Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons Recipe - Vegetarian Dish Seasoned with Oregano and Tabasco

Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons

Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons Recipe - Vegetarian Dish Seasoned with Oregano and Tabasco
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 15 minutes | Servings: 4


Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons
Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons

Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons is a modern twist on traditional green salads, incorporating the health benefits and textures of tofu as a protein-packed crouton alternative. This recipe is perfect for those looking to enjoy a nutritious, flavorful meal that combines the peppery taste of arugula with the tangy sweetness of balsamic dressing, all while incorporating a variety of textures and colors from the vegetables and tofu. It's a versatile dish that can serve as a refreshing side or a light main course.


The concept of using tofu as a crouton alternative is a relatively recent innovation, reflecting the growing interest in plant-based diets and healthier eating options. Traditionally, salads have been garnished with bread croutons for added texture and flavor. However, as dietary preferences evolve, tofu has emerged as a popular protein source that can be prepared in countless ways, including as a crouton. This recipe is a testament to the creativity and adaptability of modern cuisine, blending traditional salad elements with contemporary dietary trends.


How to prepare

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Spray a sheet pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. 2. To make the Dressing: Place vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a food processor or blender. With the motor running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream.
  3. 3. To make the Croutons: Place tofu cubes and onion slices on the sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool.
  4. 4. To make the Salad: Toss all ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss again.
  5. 5. Garnish with tofu croutons and roasted onions before serving.


  • For a different flavor profile, try substituting spinach or mixed greens for the arugula. Roasted chickpeas can be used in place of tofu for an alternative protein source. Adding avocado or nuts can provide additional healthy fats and textures.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the crispiest tofu croutons, ensure the tofu is well-pressed and drained of excess moisture before baking. This can be achieved by wrapping the tofu block in a clean kitchen towel and placing a heavy object on top for about 30 minutes. Additionally, for a more flavorful dressing, consider adding a clove of minced garlic or a teaspoon of honey to the mix. When tossing the salad, do so gently to ensure the arugula leaves do not wilt or become overly saturated with dressing.

Serving Suggestions

This salad can be served as a refreshing side dish to complement a heartier main course or as a light meal on its own. For a more filling option, consider adding quinoa or farro to the salad. It pairs well with a crisp white wine or a light, citrusy vinaigrette for an added flavor dimension.

Cooking Techniques

Baking the tofu croutons ensures they are crispy without being greasy. For the dressing, emulsifying the oil and vinegar in a blender creates a smooth, homogenous mixture that coats the salad evenly. Tossing the salad gently ensures that the delicate arugula leaves do not become bruised.

Ingredient Substitutions

If balsamic vinegar is not available, red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar can be used as substitutes. For a soy-free version of the recipe, chickpeas or baked tempeh can replace the tofu. Honey mustard can replace dijon mustard for a sweeter dressing.

Make Ahead Tips

The dressing can be prepared up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator. The tofu croutons can be baked a day ahead and added to the salad just before serving to maintain their crispness. The vegetables can be sliced and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for quick assembly.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the salad in a large, shallow bowl to showcase the variety of colors and textures. Garnish with a sprinkle of hemp seeds or nutritional yeast for an extra nutrient boost and a visually appealing finish. A drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar can add a decorative and flavorful touch.

Pairing Recommendations

This salad pairs beautifully with grilled fish or chicken for a protein-rich meal. For a vegetarian option, serve alongside a quinoa or farro pilaf. A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Noir complements the flavors of the salad well.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

It's best to store the salad components separately if not consumed immediately. The dressed salad should be eaten within a day, while the undressed components can last in the refrigerator for up to three days. Tofu croutons can be reheated in the oven to restore their crispness.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

The calorie content of this salad is relatively low, making it an excellent choice for those monitoring their calorie intake. The majority of the calories come from the olive oil in the dressing and the tofu. A typical serving of this salad would contain approximately 200-300 calories, depending on the exact proportions of the ingredients used.


