Pearl Couscous with California Avocado and Crispy Tofu

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 Pearl Couscous with California Avocado and Crispy Tofu

Vegan-friendly and easy to make-ahead, this on-the-go Israeli-inspired salad serves well as an entrée or accompanying side dish.


Serves: 4
lb.  extra firm tofu
2 1/2  Tbsp.  extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2  tsp.  sea salt
tsp.  chili powder
1 1/2  cups  water
cup  pearl couscous
  shiitake mushrooms, large, stems removed and thinly sliced
Tbsp.  fresh lemon juice
tsp.  soy sauce
  clove garlic, peeled and minced
tsp.  minced ginger
1/2  tsp.  sugar
tsp.  sriracha
  radishes, thinly sliced
1/4  cup  red onion, finely diced
1/4  cup  green onion, finely chopped
1/3  cup  tomato, diced
Tbsp.  cilantro, finely chopped
1/8  tsp.  coarse sea salt, or to taste
  ripe, Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled and diced

As with all fruits and vegetables, wash avocados before cutting. Check out our tips for how to choose and use California Avocados


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Drain the tofu by removing from the package, lay flat and slice in half horizontally. Place the slices in a single layer of 3-4 sheets of paper towels. Top tofu with additional paper towels and a heavy object (i.e. cast-iron pan) and let sit 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover the tofu, cut into small cubes and place into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add about 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with salt and chili powder.
  5. Heat a large oven-safe pan over medium heat and add the seasoned tofu cubes.
  6. Place the pan over medium heat, and cook, shaking the pan occasionally until tofu begins to brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  7. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook tofu for 20-25 minutes or until crispy, remove and set aside.
    • Alternatively, after seasoning the tofu cubes you can place them in a single layer in an air fryer and cook at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  8. While the tofu bakes, bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add couscous and shiitake mushrooms; stir then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat, put in a large bowl and allow to cool.
  10. Combine lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sugar Sriracha and remaining olive oil in a small bowl and mix until sugar dissolves. Set aside until ready to serve.
  11. Once cooled, add radishes, red onion, green onion, tomato, cilantro and sea salt.
  12. Dress the couscous mixture evenly then spoon on plates, adding the crispy tofu and diced avocado.

Serving suggestions: Garnish with black or white sesame seeds.

Beverage Pairing: Thanks to the punchy flavor from the salad’s dressing, this dish pairs well with any light beer.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Sam Zien of Not Not Tacos

Sam quit his job in biotech in July of 2001 to try his hand as a television host. His career expanded from a two-minute cooking segment on a local morning news program to a 30-minute show named “Sam the Cooking Guy” airing on Fox 5 San Diego. The programming included a mix of lighthearted humor and easy-to-replicate recipes which garnered the attention of Discovery Health. Soon after, “Just Cook This! With Sam the Cooking Guy” was born.

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