Appetisers, Soups & Salads/ Recipes

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu /

My obsession with nutritious summer salads continues with an Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu. This one again is a meal in itself, with a healthy portion of protein accompanied by crunchy vegetables and fat in the form of roasted peanuts.

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu /

How to keep the salad fresh and crunchy

This Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu like many other salads tastes best when the raw ingredients, i.e., the vegetables and herbs are crisp and fresh. When the mercury is touching 45℃, this can be challenging. Once you’ve cut the vegetables, they tend to wilt and dry quickly unless cooked or consumed immediately. 

Raw papaya and carrots for this salad have to be julienned thinly, resembling matchsticks. This is best done in a mandoline if you have one, or with a really sharp knife. To keep them crunchy and bright, soak them in a bowl of iced, cold water till you are ready to assemble the salad. About 10 minutes before, drain them and place on a kitchen towel to dry. This way, they’ll retain their structure and retain their bite.

How to make a tofu steak

You’ll see in the photos that I’ve plated my Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu with the tofu at the base topped and surrounded by the salad. I used firm tofu, and kept it simple by cutting a 200g block of tofu horizontally into two squares of equal height, much like a piece of steak. They were marinated in a teaspoon of dark soy for 15-20 minutes to absorb some of that sweet-salty umami. Then I pan-fried them in 2 teaspoons of olive oil for a minute or so on each side till they were lightly golden and crispy. 

While the tofu cooled, I made a really easy dressing, with ingredients that are regular pantry staples. Then I tossed the vegetables, herbs and peanuts and drizzled in half the dressing. Next, I placed the tofu at the centre of the plate, topped a little salad on top and arranged the rest around it. Lastly, I poured some of the remaining dressing all over the plated salads and sprinkled a few extra peanuts on top.

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu /

I recommend my Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu because of its beautiful salty-sour-sweet Thai flavours, how easy it is to put together and how nutrition-dense it is. As home chefs and meal managers for our families, doesn’t it tick all the boxes? I think you’ll agree.

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu /

Easy Carrot Salad with Tofu

A riff on the traditional Som Tam or Thai Papaya Salad
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Thai
Servings 2


  • 200 g a single block of tofu, cut horizontally into two
  • 200 g carrots, julienned thinly (about 2 carrots)
  • 200 g raw, green papaya, peeled and julienned thinly
  • 4 tbsp peanuts (skinless), lightly roasted and roughly crushed
  • 2 tbsp coriander stems, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil to fry the tofu

For the dressing

  • 1 large clove of garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 2 fresh Thai bird's eye chillies or any small, hot green chillies, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp light soy
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (optional) add more light soy instead
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or white white sugar


  • Marinate the tofu in a teaspoon of dark soy for 15-20 minutes.
  • Soak the carrots and papaya in a bowl of ice water and keep in the fridge.
  • Meanwhile, to make the dressing, combine all the ingredients and mix well. The sweet, sour and salt must be balanced. Tweak to your taste.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium flame and sear the tofu squares for a minute on each side. Set aside to cool.
  • Drain the carrots and papaya and dry on kitchen towels. Place in a bowl with the chopped coriander and spring onions and toss with half the dressing. Mix in most of the peanuts.
  • To serve, put a piece of tofu in the centre of the plate, place a little salad on top. Arrange some more salad around the tofu. Repeat for the other plate. Drizzle both plates with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the reserved peanuts over both as well.

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