Hi, I’m Kate, and I am a chronic over-stuffer. I recognized the theme while I was making these salad wraps last night. In addition to salad wraps, I over-stuff tacos, burritos, bookshelves, closets and worst of all, my calendar. Basically, anything that can be over-stuffed, I over-stuff.
“All the salsas, please.”
—Me, at Chipotle, as the girl behind the counter struggles to fold over my burrito.
“Sure, I can photograph four recipes in one day, then answer comments and emails, go to yoga, stop by the grocery store and make it to bed at a reasonable hour.”
—Lying to myself on a daily basis.
I want it all, that’s all. The whole buffet on one plate. It’s exhausting. It can also be pretty embarrassing. Apologizing to everyone who’s been trying to reach me by email for the past week? Embarrassing. Trying to eat a saucy, over-stuffed burrito in public? Very embarrassing. Also very messy. Burritos are best consumed in the privacy of one’s own home.
Anyway. You should make these salad wraps. Over-stuff them all you want. I had a general “tropical salsa meal” concept on my recipe list already, but these wraps didn’t come to be until I tried Ali’s Thai-style nachos at her super cool loft. She topped her nachos with mango salsa and a drizzle of peanut sauce. Delicious!
I went a little crazy over the mango-peanut combination and immediately started brainstorming potential meals. After eating mango salsa and peanut sauce in various forms all week (proof!), I finally arrived at these salad wraps. They’re colorful, filling and full of Thai flavors. They would make a wonderful, light summer meal.
As much as I love the salad wrap version, please feel free to deconstruct the recipe. You could simply serve the mango salsa with chips. Or skip the tofu for a light appetizer. For a hot meal, serve the salsa on top of rice with peanut sauce. In the mood for a big green salad? Top fresh lettuce with salsa and peanut sauce.
If you’re in a hurry, use San-J brand peanut sauce to save some time (it’s salty, so I prefer my homemade version). Skip the garnish of peanuts and coconut flakes if you’re really in a time pinch.
You also have a few options when it comes to the tofu. I’ve shared my technique for crispy baked tofu already (the trick is to toss the tofu with a tiny bit of oil and some arrowroot starch or corn starch). I recently picked up a new way to infuse that crispy tofu with flavor, thanks to my friend Dana of Minimalist Baker. Basically, you bake the tofu first, then transfer it to a pan on the stove and pour sauce/glaze over it. The tofu soaks up the flavor like a sponge! It’s really neat.
The stove step is just one more step, though, so it’s up to you. The peanut sauce is plenty bold if you just want to drizzle it over the tofu, like I did in the top photo. Check out the last two photos if you want to see what happens when you cook the baked tofu and the sauce together on the stove.
Ok, I’ll admit that I’m an over-thinker in addition to being an over-stuffer. Make these wraps!
- 1 (15 ounce) block of organic extra-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- ⅓ cup creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar or maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- ½ lime, juiced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 ripe mangos, diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ bunch (about 4) green onions, chopped
- ⅓ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- ½ lime, juiced
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 small head of green cabbage (the smaller, the better) or bibb lettuce
- 2 tablespoons large, unsweetened coconut flakes* (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped peanuts (optional)
- To prepare the tofu: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drain the tofu and use your palms to gently squeeze out some of the water. Slice the tofu into thirds so you have three ½-inch slabs. Transfer the tofu to a plate lined with a lint-free tea towel or paper towels. Fold the towel over one tofu slab, then place the other slab on top, then repeat with the last slab. Top with more towel and place something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) to help press the water out of the tofu.
- While the tofu drains, make the peanut sauce: Simply whisk together all of the sauce ingredients until well blended. If the flavor seems too bold or the sauce is too thick, thin it with a tablespoon or two of water. Set aside.
- To bake the tofu: Transfer the drained tofu to a cutting board. Slice each slab into four columns and four rows. Whisk together 1 tablespoon olive oil and tamari, then drizzle it over the tofu and toss to coat. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch over the tofu, then toss the tofu until the starch is evenly incorporated. Repeat with 1 more teaspoon arrowroot starch. Arrange the tofu in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway, until the tofu is crisp and deeply golden.
- To make the mango salsa: Combine ingredients in a small serving bowl and toss. Taste, and add additional salt and/or a little splash of white wine vinegar if necessary. Set aside.
- To prepare the cabbage/lettuce: Slice off the thick stem and bottom ¼th of the head of cabbage/lettuce. Gently pull off one leaf at a time. Repeat until you have 6 to 8 cabbage leaves.
- If you want to go the extra mile with the tofu: Once the tofu has finished baking, toast the coconut flakes and chopped peanuts in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the coconut is golden on the edges. Add the tofu to the pan. Pour in ⅔rds of the peanut sauce and toss to coat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tofu has absorbed the sauce and has turned golden on the edges. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- To assemble the cabbage wraps: Divide the salsa amongst the salad wraps. Top with tofu and additional peanut sauce. Serve!
Make it vegan: Use either of the other two suggested natural sweeteners instead of honey
Make it gluten free: Use certified gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce.
Storage suggestions: These wraps keep well in the fridge, covered, over night. Sauce keeps well for up to a week in the fridge, covered.
Change it up: See suggestions in post. I'm pretty sure pineapple/peach would be great substitutes for the mango. You can substitute almond butter for the peanut butter if you'd like.
Prepare in advance: The baked tofu, salsa and peanut sauce can all be made in advance for easy assembly.
*Where to buy coconut flakes: Look for them in the baking section at Whole Foods, health food stores or well-stocked grocery stores. The brands I see most often are "Let's Do Organic" (green package) and Bob's Red Mill.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love my summer rolls with peanut sauce, peanut sesame slaw with soba noodles and sweet corn salad wraps.