When you stop to think about it, some food has been with you for almost as long as you can remember. It was in the Big House, that log house on forty wooded acres in northwest Montana, that we first began making this recipe in my mother's kitchen. It was during a time of what I would call a dietary awakening that my mother experienced in the early eighties. As part of her recovery from a long-undiagnosed illness, she began to study the benefits of natural foods and the positive effect they have on one's health. Following her lead, we soon were grinding our own flour, baking our bread, buying honey by the gallon, raising chickens, growing a garden, picking wildberries. She joined a natural food co-op and, from the catalog, placed her monthly order, which would arrive by truck, along with friends' orders at a central location in town. In additon to the familiar rolled oats, nuts, maple syrup, and peppermint tea, there were also be some unusual-to-us things in those boxes: date sugar, carob chips, nutritional yeast, and tofu.
Though many tofu iterations were tried and disliked, this one remained one of our favorites. I loved it so much, in fact, it was one of several childhood recipes I copied down at Mom's kitchen table a couple months before I was married. It's like summer to me - comfortable, relaxed, familiar.
Tofu Greek Salad
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup wine vinegar (I've used both red & white)
2 teaspoons salt (It may seem like too much. It is not)
1 teaspoon dried basil, or 2 teaspoons fresh, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 teaspoon fresh, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
For the salad:
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 tomatoes, cut into wedges or coarsely chopped
2-3 cucumbers, sliced
Half of a large red onion, chopped, or 3/4 cup sliced green onion
1 cup Greek or black olives, whole
Lettuce or mixed greens
In a mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients, close the lid tightly and vigorously shake until incorporated. Arrange the cubed tofu in a shallow glass dish, pour the vinaigrette over top, cover and let marinate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. After the tofu has marinated, pour the tofu and vinaigrette over the tomato/cucumber mixture and stir to combine. Let sit for at least 30 minutes for flavors to combine. Serve over a bed of chopped lettuce or mixed greens, if you'd like.