Coconut Cabbage Salad with Mint Pesto Tofu

Firstly, thank you to all of you who took the time to read my last post and leave such thoughtful comments. I often feel like the internet is so saturated and this blog goes unread (except by my mom and boyfriend lol) but last week fueled some motivation to keep sharing authentically on here. Although it is very theraputic for me and I LOVE creating this blog its also something I do to inspire and connect with others. So thank you. That last post was lengthy and the fact that many of you took the time to read it and comment moves and surprises me in the best way.

You see…, time is the most vaulable resource you have.

Its the one thing you can never truly get back once gone. You can loose all the money in the world and still figure out a way to earn it back. You can loose your health but through proper diet, exercise and medicine you can potentially regain it all back and maybe even be healthier then before you got sick. Relationships can be lost and regained, cities and towns can be rebuilt, faith can be restored, but time…, once it’s gone, it’s gone. So the fact that you take the time to read my blog truly truly means a lot to me. Some of your attention and priceless time was spent here, on my little space on the internet.

But with that I find myself thinking about the importance of how we spend our time. What we choose to do with it defines us in many ways. Are you spending it on activities that bring you joy and make the world a better place? Are you wasting someones time by not telling them how you really feel? Are you stuck in a check out line where the cashier is moving slowly or on the 405 fwy (god help LA) or at the airport with a delayed plane? ย We’ve all been there. We’ve all had our time wasted.ย And I am sure I speak for us all when I say that it doesn’t feel very good. At best we learned something from those experiences that we can take with us on our journey through life. At worst we feel upset and angry about it, maybe we even let it ruin our day.

My goal is to never waste your time on here. To always provide value, inpsiration, relatability and damn good food. Like this motha effin salad. Its top knotch and will take less then an hour (maybe 45min if ya move quickly)of your time but worth every second of effort; it’s so good. This salad taste better the longer it sits making it a perfect choice for picnics, potlucks, meal prep you name it. This salad will take you places! And won’t be a waste of your time.

What makes this salad so special is the Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar. There are several decent ones on online and truly reccomend picking up a bottle. If you want to make this but don’t have the balsamic try lime juice, coconut water and rice vinegar mixed together to taste. I did not test this but I think it would yield similar results.

Below are some other options:

Coconut and Lime Infused Aged White Balsamic Vinegar
Coconut and Lime Infused Aged White Balsamic Vinegar
Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar

Thai Coconut Cabbage Salad with Mint Pesto Tofu

April 11, 2017
Serves 4/6 people
food processor or vitamix
Prep time
Cook Time


    see recipe below
  • 14 Ounces
    extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 Cup
    sesame oil
  • 1
    lime, zested and juiced
  • 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon
    pink salt to taste
  • 1
    medium green cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1/4
    small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Cups
    chopped cilantro, loose pack, plus more for garnish
  • 2
    large carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1
    red bell pepper, julliened
  • 2 Cups
    edamame, shelled GMO free
  • 1
    cucumber, sliced into ribbones with vegetable peeler or cubed
  • 1
    avocado, cubed or sliced
  • 1 Cup
    cashews, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 Cup
    green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1
    lime, zest and sliced as garnish on the side


  1. Pre-Heat oven to 425f

    Then make the Pesto:

    2-3 cups fresh mint, stems included, rinsed and chopped
    1/4 cup walnuts
    2 garlic cloves
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for smoother pesto
    1 medium lemon, juiced and zested
    1/4 cup cilantro, leaves and stems
    Pinches salt & pepper, to taste

    Put everything in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth.

  2. Prep the Tofu:

    Drain tofu block and press between a clean dish towel or paper towels. Then slice into 4 even bricks. Press again to remove more moisture.
    Cut into cubes.

    In a cast iron skilled over medium high heat, melt one tablespoon of coconut oil or cooking oil of choice. Let the cast iron get really hot then add in to tofu. You want it to sizzle when added. Thats how you will get a crispy exterior and soft interior.

    Toss the tofu a couple times for about 5-7 minutes until golden brown on most sides.

    Remove, place in a bowl and mix with 1/4 the mint pesto. Toss to coat. then transfer to a baking/cookie sheet. Spread out the tofu and put in the oven for 7-8 minuts. Then toss and roast again for another 7-10 minutes.

    Then turn off the oven but let the tofu hang out in there while you finish prepping the salad ingredients. This will help remove more moisture from the tofu so its a nice texture in the salad.

  3. Make the dressing:
    combine all ingredients in a bowl or container and whisk vigorously to combine. Season with salt and more lime juice to taste. Adding more vinegar if necessary.

