Tropical Salad with Spicy Mango Macadamia Dressing

Macadamia nut oil is one nutritious oil you should be using! Highlight it's flavor in this tropical salad with mango macadamia dressing.

Vegan Tropical Salad with Mango Dressing

This month, Recipe Redux falls on Wellness Wednesday, so instead of my usual lengthy ramble on wellness and self care, you're getting a lengthy ramble about food plus a tangent on Jurassic Park and a tasty new recipe. Yay?

April's Recipe Redux theme is all about hidden treasures - those ingredients hiding in the back of your pantry that haven't gotten the love they deserve. So, while I was Spring cleaning my closet (Kidding! My closet is a hot mess.), I did some Spring cleaning in my pantry (Truth. Probably the only clean thing in our house right now).

One ingredient I discovered was an unopened bottle of macadamia nut oil. I received it from my mom, who whenever I see her, always brings a bag of "goodies" for me - a random assortment of things she picks up on sale. On this particular trip, I got an extra-exciting stash - a waffle iron, cast iron skillet, a lifetime supply of gluten free flours, and an assortment of gourmet oils, including this macadamia nut oil.

Mango Macadamia Nut Dressing

I made a pretty nice dent into the hazelnut and the avocado oil is long gone. But the macadamia nut remained unopened, sad and alone in the back of my oil and vinegar cabinet, probably because it doesn't exactly lend itself to hearty winter cooking.

Now that the temps are rising, it's the perfect time to whip up a bright and fresh tropical salad, infused with the flavors of macadamias. Also, planning a special trip this winter has us craving macadamia nuts ;) That's right! We're headed to Hawaii! My sister-in-law is getting married in Maui, so we're flying out for a week and a half, exploring Honolulu and Kauai while we're there. Would love any recommendations you have. I went once in 9th grade with family, but there are a lot of beautiful places I remember, but can't quite figure out what island it was on.

The one thing we do have planned? A Jurassic Park helicopter tour on Kauai. I have an abnormal obsession with Jurassic Park and when I say obsessed, I'm not exaggerating. If any of the movies come on TV, I will drop everything to watch it. Whenever a new Jurassic World trailer comes out, I watch it three times in a row then probably once a week after that. Confession: I just watched it again while inserting that link. I'm even trying to choose an ironic T-Rex shirt to wear on opening night. Someone please help me decide...I want them all!

So yeah, besides the wedding, that will be the highlight of my trip. I was really disappointed when my mom wouldn't let us take one the last time we were there...but she buys me macadamia nut oil, so I suppose that compensates?

Avocado, Jicama, Red Pepper Salad with Mango Dressing

Anyway, off my lengthy tangent and on to macadamia nut oil. You could certainly swap extra-virgin olive oil in this recipe, but if you see some macadamia oil, I suggest picking up a bottle. It has a light buttery taste, with enough macadamia flavor to shine through other ingredients, but not overpowering. Macadamia nut oil has one of the healthiest fatty acid profiles. Most of the fats are monounsaturated, the hearth healthy fat found in extra-virgin olive oil. In fact, it contains even more than olive oil. The rest of the fatty acids are mostly saturated, but the specific saturated fatty acids that aren't harmful to heart health, and may even be beneficial. It also has a high smoke point, so it doesn't oxidize in high heat cooking, making it perfect for searing the cubes of tofu in the recipe. Bonus points - I've also read it's great for skin and hair care.

Tropical Salad with Spicy Mango Macadamia Dressing
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: 4
If you don't have macadamia nut oil, swap extra-virgin olive oil for the dressing and coconut oil for the tofu.
Ingredients
  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu, pressed to remove extra liquid
  • Lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil
  • 1 head leaf lettuce, chopped and washed
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 small jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup toasted macadamia nuts, peanuts or cashews
  • Fresh mint or cilantro, for garnish (optional)
  • [b]Dressing:[/b]
  • 1 mango, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons macadamia nut oil
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
Instructions
  1. Heat macadamia nut oil in a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and season with lemon pepper seasoning. Add to skillet and fry, tossing every so often, until golden on all sides. Remove from skillet and set aside to cool.
  2. While tofu is cooking, make the dressing. Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor and season with salt. Blend until pureed.
  3. Top salad with red pepper, jicama, and tofu cubes. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit. Cut slices or cubes into each half and divide the avocado among the four salads. Top with nuts and herb garnish if using. Drizzle with dressing and serve.

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