I am super excited to share this recipe with you today! I’m sure you know this, but my recipes are not set up with props in a light box or taken to an office the next day. They are me cooking for real in my kitchen, and we eat everything I make. This summery pasta salad is a perfect example of a dinner I made up on the fly that turned out so great I had to share a recipe. If I have a hunch that a recipe might turn out, I take lots of notes. Sometimes they get trashed. Not this one!
When I started cooking I wasn’t sure if I was going to make a hot pasta dish or a cool pasta salad. Although this recipe could go either way, I like it as a chilled pasta salad the best. And it’s perfect for picnic season!
The dressing is super creamy thanks to Greek yogurt. There’s no mayo involved. Fat comes from olive oil, but a little healthy fat goes a long way here. I used herby Twin Oaks tofu, but you could use plain tofu, or chicken, or shrimp, or salmon and all would be great!! Just use the same cooking technique to keep the flavors on par.
Fusilli is one of my favorite pasta shapes, especially for pasta salads. I used whole wheat pasta for max nutrition.
Leafy greens came in the form of fresh spinach from our farmer’s market, but baby spinach or even chopped kale would work fine here too. The hot pasta helps wilt the greens just a bit.
I’m planning to make this dressing for a regular salad soon. Yogurt-based dressings are my new favorite!
And don’t forget the fresh basil!! It’s a key ingredient that brings the sweet taste of summertime.
Smoky Tofu Pasta Salad
- 4 cups dry fusilli about half a box
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 3 cups chopped spinach
- 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
- 3 tbsp fresh basil chiffonade
- For the dressing
- 1/3 cup greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 pinches kosher salt
- Cook pasta according to directions and drain.
- Meanwhile, cube tofu and toss with 1 tsp smoked paprika
- Heat a large skillet to medium high and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Saute tofu on all four sides until crispy golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Wash and chop spinach into thin strips.
- Slice tomatoes.
- Make dressing in a large mixing bowl, whisking to combine.
- Add spinach and tomatoes to dressing and toss.
- Add hot pasta to dressing and toss.
- Add tofu and toss.
- Finally, chiffonade basil and toss.
- Season with more salt and some black pepper if necessary.
- Serve slightly warm or chilled the next day.