The Gentleman and I just returned from a beautiful trip to Arizona that included wasting time by a resort pool, hiking through Sonoran desert, teetering on the edge of the Grand Canyon and drinking in the surprisingly diverse landscape in the northern part of the state. Naturally, because I was there, the trip also included sampling as much regional cuisine as possible.
Walking through a 105° desert left me with a new appreciation for an already favorite combination: super spicy flavors in cold-chilled foods. This salad features classic southwestern vegetables like sweet corn, hot chili peppers, crispy okra and sweet crunchy jicama, an and a good dose of protein to (cowboy) boot! Enjoy.
Southwestern Vegetable Salad
2 cups extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 Tbsp. each lemon juice and lime juice
2 green onions
2-4 Anaheim chiles or Jalapeno peppers**
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
6-8 medium okra
1 ear corn, cooked
2 medium tomatoes
1 small-medium jicama
Cotija Cheese (optional) ***
In a small bowl combine tofu, lemon juice and lime juice. Chop green onions. Slice chiles or peppers and remove seeds and seed membrane.
Add onion, chiles/peppers, cilantro, garlic salt and olive oil to tofu. Toss all ingredients well, cover and refrigerate.
Slice okra, and dice tomatoes, radishes and jicama (jicama has a tough skin which must be peeled. I usually just chop off about 1/4 inch on four sides which leaves me with a square shape and then dice the flesh from there).
Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add tofu mixture when pan is hot and cook about 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in okra and radishes. Cook an additional 3-4 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, corn and jicama and saute an additional 2 minutes then remove from heat. Sprinkle with Cotija Cheese. Can be served hot or cold, but serving it chilled is DIVINE!
* Jicama is a sweet, crispy vegetable sometimes called a Mexican potato. It’s apple-like flavor compliments the citrus and a chiles nicely.
** If you’re senstive to spiciness, I recommend using 1 to 1 1/2 Anaheim chiles. If you like it hot, go with jalapenos!
*** Can substitute Feta cheese.