Keto Crispy Tofu Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

Keto Crispy Tofu Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

October 14, 2019   |  by Shannon   |   Jump to Recipe

I’ve heard it said that you can’t be vegetarian or vegan on a Keto diet.

I knew absolutely nothing about the Keto diet until about a month ago.  Now I’m still no expert, and I do not follow a Keto diet. “Carbs” is basically my middle name.  But from my research I discovered that you can, in fact, be vegan or vegetarian on Keto!

With the Keto diet and lifestyle really catching on these days, I decided it was about time I developed a recipe with Keto in mind.  It was a unique challenge, and I really enjoyed it!  It’s true, being vegetarian or vegan on a Keto diet is more restricting than Keto is for a meat eater.  But it can be done, and there are still a lot of delicious foods you can enjoy!

This salad is case in point: it’s my favorite salad right now!  I crave this salad.  You’d never guess it’s Keto friendly.  With its luscious, creamy tahini dressing, crispy tofu, delicious veggies, pine nuts, and feta (if using), this salad is simply decadent!  But at the same time, you can feel how healthy it is!

And this Keto salad is soooo filling—it keeps me completely satisfied from lunch to dinnertime.  How awesome is that?

Really quick before you jump to the recipe, I have included two different ways to prepare the tofu: baked and fried. I know some cringe at the thought of fried food, and that’s ok!  I’ve got you covered with my healthier but equally delicious baked tofu recipe. It’s a classic at our house!

Using a fryer skimmer is safer and quicker. Click to view one of my favorite fryer skimmers!

And if you’re like me and like to indulge in a little fried food, try the fried tofu!  It’s so simple and fabulous!  The texture of fried tofu is just amazing.  Fried tofu is somewhat like a crouton in my book, so it’s pretty awesome for a Keto diet where carbs must be kept to a minimum.

If making the fried tofu, I strongly recommend using a fryer skimmer to get that tofu in and out of the hot oil.  Here is my favorite on Amazon.  [aff. link]  Fryer skimmers are an inexpensive, yet super handy kitchen tool.   If you don’t have a fryer skimmer, a slotted spoon is the next best thing.  But I’m telling you, the skimmer really is the way to go!

Fleur de sel is one of my very favorite products! I use it basically everyday, no exaggeration! Click to view on Amazon! [aff. link]

Secondly, I don’t season my tofu with anything before frying.  All I do is sprinkle a little fleur de sel on after removing the tofu from the hot oil.  It adds the perfect flavor and finishing textural note to the tofu.  Fleur de sel is basically little flakes of salt.  It’s such an elegantly French product, I use it on just about everything, from this fried tofu to finishing off pizzas or pasta.  I even use it on desserts when making them “salted.”  Take a look at my favorite fleur de sel on Amazon! [aff. link]

Whether you follow a Keto diet or not, I am sure you’ll love this decadent, healthy, and filling salad!  And with the holidays just around the corner, isn’t it just kind of nice to know you’ve got a delicious and healthy recipe like this on hand?

Carb Count:

  • 2 Tbsp Creamy Tahini Dressing: 1 carb
  • 3 oz tofu: 2 carbs
  • 1 cup arugula: 1 carb
  • ¼ cup Feta cheese: 1.5 carbs
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts: 1 carb
  • 1-2 Tbsp red onion: 0-1 carb
  • 1 ounce bell pepper: about 1 carb

Total: 7.5-8.5 carbs per salad

5 from 1 vote

Keto Crispy Tofu Salad with Creamy Tahini Dressing

Whether you follow a Keto diet or not, I am sure you’ll love this decadent, healthy, and filling salad! And with the holidays just around the corner, isn’t it just kind of nice to know you’ve got a delicious and healthy recipe like this on hand?
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Servings: 4
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp liquid smoke
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or to taste

For the tofu (if baking):

  • 2 14 oz blocks tofu, extra firm
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Braggs Aminos
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt

For the tofu (if frying):

  • 2 14 oz blocks tofu, extra firm
  • 48 oz canola oil, one standard sized bottle
  • Fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

For the veggies:

  • Arugula, I use 1-2 cups per salad
  • Red onion, cut very thinly in to half moons (I use 1-2 Tbsp per salad)
  • Bell pepper, thinly sliced (color of choice, red or green bell peppers are more keto-friendly; I use about 1 ounce per salad)

Everything else:

  • Pine nuts, I use 1 Tbsp per salad
  • Feta Cheese, I use ¼ cup per salad if not keeping it vegan, omit to keep this salad vegan

Instructions

Make the dressing

  • For the dressing, simply throw everything into the food processor! Process until the dressing is really luscious, smooth, and creamy. Dressing is done!

