Pepita y Aji Amarillo Salad

This salad is inspired by one of my favorite lunch salads from a restaurant in Akron that is now closed. Luckily, I've had the menu listing saved on our shopping list for months and even purchased the Aji Amarillo (a Peruvian yellow pepper) paste off Amazon when I first had the salad and was feeling particularly motivated. The salad is a mix of spicy, salty, and sweet and it comes together to make such a fun salad that is perfect for a meal. This salad does require some specialty ingredients the aji amarillo paste came from Amazon and the guajillo chili came from the bulk section at our local grocery store.

A Vegetarian & Cooking original.

Original description:
Baby Kale and Chard, Pumpkin Seed Currant Pesto, Tomatoes, Guajillo Fried Onions, Aji Amarillo Vinaigrette
-4 ounces lettuce of choice, chopped
-4 ounces baby kale
-1 dried guajillo chili, pulverized to dust
-8 ounces fried onions
-4 ounces heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved
-14 ounces extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced
-Spice blend of choice (our tofu was crusted in paprika, hot pepper, salt, pepper, and oregano)
-Neutral cooking oil

Aji Amarillo Dressing
-1/4 cup neutral tasting oil
-1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste
-1/4 cup lime juice
-1 teaspoon salt

Pumpkin Seed Currant Pesto
-1/2 cup olive oil
-2 cups parsley
-3/4 cup dried currants
-1 cup roasted pepitas

To make the Pumpkin Seed Currant Pesto, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms an even consistency. Set aside.

To make the Aji Amarillo Dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk together. Set aside.

To make the tofu, coat each tofu slice in the seasoning blend you have chosen and fry on each side until seared and crispy (approximately 5 minutes per side).

For the salad, combine the lettuce and kale together then drizzle with the Aji Amarillo Dressing. Add the fried onions and sprinkle guajillo chili powder over the salad. Top with tomatoes, the Pumpkin Seed Currant Pesto and fried tofu before serving.



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