Mexican BBQ Ranch Salad with Herb Crusted Tofu

collage MEXSo I must admit that I have been AWOL for quite some time now, and it is my new resolution to post at least once a week. . . let’s hope I can live up to this :)! I just met a recent food blogger here in Italy, who is really quite successfully at what she does, and this definitely got me motivated, I am psyched to get back to sharing my recipes with you all, again! So on to the main event. . . this awesome Mexican BBQ Ranch Salad!

I was craving something that reminded me of home, and since I have a ton of different salad varieties in the fridge, I found it only fitting that I use some up, and what doesn’t fit the bill better and is more American than ranch dressing!?. I also felt like I needed something hearty for my husband who, on a quick side note, is too lazy to make and/or eat lunch, so when he gets home at night he’s starving. . .  and of course for me too 😉

I know there are quite a few steps to it, but I promise it is well worth it 😉


Ranch Dressing


1 c. raw cashews soaked for a few hours

1/4 stalk of leek (chives would be better for the traditional recipe, but I like to use what I have on hand, and they’re organic 🙂 )

2 sprigs of dill

2 sprigs of cilantro or parsley (I only had cilantro on hand)

1 tsp. vinegar

1 tsp. himalayan salt

pepper to taste


Simply soak the cashew for a few hours, or overnight, or if you don’t have time just soak them for about 30 minutes in hot water while you are prepping the rest of the salad. Blend on the ingredients together and that’s it, you have it, some knock your socks off healthy ranch dressing!



Lettuce (whatever you’ve got will work, crunchier lettuce varieties would be more ideal)





toasted tortillas strips


Dice all the veggies up and then cut corn (for a gluten-free salad) or four tortillas into strips and toast in the oven or in a skillet for about 4-5 minutes, until crunchy.

Herb crusted tofu

I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I like to use what I have on hand and I don’t like going out and spending more on specific ingredients, so I try to make what I have work, and I suggest you modify this too to suit what you have in your pantry.


2 blocks of tofu cut into 6 ‘steaks’

1 stalk of leek

1/8 tsp. celery seed

2 – 3 sprigs of thyme

1-2 sprigs of rosemary

2-3 sprigs of cilantro

1 sprig of liquorice

2-3 sprigs of dill

* 1 mora chile

1 tsp. himalayan salt

pepper to taste

1 tbs olive oil


*I picked these mora chiles up on a trip to Mexico, they are wonderfully spicy and smoky. If you don’t have any you can always substitute with any other chile (ancho would be great) and if you want to keep the smoky flavor add in a 1/2 tsp. of liquid smoke.


Drain the tofu of as much liquid as you can by placing some weight on it and then draining that off. In the meantime blend all ingredients together, add in a little water at a time until you have reached a sauce-like consistency (about 1/8 c.). Spoon the mixture over the tofu steaks, spreading on both sides. Leave to marinate overnight – the longer you leave it the better, but if you don’t have time, leave for at least half an hour. To cook them heat a pan with olive oil until it is quite hot and transfer the tofu to the pan and lower to medium/high heat, browning on each side for about 10 mins (5 on each side).

Now that all the hard work is over, it’s time for assembly and enjoying . . . dig in!

Buon appetito!


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