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Vegan Caprese Salad with Tofu Mozzarella

The most refreshing summer salad but made vegan! This vegan Caprese salad is the perfect plant-based version of the Italian classic, with freshly made tofu mozzarella balls, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basils, and homemade balsamic reduction.


As someone who went vegan overnight, cutting out all animal products at once, I can honestly say I never miss or crave any non-vegan food, meat or dairy, however, I do find myself reminiscing certain "feelings". Like a refreshing Caprese salad on a summer afternoon, that fresh first bite bursting with flavors... That's the power of food, isn't it? To carry memories, emotions, traditions, and bring us back to those moments whenever we eat a certain food again.


Luckily, the earth has blessed us with so many plants that we can use to recreate any flavor and memory we want! I made these fresh "mozzarella" balls out of tofu and a few simple ingredients, and they turned out soft, stretchy, bouncy, and chewy - the perfect texture! And I won't tell you they taste exactly like mozzarella, because they don't, BUT they taste soooo close, close enough to bring back all the lovely memories I had associated with this flavor.


Completed the salad with some gorgeous giant heirloom tomatoes and fresh aromatic basil leaves, plus drizzles of extra virgin olive oil and homemade balsamic reduction. 

Watch the video below for a visual guide on how to make this refreshing salad and don't forget to follow me on Instagram and Tiktok where I share more of my vegan foodie adventures.


INGREDIENTS:

1 package extra firm silken tofu
1/2 cup soy milk
3 tablespoon tapioca flour
1 lemon, juiced, about 2 tbsp
2 teaspoon white miso
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water
1 tablespoon agar agar powder
2 large heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
2 cup balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
Black pepper

For the ice bath -
2 cup ice
3 cup cold water
2 teaspoon salt

TO MAKE:

- Add the tofu, soy milk, tapioca flour, lemon juice, miso, salt, and vinegar in a blender or food processor, blend till very smooth;
- In a saucepan, with heat turned off, whisk together cold water and agar powder till the powder is evenly mixed in, then turn on the heat (if agar powder is added to hot water it can clump);
- Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, keep stirring, until the agar mixture forms a thick paste with no powder particle left undissolved;
- Pour the tofu mixture into the saucepan, stir immediately to combine the two mixtures very well, and keep stirring and folding until a smooth, glossy, thick "dough" forms, it takes about 7 minutes;
- Prepare the ice bath by mixing the ice bath ingredients in a large bowl, once the mixture is done cooking, use an ice-cream scoop or big spoon and scoop up a portion of the mixture and plop into the ice bath, repeat till all mixture is used up;
- Transfer the entire bowl into the fridge for chilling, let the balls chill for at least 45 minutes or until they're firm to touch;
- Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction;
- Pour 2 cup balsamic in a saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat then reduce to low heat and keep it simmering for 20 - 25 minutes, keep stirring and let it thicken, keep in mind the reduction will continue to thicken a little more as it cools down so don't over-thicken it;
- When you've achieved your preferred consistency, remove from heat and transfer into a sauce dish to cool down;
- Wash and slice the tomatoes;
- Once the tofu cheese balls are chilled, cut them into slices as well;
- Arrange the tomatoes and tofu mozzarella onto a big plate, alternate the two, then place the basil leaves in between slices;
- Drizzle on olive oil, balsamic vinegar reduction, sprinkle a pinch of crunchy kosher salt, and ground black pepper to taste before serving, enjoy!

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