Before I started eating a plant-based, whole foods diet, I was in love with chicken. And one of my favorite dishes was a chicken salad.
Chicken was the hardest food for me to let go of on my journey to eating a vegan diet. So, I knew I had to find a replacement for it. And though some may disagree, I found that non-GMO tofu was a good alternative for me.
However, tofu on its own wasn’t flavorful to me. And when I first tasted it, the prepared dish was pretty bland.
So I began experimenting with different ways to cook tofu and eventually came up with many recipes that even my chicken-eating family enjoyed (and often requested!).
And, yes, the tofu chicken salad was one of my first successful recipes.
One of the benefits of eating a plant-based, whole food diet is that it’s healthier for your body which reflects on your skin. My occasional breakouts cleared up, and I no longer had the super-oily skin I once had.
My skin took on a more dewy, smooth and youthful look and it just felt better. This benefit alone kept me motivated to continue on my new eating plan which I now call the good skin diet.
Benefits of Tofu on Skin
Tofu is rich in minerals like iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium. It combats the signs of aging by retaining the skin’s elasticity while tightening the facial muscles.
It’s also rich in protein which is needed to create skin cells. These cells are replenished about every four weeks, so protein is needed constantly by the body.
Many choose to eat animal protein. However, when animal protein is ingested, fats, including saturated fatty acids, are also absorbed in the body. This secretion of excess fats through the skin causes the pores to open wide.
In order to maintain a smooth complexion, it’s more beneficial to eat plant-based protein, like non-GMO tofu.
So I’m sharing my signature General Tso’s Orange Sauce Tofu Chicken Salad because it’s one of my favorites and because it’s healthy for your skin.
You can definitely mix it up, though, by changing the sauces, omitting the sauce altogether or switching the base from salad to rice.
General Tso's Orange Tofu Chicken Salad
- 1 block tofu extra firm
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp General Tso's Sauce divided
- 2 tbsp Orange Sauce divided
- 2 tsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
- 4 cups shredded or chopped lettuce
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- We'll start by preparing the marinade for the tofu. You'll need 2 cups of vegetable broth. I used one Knorr Vegetarian Vegetable Bullion extra large cube and dissolved it in 2 cups of hot water. You can also use any vegetable broth of your choice.
- Take the tofu out of the package and drain any excess water using a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Break (not cut!) the tofu into bite-sized pieces. This is what gives it the look like chicken and also helps it to have more of a chicken-like texture--so don't skip this part!
- Place the broken tofu pieces into a bowl and pour the vegetable broth over the tofu so that all pieces are covered in broth. Let this sit for at least 20 - 30 minutes to soak up the flavor. The longer you soak it, the more flavorful it will be.
- While tofu is soaking, you can cut up your lettuce and mix with the shredded carrot sticks in a separate bowl. In another small bowl, mix 2 tbsp of General Tso's sauce, 1 tbsp of Orange sauce and the liquid aminos. Stir well. This will serve as the dressing over the salad.
- After soaking, drain the tofu and place it in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. I sprayed the skillet lightly with olive oil nonstick cooking spray for added precaution. You can skip the spray if you want to avoid any oils and you're using a good non-stick skillet.
- Cook the tofu slowly and stir it frequently to allow it to brown on all sides. This will take about 20 - 25 minutes until it's a nice golden brown and will look like cooked chicken pieces. Don't rush it by turning the heat up too high. It's the slow cooking on medium heat that helps it to brown evenly and have a chicken-like texture.
- Remove pan from the heat and stir in 2 tbsp of the General Tso's sauce and 1 tbsp of the Orange sauce. Stir well so that all tofu pieces are coated with the sauce.
- Assemble the salad in each bowl, placing the lettuce/carrot mixture in first, adding 1/4 of the tofu chicken mixture on top, and then topping it off with some of the dressing mixture. Repeat for all 4 bowls then serve.