Spinach & Smoked Tofu Pasta Salad
Seeking out yet another farmers market here in the city, I was a bit surprised by the standard fare of field tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes until I passed the last vendor of the lot. There I found baby courgettes, quarter sized, tender Sunburst squash and a rainbow of heirloom grape tomatoes. It wasn’t a tremendous leap from the fore mentioned “norm”, but a nice hop to say the least.
Although I’d gobbled almost half of my little tomatoes on the way home, I was still famished by noon. I wanted something quick and cool but filling. So while thinking about my presto pasta contribution, I wanted to incorporate my fresh finds. With the addition of tofu and rigatoni, I had a full meal to share.
SPINACH & SMOKED TOFU PASTA SALAD
500g Whole Wheat Rigatoni
1/2 Package Firm Tofu, marinaded in Sundried Tomato Pesto*
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Cups Baby Spinach, packed
1 Cup Heritage Grape Tomatoes, sliced
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, 6 or 7 chopped
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
4 Baby Courgettes, (zucchini) or 1 regular, sliced
4 Sunburst Squash (Patty Pan), sliced
*SUNDRIED TOMATO PESTO
1 Cup Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, packed
4 Cloves Garlic
2 Tablespoons Fresh Thyme
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Add the tomatoes to a 1 Cup measuring cup and fill with enough water to cover the tomatoes and allow to reconstitute until soft, about 20 minutes.
Drain the tomatoes and add them to a food processor. Add the garlic and pulse until well chopped.
Add the basil and thyme and with the motor running, slowly drizzle enough oil until everything is well blended and smooth.
Add salt to taste, incorporating well.
Drain and slice the tofu 1/” thick, lengthwise.
Place it in a single layer in a seal able bag, spreading enough of the tomato pesto to cover each side.
Seal and freeze for at least 20 minutes.
Whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar; set aside.
Boil the rigatoni to al dente, as to the package directions.
Drain and toss with the waiting oil and vinegar.
Grill the tofu over a medium flame for about 4 – 5 minutes on each side, or until slightly crisp with grill marks, being sure to close the lid between flipping to capture that smokey goodness.
Slice the tofu into bite sized cubes.
Wash and thinly slice the courgettes and squash; add to the pasta.
Toss with the spinach, tomatoes and lemon zest and top with the cubed tofu.
Serve immediately or make in advance and chill.