Spring Time Asparagus Tofu Salad

Spring has sprung in central Indiana, and we’re celebrating by cooking a signature spring dish with our favorite spring vegetable: asparagus!

This dish may look complicated and fancy, but Chef Garde Manger Kelly Retherford shows how this impressive looking dish can be made by anyone who wants to show off with some exotic ingredients for some fresh spring flavor.

We recommend this dish for any spring gathering like Memorial Day, especially if your party has a lot of vegetarian guests. By breaking the norms of a traditional lettuce salad, you can surprise your friends with a dish that is both pleasing to the eye and pallet.


Ginger Root divided – ½ tsp

Ground Cumin – ½ tsp

Lemon Juice divided – 2 tbsp

Garlic – 1 clove

Rice Vinegar – ¼ Cup

Soy Sauce – ½ Cup

Extra Virgin Olive Oil divided – 1 cup

Fava Beans  – peeled and blanched – 1 ½  Cups

Tofu – drained

Parsnip – 1

Yellow Tomatoes – 2

Chamomile Micro Greens

Pea tendrils

Baby Heirloom Tomatoes

Sundried Tomato Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste



Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette & Tofu Marinade

1 – Score the bottom of the 2 yellow tomatoes, by lightly making an X in the skin. Remove the core of the tomatoes with a paring knife at the stem. Roast the tomatoes in the oven at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

2 – Once the tomatoes are roasted, remove the skin of the tomatoes starting at the X. Cut the tomatoes into small sections.

3 – Place the tomatoes in a blender or food processor and combine until liquidized. Add rice vinegar, ¼ tsp of ginger root, garlic, 1 tbsp of lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and blend. Add ¾ cup of Extra Virgin Olive oil and blend again.  The vinaigrette should be sauce like, and able to coat the back of a spoon.

4 – Remove half of the vinaigrette and set it aside for later. Add soy sauce to the remaining half and blend again until well combined. This will be the marinade for the tofu.

Fava Bean Puree

5 – Put fava beans in the blender or food processor with 1 tbsp of lemon juice, ¼ tsp ginger root, and salt and pepper and blend until soft. Scrape down the sides of the blender to keep everything incorporated well. Once its mixed together, add ¼ cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Mix again until it is soft like guacamole. Once its at the desired consistency, put the fava bean puree in a piping bag to use later.

Parsnip Crisps

6 – Take the parsnip and peel the skin off. Once the skin is removed, use the peeler to peel off thick strips of parsnip. Heat up 1 cup of oil in a pan on a stove. When the oil is hot, drop the peels of parsnip into the oil for about 30-45 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, remove the parsnips once they are golden brown and crispy.


7 – Cut the tofu into 1-inch thick patties. Put the patties in a baking pan or another vessel where you can easily press the tofu in. Lay down paper towels before putting the patties in, and then place more paper towels on top. Take another baking pan and press the tofu between them. Place a weight on the top pan to help with the pressing. Press the tofu for 30-45 minutes or until all the moisture is removed.

8 – Once the tofu is firm and all the moisture is removed, remove the tofu from the baking pans, and put the patties in a vessel to marinate with. Pour the marinade over the tofu and let sit at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.

9 – Gently remove the tofu from the marinade, making sure to wipe of the excess. You can throw out the marinade once you’ve removed the tofu.  Place the tofu on a hot grill for 90 seconds, and then rotate for 90 degrees to create a crisscross pattern with the grill marks. Flip the tofu over and make the same grill mark pattern on the other side.


10 – Cut off the bottom part of the asparagus. For this dish, you will only need the top half. Once all the asparagus is cut, lay it on a tray and drizzle asparagus with oil, salt, and pepper.

11 – Place the asparagus on a hot grill and cook asparagus for three minutes on each side or until you see dark grill marks like the tofu. Once cooked, remove asparagus from the grill.


12 – Pour a little pool of the vinaigrette in the middle of the plate. Place 1 cooked tofu patty over a portion of the pool. Place the asparagus on top of the tofu in a pyramid pattern. Cut your asparagus so it is the same length as the tofu.

13 – Using the piping bag, distribute small dollops of the fava bean puree adjacent to the tofu. Use the fava bean puree as a glue to stick cut baby heirloom tomatoes, fava beans, and parsnip crisps onto the plate in a decorative fashion.  Delicately garnish the dish with the chamomile micro greens and pea tendrils.

14 – Using the remaining vinaigrette, drizzle it on top of the asparagus, tofu, and other vegetables, but be careful not to touch the garnishes or they might fall flat.

15 – Serve and enjoy!


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