I have always greatly admired Italy. When I was a kid, I had a “Roma” t-shirt that I wore until the threads gave out. I would watch Italian movies with my dad, like Cinema Paradiso. In college, I took years of Italian language classes, and would walk around trying to think and speak in Italian. I am positive that had to be annoying, but I was in love with Italy. What could I do?!
Italians value aesthetics and family, and their food is a direct reflection of both things. Let’s be real; this hardly qualifies as an “ugly” salad! It’s completely gorgeous, which is just so Italian. In addition, “antipasto” is the appetizer that signifies that a meal has started. It generally includes meats, cheeses, pickled vegetables, olives, and artichokes. It brings people together.
While it may not be fresh mozzarella, marinaded tofu does it’s best to be a tasty addition to this salad. All in all, this vegan antipasto salad makes a fantastic meal, or could also be paired successfully with other Italian favorites, like Orange Zest and Fennel Risotto or Gnocchi with Swiss Chard and Tomatoes. While I haven’t done it yet, I think it would work well for entertaining guests, because it makes a lot of portions and tastes amazing.
For a variation, add some pepperoncini or vegan parmesan. I love it with a big piece of garlic bread on the side. I hope you enjoy it!
Vegan Antipasto Salad
14 ounce extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
Olive oil, to drizzle
½ cup (+ more to drizzle) red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
¾ tsp salt
4 cups fresh spinach, torn
4 cups romaine lettuce, torn
½ cup jarred roasted red peppers packed in oil, oil drained red pepper, chopped
1 cup mixed pitted olives
1 cup grilled artichoke hearts packed in oil, oil drained (I used Cynara Grilled Artichoke Hearts)
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1. Move your oven rack to the highest position inside your oven. Preheat oven to BROIL on HIGH. Drizzle an 8″ X 8″ pan with olive oil, and then toss the tofu in it until well coated. Arrange the tofu in a single layer (see photo above). Place in the oven and broil for ~10 minutes, or until it gets golden on the top. Keep an eye on it to make sure it does not burn.
2. While your tofu is broiling, put together the marinade. Add red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk together until the salt dissolves.
3. After removing tofu from the oven, immediately put it into the marinade. Toss it in the marinade until everything is coated, and then, put it in the refrigerator without a lid for, at least, 20 minutes or until the tofu is cool.
4. While you are waiting on the tofu to marinade and cool, assemble the salad. Place the spinach and the romaine in a very large mixing bowl. Toss them together.
5. Add rows of the remaining ingredients. On top of the spinach and romaine, add a row of roasted red peppers, a row of olives, a row of artichokes, a row of grape tomatoes and finally, a row of the cooled tofu.
6. Drizzle red wine vinegar and some additional olive oil over the top of the entire salad. You can also use a little of the oil in the jar with the artichokes or olives, if you want a little extra seasoning. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Serve.