about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

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    A Look Back.



Vegan Caprese Summer Salad.

I hesitate to even call this a recipe because it’s so absurdly simple.  It’s more of a concept.  I’ve stopped eating dairy while I’m breastfeeding, and while most of the time it’s no big deal, there are a few things that just don’t quite work without cheese.  Like quesadillas, pizza (let’s be real here), and caprese salads. 

Or so I thought.

Vegan Caprese Salad via Daily Garnish

There is something that is just so summer about crisp tomatoes, fresh basil, and chewy mozzarella.  While I was busy lamenting the void of caprese salads in my life, I got an idea.  Mozzarella is a very mild cheese, almost flavorless at times.  Sort of like tofu, right?  And really, the olive oil, salt, and pepper are what make this salad so good. 

My newly vegetarian sister was skeptical.  I sliced it up and served it anyway.  We both agreed, it was good.  Like really good.  I don’t even miss the cheese type of good. 

Vegan Caprese Summer Salad

by Emily Malone

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 block firm or extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
  • 6 ripe Roma tomatoes
  • 20-30 leaves fresh basil
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Using a tofu press or press slabs of tofu between paper towels and heavy cookbooks. Once the tofu is packed firm and drained of almost all liquid, cut and slice into even squares.  The more liquid you can drain from the tofu, the more the texture will mimic mozzarella. 

Slice tomatoes – try to get the same thickness of the tofu slabs.  On a large platter or individual salad plates, assemble the salad by layering one tomato, one piece of tofu, and one basil leaf – then repeat.

Vegan Caprese Salad via Daily Garnish

Drizzle the entire salad with a healthy dose of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Do not be stingy. 

Vegan Caprese Salad via Daily Garnish

I rarely try to force a dish into being vegan, when cheese is such an integral ingredient. But in this case it works, and it’s delicious. Since tofu is so high in protein, this replacement even boosts the nutrition quite a bit! You can eat a large salad as a complete meal, or serve it as an appetizer or starter.

Vegan Caprese Salad via Daily Garnish

Happy summer!

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65 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Venessa     at 12:00 pm

Brilliant! I love making caprese, but haven’t because of the mozzarella. I will definitely try this one. Thank you for sharing!

[Reply]

Lisa     at 12:19 pm

Last year I ate caprese salads almost every day. Our vegetable garden really flourished and we had so many tomatoes! I used the fresh basil from the garden too. I cannot wait for our tomatoes to get going this year.

[Reply]

Alex @ Raw Recovery     at 12:42 pm

This looks great! Caprese salads are my favorite and I never thought of using tofu, that’s a cool idea :)

[Reply]

Angela @ Happy Fit Mama     at 12:42 pm

Caprese salads are perfect for the summer when my garden is overflowing with tomatoes. I love the addition of tofu. Brilliant!

[Reply]

Janelle     at 1:25 pm

So simple… and yet SO genius. Love it.

[Reply]

Jasmine @ learning to feed yourself     at 1:52 pm

Love this! I disagree about pizza not being the same without cheese though. Amy’s makes a really really yummy frozen pizza that’s vegan and just uses lots of veggies instead. I would make one myself if I had the talent…

[Reply]

Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See     at 2:20 pm

Love caprese salads, but they can be expensive for an appetizer! Hooray for a great inexpensive/high protein option :)

[Reply]

Karlee     at 2:42 pm

i love this idea!!! and tofu is much cheaper than fresh mozz.

[Reply]

Alexis     at 2:47 pm

This is one thing I refused to ever try during the three years I was vegan, but you made it look so good that I might actually try it. Thank you for sharing!

[Reply]

Lisa (bakebikeblog)     at 3:55 pm

what a great tofu ‘twist’ :)

[Reply]

Alejandra     at 8:56 pm

Oh I must say I wholeheartedly disagree with you: pizzas work very well without cheese! :)
The secret is in the tomato sauce. And without cheese you get to truly taste the veggies and not feel heavy after :)

[Reply]

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}     at 4:28 am

Hi Emily–sorry if you mentioned this before and I missed it, but I’m wondering why you aren’t having dairy while breastfeeding. Does Cullen have an intolerance or is there another reason you are avoiding it? I’m just curious as I’m breastfeeding my son now (6 months) and he is intolerant the proteins in dairy, soy, wheat, and nuts. I’m hoping he’ll outgrow it and I plan to start adding foods back in at 8 months, but now I’m wondering if there’s another reason to keep the dairy out for longer.

[Reply]

B @ Crags and Veggies     at 5:58 am

Oh wow! I just posted a vegan caprese recipe too. Tofu is a great idea! I used avocado, you should try it too! The texture is really nice!!

[Reply]

Ashley     at 6:59 am

I can totally see this working!! Texture and flavor. Such a creative concept!

[Reply]

Marissa@ohhhsolovely     at 9:56 am

this looks amazingly refreshing…will keep in mind for the july 4 festivities!

[Reply]

Ally     at 5:22 pm

TOTALLY unexpected, but I love this! Even more surprising, my I-have-to-have-meat-at-every-meal-husband loved it too!

We have a winner!

[Reply]

Carol     at 8:23 pm

Terrific idea! Heading to the farmers market tomorrow for tomatoes. Tofu and basil already in hand. Can’t wait to try it.

[Reply]

Jes     at 3:29 pm

So, I was skeptical about the tofu, but gave it a shot with some grilled green tomatoes and basil from the CSA … fantastic. Thank you! :)

[Reply]

Kim     at 5:24 pm

That’s genius! Thanks for the idea!

[Reply]

Jennifer Anchecta     at 8:36 am

Just made this and it tastes amazing…..I have a ton of garden tomatoes and adding tofu is so much healthier than cheese and it tastes great!

[Reply]

Autumn Tao     at 11:15 am

Oh Emily… you are a genius! This is outstanding! I’ve got incredible Jersey tomatoes and basil from my front porch, and as a vegan, I do occasionally miss mozzarella for meals like this… but what a great substitute. I paired it with an ear of Jersey sweet corn and I’m in summer heaven.

Thanks for the fantastic recipe!!

[Reply]

This American Bite     at 11:48 am

Thank you for sharing this recipe, this dish caught my eye I have included it in my June Recipe Roundup at This American Bite.

[Reply]

Recipe Roundup - June 2012 | Food for Foodies by This American Bite     at 11:27 am

[…] citrusy salad to compliment a sunset!  Daily Garnish adds to this category too with a colorful Vegan Caprese Summer Salad, as does The Kosher Spoon with Cherry Tomato and Green Onion […]

Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » Sprucing Up Summer Caprese With Oliviers & Co. (+$300 Giveaway!).     at 6:00 am

[…] of my favorite things to eat in the summer is the basic caprese salad (in fact, there are two variations of this salad on my recipe page already!).  And I think one of the things I love about it so […]

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