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.
This tofu salad recipe requires just a handful of ingredients. It is vegan 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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
What to Serve with Fried Tofu Salad
More Tofu Recipes
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Tofu Salad with Cucumber
- 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
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 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.