Make the tofu—Baked Tofu

  • Cube the tofu into about 1 inch by 1 inch cubes. (I usually do just under 1 inch cubes)
  • To a large mixing bowl, add the tofu, olive oil, aminos, pepper, and sea salt. Toss everything together, taking care not to break apart the tofu. Some cubes may break a little and that is ok!
  • Let the tofu marinate for about 5 minutes, or even a few hours in the fridge before baking. Just do whatever works best with your schedule.
  • Grease a standard sized cookie sheet, and place the tofu cubes, evenly spaced, on the sheet. The cubes don’t have to be very far apart from each other, just make sure they aren’t touching.
  • Bake the tofu at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Take the tofu out of the oven, and flip each cube so a different side is touching the bottom of the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Now take the tofu out of the oven, and do one more toss of the tofu. Don’t worry about being too precise here, just a quick toss is great.
  • Bake the tofu for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Tofu is done!

Make the tofu—Fried Tofu

  • Cube the tofu into about 1 inch by 1 inch sized cubes.
  • In a large pot (at least 12 cup capacity—this will keep you from potentially being hit by oil when it gets hot!), add the full bottle of canola oil. Heat over medium high heat until when you look at the oil, it seems to be separating. That means it’s hot enough!
  • Turn the heat down to medium. With a slotted spoon or a fryer skimmer, lower a few pieces of tofu into the hot oil. I usually do seven cubes at a time, but start with less until you get the hang of it! The oil will probably go a little crazy, it’s normal, so don’t worry! (This is why a deep pot is so important!)
  • Let the tofu sizzle away in the oil. Every so often, use your slotted spoon or skimmer to kind of move the tofu around to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • After about 2 minutes, use your spoon or skimmer, and carefully remove a piece of tofu from the oil. If it looks crispy and golden brown, the tofu is done! Go ahead and remove all the pieces from the oil. If the tofu is not crispy and golden brown, place back into the hot oil, and check again in another 2 minutes.
  • Note: you will have to adjust the temperature under the pot at times. If the oil is getting too hot and really going nuts, turn the heat down. If the oil gets too cold and is not making that tofu sizzle, turn the heat back up! (Temperature control will become second nature as you fry more tofu!)
  • Once the tofu is crispy and golden brown, remove all the cubes from the oil with your slotted spoon or skimmer. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel to remove excess oil from the tofu. While the tofu is still warm, sprinkle with a little sea salt or fleur de sel.
  • Continue this frying process until all the tofu cubes have been fried. Your fried tofu is done!

Assemble the salads

  • Lay the arugula on your dinner plate. Then arrange the red onion and bell pepper on top. Sprinkle the pine nuts and feta, if using, followed by the tofu. Drizzle the creamy tahini dressing over the salad, and serve!

Notes

Carb Count:
  • 2 Tbsp Creamy Tahini Dressing: 1 carb
  • 3 oz tofu: 2 carbs
  • 1 cup arugula: 1 carb
  • ¼ cup Feta cheese: 1.5 carbs
  • 1 Tbsp pine nuts: 1 carb
  • 1-2 Tbsp red onion: 0-1 carb
  • 1 ounce bell pepper: 1 carb
Total: 7.5-8.5 carbs per salad
This salad makes great leftovers for lunch!  If the Creamy Tahini Dressing gets thicker overnight, simply add a little more water before serving, and mix to incorporate.  A little bit goes a long way, so start with just a small amount of water!

I’m Shannon, thanks for visiting!  When I’m not on an adventure with my little girl, I’m developing plant-based recipes or watching a Classic Film!

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Katerina

    5 stars
    I looove the look and sound of this salad, Shannon! And I think it’s wonderful that you can either bake it or fry the tofu (though I assume the texture is a little different?). I haven’t heard of fleur de sel before and now I really want to try it. Thanks so much for sharing – I am not surprised you are in love with this salad, it sounds absolutely amazing.

    1. Shannon

      Thank you so so much Katerina! You are so right, the tofu texture is different between the frying and the baking. Still gets nice and crispy both ways, but more so with the frying. (Baking tends to keep the inside a little softer, but the outside still gets nice and browned!) Ohhhhh please please please try cooking with fleur de sel!!! It’s the BEST! Absolutely love the stuff! And if you try it, be sure to tell me what you think! It’s a definite necessity in my kitchen (:

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