Recipe: Napa Cabbage and Tofu Salad

updated May 17, 2022
Napa Cabbage and Tofu Salad
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(Image credit: Emily Han)

After the rich indulgences of Thanksgiving, I wanted nothing more than a big pile of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, our CSA share came to the rescue with a crisp Napa cabbage, peppery pink radishes, and mandarin oranges to awaken the palate. I threw in some zesty baked tofu and crunchy Asian pear, and the result was this vibrant and nutritious cool-weather salad.

Although this salad is light, it’s far from one-dimensional. Layering it with so many textures – ruffle-y Napa cabbage leaves, matchsticks of radish and pear, chewy baked tofu, crunchy nuts and seeds – keeps each bite lively and satisfying. I used the same mandarin orange-based sauce to marinate the tofu and dress the salad. This saves preparation time, and more importantly infuses the entire dish with tangy-spicy-sweet flavor.

I’ll certainly return to this dish whenever I’m craving something bright and fresh – mixing and matching ingredients depending on what I have on hand, such as carrots, celery root, and other crunchy fall and winter vegetables. The tofu alone could be made in a big batch and tossed into other salads throughout the week, as well.

Napa Cabbage and Tofu Salad

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    (16-ounce) block extra firm tofu

  • Zest of 1 mandarin orange

  • 1/4 cup

    mandarin orange juice

  • 1/4 cup

    rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons

    sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon

    hot chili oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 1

    (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, grated

  • 1

    garlic clove, crushed

  • 6 cups

    thinly sliced Napa cabbage

  • 1 cup

    julienned Asian pear, tossed with juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 cup

    julienned French breakfast radishes

  • 1/4 cup

    sliced or slivered almonds, toasted

  • 1 tablespoon

    mixed black and white sesame seeds, toasted


  1. Rinse and drain tofu. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch thick slices and place between clean kitchen towels (or paper towels). Place a heavy object such as a skillet or cutting board on top to press out excess liquid. Let sit 15 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together the mandarin orange zest, mandarin orange juice, rice vinegar, sesame oil, hot chili oil, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic.

  3. Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes, place in a shallow dish, and cover with half of the dressing. Let marinate for 15 minutes.

  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread the tofu cubes evenly on the sheet. Bake tofu for 15 minutes and flip over. Continue baking for about 10-15 minutes until tofu is toasted and chewy. Remove from oven and let cool.

  5. Toss Napa cabbage, pear, radish, and tofu with the remaining dressing and sprinkle almonds and sesame seeds on top.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

Related: Recipe: Winter-to-Spring Salad