Tofu Salad with Cucumber

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This cucumber tofu salad is composed of golden fried tofu, crunchy cucumber, and fresh herbs with a simple dressing. It is a quick, easy, and filling salad for a healthy lunch or dinner.

a plate of cucumber tofu salad

Salad Components

This tofu salad recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. It is vegan/vegetarian friendly and gluten-free.

Tofu: you should use tofu that is suitable for pan-frying. It can be firm or medium-firm tofu. Even some soft tofu can be fried, resulting in a soft silky interior and crispy exterior, as you can see in this soy braised tofu and eggs recipe.

Cucumber: I recommend removing all the seeds from the cucumber since those seeds may add extra water to the salad.

Fresh herbs: it is best to use a combination of Asian fresh herbs, such as cilantro, Thai basil, and mint. These are what I usually use for Asian salads, such as in Vietnamese rare beef salad or green mango seafood salad. However, feel free to use what you have available.

Other add-ins: I also add carrot, onion and cherry tomato for more colors and textures.

plates with ingredients for this tofu salad recipe

Dressing

The dressing for this fried tofu salad is super simple to make. You will need some neutral-flavored vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sweetener, salt and pepper. You can tweak the ratios of ingredients to your liking. In case you don’t have rice vinegar, try white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

In Vietnam, besides nuoc cham fish sauce dressing, this type of simple dressing is also popular, especially for cucumber salad. We call it “dầu giấm” in Vietnamese.

Note: I also tried this tofu salad with the soy sauce dressing in my avocado tuna salad recipe instead, and they also made a pretty good combination.

How to Make Cucumber Tofu Salad

1️⃣ Prepare the tofu: before frying, you may want to press the tofu block to remove excess water. Then cut into thin slices and fry until golden. This may take 3-4 minutes each side.

frying tofu slices in a pan

2️⃣ Prepare the veggies: while waiting for the tofu to turn golden, you can julienne the cucumber (after removing seeds), carrot, and onion.

If you have time, salt the cucumber (or soak it in cold salted water), then drain and give it a gentle squeeze to release excess liquid. Also soak the onion and carrot in some cold water with some vinegar to remove its rawness and add crispness.

two bowls of water with soaked vegetables

3️⃣ Put the salad together: mix the dressing and toss the cucumber, carrot, and onion with the dressing. Then add sliced tofu and chopped herbs and gently mix.

adding salad components to a mixing bowl
a plate of fried tofu salad with cucumber

What to Serve with This Salad

⭐️ I’d love to hear what you think about the dish, so please feel free to leave a comment and a rating if you have tried it. New recipes are added every week so let’s connect on FacebookYoutubePinterest and Instagram for the latest updates. You can find my collection of Vietnamese recipes here.

a plate of tofu salad with cucumber and tomato

Tofu Salad with Cucumber

This cucumber tofu salad is composed of golden fried tofu, crunchy cucumber, and fresh herbs with a simple dressing. A quick, easy, and filling salad for a healthy lunch or dinner.
Author: Sophie
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 3 people

Ingredients
 

  • 10.5 oz tofu
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to salt the cucumber)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 10.5 oz cucumber, seeded and julienned
  • 1 oz julienned carrot (about ⅓ cup)
  • 1 oz thinly sliced onion (about ¼ cup)
  • 1 oz picked fresh herbs such as cilantro, Thai basil, mint, roughly chopped (about 1 – 1¼ cups)

For the Dressing

  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (plus more to soak the onion)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral-flavored vegetable oil (plus more oil to fry the tofu)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Wrap the tofu block with some layers of paper towel. Place a moderately heavy object on top to drain out excess water for about 10 minutes. Then cut into thin slices.
  • Place a pan over medium heat and add cooking oil to generously coat the bottom. Once the oil is hot, sprinkle half of the salt and pepper over tofu slices then add them to the pan. Fry until both sides are golden, flipped once.
  • While prepping and frying the tofu, slice the cucumber, carrot and onion. Soak the cucumber in 2 cups (480ml) cold water with ¾ teaspoon salt for 10-15 minutes. Soak the carrot and onion in 1 cup (240ml) water with 1 tablespoon vinegar for the same amount of time.
  • Drain the cucumber and give it a gentle squeeze. Also drain the carrot and onion. Set aside.
  • Once the tofu is golden on both sides, transfer to a wired rack or a plate lined with paper towel to absorb excess oil. When it has cooled down enough to handle, cut into strips.
  • Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing until well-combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. Place cucumber, carrot and onion in a mixing bowl and toss with half of the dressing.
  • Add the tofu strips and chopped herbs to the mixing bowl and gently toss. Transfer the salad to a serving plate and drizzle the remaining dressing.

Notes

You should use tofu that is suitable for pan-frying. It can be firm or medium-firm tofu. Even some soft tofu can be fried.
In case you don’t have rice vinegar, try white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
I use yellow onion, but red onion will work too.

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 233mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2289IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: tofu salad recipe
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3 Comments

  1. How long will this keep in the fridge for? Not sure how far in advance I can make it if I am prepping for the week.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m a tofu lover. This salad was so delicious and light that I could make it time and time again. Thanks for sharing the recipe.:)

  3. 5 stars
    Loved this! So simple and crunchy and delicious! I would only say that there needs to be about 3x’s the dressing for my family!

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