  4. Prep the cabbage:
    thinly slice the green and red cabbage then add to a large bowl. Ideally you want a 4:1 ration of green to red. In my opinion thats the best for texture and taste. Add in half the cilantro and 3/4 the dressing reserving the rest. toss to coat and let it marinate in the fridge while you prep the other ingredients.

  5. Prep other salad ingredients:
    grate the carrots, julliene the red bell pepper, defrost the edamame or shell if necessary, chop the green onion, peel cucumber, cube the avocado. Squeeze with lime juice and salt if you want. I did. just adds to the overall flavor at the end but totes optional.

    Toast the cashews:
    in the cast iron used for the tofu whip down with a paper towel and then heat up over medium high heat. NO OIL - you want it dry. Then add in the cashews and toast for 3-4 minutes turning every so often to brown on all sides. Then remove, let cool and roughly chop.

  6. Remove the tofu from the over and let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to cool. Then toss with most of the remaining mint pesto.

    You might have some left over pesto which is SOO GOOD on avocado toast so if theres extra save it. Its also great with rice bowls, noodle bowls or with roasted veggies.

  7. Make the Salad:
    layer the ingredients on top of the marainated cabbage. All the veggies, then the tofu, avocado, crushed walnuts, green onion, extra cilantro, lime slices and the remaining dressing.

    serve and enjoy!

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  • Phi

    Oh yum, these look like bowls of deliciousness.

    • Thanks Phi- couldnt agree with you more, lol! Thanks so much for stopping by ๐Ÿ™‚

  • i love how the cucumber roses look, and everything seems so fresh and colorful! never heard of coconut white balsamic vinegar before, but it sounds delicious! and i typically stick with asian flavors for tofu but idk why; this mint pesto sounds so good, and i’d probably want to smother something carb-y with it!

    • Hey Heather! Thank you- those cucumber roses got a lot of attention at the picnic I brought this salad to, too lol. regarding the mint pesto- I took the inspiration to use mint from Vietnamese spring rolls. Often times they have thai basil or fresh mint in them. It ended up going really well with the rest of the flavors. Whatever you spread it on I am sure it will be good ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelsie | itsy-bitsy kitchen

    Oh my word! This looks wonderful! I’m a die-hard salad lover and all the flavors in here are just amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Kelsie! Thank you so much, this salad is delicious no doubt! xo

  • Iโ€™m a sucker for tofu, but I can never get enough flavor in it. I have faith that this recipe will help all of my tofu issues. Iโ€™m always surprised when people actually read my blog posts. I usually start with 500 words then cut it down to 200 figuring people will probably just skim my posts not bothering to read it. I guess Iโ€™m one of those weird people that likes to settle in, make some tea and ready my favorite blogs with no distractions, itโ€™s my favorite part of the day. This motha effin salad looks dam good.

    • Thanks Mary! Slather the pesto on thick and the tofu should taste pretty darn good. And we have that in common- I like to settle in a read my favorite blogs too. I never thought about word count consciously though, I generally just write until it feels complete but there is a science to it I am sure. There has to be statistic supporting the perfect length blog post. But my boyfriend doesnt think people read at all either- he is all about the pictures. But we read so we know thats not true lol!

  • What a gorgeous salad! Your food styling is impeccable and I want to dive right into this bowl of deliciousness!

    • Thank you Liz! I appreciate the kind words so much!

  • I’ve never had salad with tofu before, this sounds absolutely delicious and a reason to give it a try! Thanks for sharing, girlie, and I hope you’re having a great start to your week so far!



    • Hi Jalisa! I am a huge tofu fan, although I know its not for everyone lol! I like that the tofu takes the flavor of the mint pesto really well and I am a vegetarian but chicken would work here too if you like that. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I hope you are having a reat week as well xo

  • These are such pretty bowls of delicious food. I’m always a bit hesitant with tofu but these flavors look like they’d win me over.

    • Hi Caroline, Thank you so much for the kind words and stopping by! I feel you on the tofu- its not everyones favorite. This would also be great with chicken if thats more your thing? xo

  • kitchenriffs

    Love cabbage and am always looking for new ways to use it. This looks terrific — so good, and so good for you! I’d have just this for dinner and nothing more. Perfect for this time of the year! Thanks so much.

    • Thank you KR! Your speaking my language- this for dinner and nothing more! mmm

  • I was just looking at the tofu in my refrig yesterday and wondering what to make out of it because tried of making the same old recipe. That tofu looks so good coated with the mint pesto and love how the flavors are baked in. Trying this over the weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hey Karrie, Oh gosh yes! this is a great use for tofu- the pesto makes it insanely good. Lemme know how you like it ๐Ÿ™‚

  • So fresh and delicious! Have to try that mint pesto on tofu indeed ๐Ÿ™‚

    • its soooo goood! lemme know how you like it ๐Ÿ™‚

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