Years ago, when I’d just turned 30, I was living in New York, renting a tiny room from an aging musician. The room had one window with a view of the brick facade of the building next door. When I got too claustrophobic, I would take the long subway ride down to Brighton Beach to see the ocean and eat Russian food. Walking along the shore, no matter what the season, you could see people playing cards, drinking tea, and generally just enjoying the outdoors. There was a restaurant/banquet hall that always beckoned with promises of warm tea and traditional music and food like it was made by grandmother’s hands. Hearty food. Sour food. Pickles, borscht, rye bread– the flavors were so unique, yet so familiar, that eating a meal was like going home.
This salad reminds me of that food. The dressing is sour and tart like mustard, and brightened by lemon and dill. I “roasted” the tofu with an air fryer. You can also bake it in the oven with a parchment-paper lined baking sheet. (Preheat the oven, slice the tofu, and bake for 30 minutes, flipping once.)
1 block extra firm tofu, sliced length-wise into six slices
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 large shredded cabbage
1/4 cup red onion slices
1/4 cup tahini (made with sesame seeds only)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
the juice of two lemons
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
- Fit the bottom of the air fryer with a piece of parchment paper.
- Place the tofu slices on the parchment paper. Cook on the highest setting for twelve minutes, flip and rotate, and then cook for another twelve minutes.
- Mix together the tahini, lemon juice, soy sauce, flax seeds, and dill.
- To plate, arrange the cabbage, carrots and onions on a platter and place tofu slices on top. Drizzle the dressing over the tofu slices.