This salad is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary sources being the vegetables and the small amount of mustard in the dressing. Arugula and the other vegetables contribute minimal carbohydrates, making this dish an excellent choice for those on low-carb diets. The total carbohydrate content will vary depending on the exact serving size but is generally low.


The majority of the fat in this recipe comes from the olive oil used in the dressing. Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats, which are considered heart-healthy. The tofu also contributes a small amount of fat, but it is primarily unsaturated. Overall, the fats in this recipe are beneficial and contribute to the satiety and mouthfeel of the dish.


Tofu is an excellent source of plant-based protein, making it the primary protein component in this salad. The amount of protein per serving will depend on the quantity of tofu used. This dish provides a complete protein source when combined with the wide array of amino acids present in the various vegetables, making it a satisfying option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Vitamins and minerals

Arugula and the other vegetables in this salad are rich in vitamins and minerals. Arugula, for instance, is a good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin C, and calcium. Cherry tomatoes add lycopene, Vitamin C, and potassium to the mix, while cucumbers provide additional hydration and vitamins. This dish is a nutrient-dense option that contributes to a balanced diet.


The primary allergen to be aware of in this recipe is soy, due to the tofu. Additionally, those with sensitivities to mustard should be cautious with the dressing. This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free, making it suitable for a wide range of dietary restrictions.


Overall, Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons is a nutritious, balanced dish that provides a good mix of proteins, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. It is low in carbohydrates and calories, making it suitable for a variety of dietary goals.


Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons is a versatile, nutritious dish that combines the peppery flavor of arugula with the hearty texture of baked tofu. It's a testament to the adaptability of traditional recipes to modern dietary preferences, offering a satisfying meal that's as healthy as it is delicious. Whether served as a side or a main dish, it's sure to be a refreshing addition to any meal.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I discovered this recipe for Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons. It was a warm summer day, and I had just finished browsing through a quaint little farmer's market in the countryside. As I was heading back to my car, I passed by a small stand where a friendly elderly woman was selling a variety of fresh produce.

I struck up a conversation with her, and she mentioned that she had a special recipe for a salad that she loved to make for her family. Intrigued, I asked her to share it with me. She smiled and began to tell me about the delicious Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons that she had learned from her own grandmother many years ago.

She explained that the combination of peppery arugula, creamy avocado, tangy cherry tomatoes, and crispy tofu croutons created a perfect balance of flavors and textures. She also mentioned that the secret to the salad's success was the homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing that tied everything together.

I was captivated by her description of the salad and knew that I had to try making it for myself. The kind woman wrote down the recipe on a small piece of paper and handed it to me with a warm smile. I thanked her profusely and promised to cherish the recipe and pass it on to future generations.

When I got home, I wasted no time in gathering the ingredients and getting to work in the kitchen. I carefully followed the instructions, preparing the tofu croutons by marinating them in a flavorful mixture of herbs and spices before baking them in the oven until they were golden and crispy.

Next, I tossed the arugula, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and tofu croutons together in a large bowl, drizzling the balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the top. The aroma that wafted through my kitchen was intoxicating, and I knew that this salad was going to be something special.

As I took my first bite, I was blown away by the explosion of flavors in my mouth. The peppery arugula paired perfectly with the creamy avocado and tangy cherry tomatoes, while the tofu croutons added a satisfying crunch. The balsamic vinaigrette dressing tied everything together beautifully, adding a hint of sweetness and acidity that brought all the ingredients to life.

I couldn't believe that such a simple salad could be so incredibly delicious. I immediately knew that this recipe would become a staple in my cooking repertoire, and I made a mental note to share it with my family and friends at the next gathering.

Over the years, I have made the Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons countless times, each time receiving rave reviews from everyone who tried it. I have shared the recipe with my children and grandchildren, passing down the tradition of this special dish from generation to generation.

I am eternally grateful to the kind woman at the farmer's market who shared this recipe with me all those years ago. She opened my eyes to the beauty of simple, fresh ingredients and the magic that can happen when they are combined with love and care. The Arugula Salad with Tofu Croutons will always hold a special place in my heart, reminding me of that warm summer day when I discovered a true culinary gem.


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