 1/2 clove of elephant garlic, pressed
  • 1 T of flour (gluten-free flour also works)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pint of sweet grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 2 cups of cooked broccoli florets and stems

Directions:

  • Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Rinse the sea beans in cold water and using a pair of scissors, cut into 1 inch pieces and add to the quinoa mixture.
  • Place the tofu cubes in a medium-sized bowl. Squeeze the juice of a lime over the tofu and gently stir.
  • Mix the flour, cumin, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl and sprinkle half of the mixture over the tofu. Stir the tofu and sprinkle the remaining flour/spice mixture over the tofu.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick large saucepan and heat on medium-low. Add the scallions and the pressed garlic and saute for about 3 minutes being careful not to brown.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high and add the tofu gently browning the tofu by cooking the cubes 3-4 minutes per side until the cubes are a light brown.
  • Add the cooked tofu pieces to the quinoa and sea beans.  Gently stir in the broccoli florets, stems, and the chopped tomatoes.
  • Serve in large pasta bowls. Makes 4-6 large servings or 8-10 side servings.

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