Cold tofu makes a refreshing meal in the summer. In its most simple form, a dish of tofu only needs a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil. This recipe takes cold tofu to the next level, adding veggies and tuna for a satisfying summer salad.
An unusual but popular salad
The ingredients for this salad may sound like an odd combination but together they create a balanced dish – creamy and cold tofu, crispy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, slightly bitter watercress, and salty-savory tuna. Everything is topped with a garlic-soy dressing. It makes the most of farm-fresh ingredients supplemented with a few pantry staples.
This salad is popular in Hawaii. The only cooking required is a couple of minutes to warm the oil and infuse the garlic to make the dressing. Other than that, it’s a matter of chopping and assembling – who doesn’t like an easy summer meal?
Potlucks and meal prep
This salad holds up well and can be prepared in advance. Whether it’s a double recipe for a family potluck or meal prep for the week, prepare all your salad ingredients but keep the dressing separate. Spoon on the dressing right before serving.
Additions and substitutions
- Don’t like watercress? Substitute baby spinach or leave it off entirely.
- Want more veggies? Layer in a couple of handfuls of bean sprouts or some thinly sliced onions.
- Want more flavor and texture? Add taegu (Korean seasoned dried codfish and my favorite addition), takuan (Japanese pickled daikon), or kamaboko (Japanese fishcake).
- Need an extra flavor kick? Add some fresh grated ginger to the dressing.
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
This cold salad layers firm tofu with cucumbers, tomatoes, tuna, and watercress and is served with a garlic-soy dressing. It is a refreshing meal on a hot summer day.
For the dressing
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
For the salad
1 16–ounce package firm or extra firm tofu
1 Japanese or English cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise and then into 1/2” dice, about 3 cups
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2” dice, about 2 cups
1 6–ounce can tuna, drained
1 small bunch watercress, roughly chopped, tough stems removed, about 2 cups
For garnish (optional)
Green onion, chopped
For the dressing
In a small saucepan, add the vegetable oil, sesame oil, and minced garlic. Heat until barely simmering then remove from heat (do not let the garlic brown or burn). Allow to cool.
Once cooled, add the soy sauce. Set aside.
In a large serving bowl, layer the tofu, cucumber, tomatoes, tuna, and watercress.
Just before serving, spoon over the dressing.
Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Category: salad
- Cuisine: Hawaiian-American
- Calories: 169.2
- Sugar: 1.89 g.
- Sodium: 862.66 mg.
- Fat: 11.87 g.
- Saturated Fat: 1.71 g.
- Carbohydrates: 5.13 g.
- Fiber: 1.3 g.
- Protein: 11.4 g.
- Cholesterol: 7.65 g.
Keywords: tofu, cucumber, tomato, watercress, tuna