Pearl Couscous with Grilled Tofu and Strawberry Vinaigrette
Come June in the Pacific Northwest, when the rain begins to fall softly after the heat of May, fruit begins to ripen in abundance. Strawberries, a local June delicacy, are ready to be picked at local farms - the strawberries in this recipe were picked at Emma Lea Farms, located on the fertile land of Westham Island just south of Vancouver.
Though strawberries can be easily enjoyed straight from the plant and eagerly popped into a mouth, the berry can also be used as a fruity addition to savoury dishes. Local berries are best for this recipe - often smaller in size than imported fruit, the berries when ripe are bursting with flavour and colour. Plus, alongside the fun of picking your own fruit, the berries pack a nutritious punch - they contain an abundance of vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B9.
In this recipe, fresh mint and pearl couscous come together with the smoky, salty flavour of grilled tofu and the light and vibrant taste of fresh summer strawberries. The intense colours and refreshing flavours will quickly become a favourite recipe, and will be sure to impress any dinner guests (if you’re willing to share).
Harry Styles definitely got it right when he said that there’s nothing better than the taste of strawberries on a summer evening.
Serves: 2 people as a main course, or 4 people as a side dish
Time: 30 minutes
- extra-firm tofu, 350g
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
Pearl Couscous salad:
- pearl couscous, 180g
- ½ long english cucumber
- ¼ cup mint
- 1 cup Italian parsley
- 1 cup local strawberries, halved
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of one lemon
- ½ shallot
- 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- pinch of salt
- Remove tofu from packaging and slice lengthwise in ¼” strips. Set aside on a plate.
- Mince two cloves of garlic on a cutting board and place in a small bowl.
- Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tamari, salt and pepper, and oregano into the same bowl and stir until combined.
- Drizzle the marinade over the tofu until all of the strips are covered. Set aside to marinate - flip ten minutes in so both sides of the tofu are marinated.
- Prepare the pearl couscous according to package directions.
- While the couscous is cooking, prepare the cucumber, mint, and parsley. Leaving the peel on, slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Lay the flat side on the cutting board and cut it in long thin strips, and then turn the cucumber and cut it in thin strips until the cucumber is diced finely - pieces of cucumber should be no longer than 1cm.
- Remove the larger stems from the mint and parsley bunch and then roughly chop the leaves. Set aside.
- While the couscous is still on the stove, prepare the vinaigrette.
- In a food processor add all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Blend until smooth and runny. If the mixture is too thick, add in one teaspoon of water at a time until the consistency is right.
- When it’s done cooking, set the couscous aside in a bowl to cool for a few minutes.
- When all of the other ingredients are prepared, turn on the barbecue. When it’s hot, place the tofu strips on the surface and grill for three to four minutes. The tofu can go directly on the grill. After four minutes, flip the tofu and grill for another four minutes on the opposite side. The tofu should be crispy and golden, but not charred. Remove the tofu and set on a plate.
- In a mixing bowl, add in the pearl couscous, cucumber, mint, and parsley. Mix well. Use a spoon to plate the couscous onto dinner plates, and then place 3 to 4 strips of tofu on top of that. Drizzle the strawberry vinaigrette on the tofu and couscous. Serve, and enjoy!
*this dish can be enjoyed hot or cold. To eat it cold, prepare the recipe a day in advance and keep refrigerated.