Gochujang dressing spices up tofu, lettuce, veggies and sprouts. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Gochujang dressing spices up tofu, lettuce, veggies and sprouts. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Healthy life starts with healthy food

Gochujang salad dressing turns veggies and tofu into an exciting meal

Good health starts with good nutrition.

So many factors affect your health over your lifetime. Genetics, socioeconomic status, education, trauma and luck can all make a huge impact on how well your body functions. But if you make great food choices, you can give yourself the best possible chance to live a long life, no matter how your circumstances might change.

A recent snapshot of health care in Alaska showed approximately 18.5% of the population received their health care through Medicaid or CHIP. These programs are essential to provide our neighbors who are affected by poverty or disability with necessary medical and mental health care, bettering the overall health of our communities.

In an effort to improve health outcomes for Americans, and to ultimately reduce spending, Medicaid offers a nutrition counseling program, called Foodsmart, that operates through SNAP to empower beneficiaries to make and afford the best nutrition choices possible with plans created by registered dietitians, and arranged via online grocers to make the program effective and accessible.

This week I’m partnering with Alaskans Take a Stand to spread awareness about Medicaid’s nutrition-focused operations here in Alaska, and to call for assistance in an important survey.

I filmed a cooking video for their website featuring a spicy salad dressing that turns raw veggies and tofu into an exciting meal. The recipe does not follow traditional measurements but uses a simple ratio instead. Just use the same spoon for each ingredient and you can’t go wrong. For a single serving, I would say a dinner spoon is an appropriate size to use.

Gochujang Dressing

Ingredients for the dressing:

1 heaping spoon Korean red pepper paste

1 spoon sesame oil

1 spoon rice wine vinegar or mirin

1 spoon soy sauce

1 spoon minced garlic

1 spoon minced fresh ginger

Ingredients for the salad for one:

1-2 cups spring mix

½ cup raw broccoli

1/3 block raw firm tofu

½ cup sliced cucumber

1/3 cup raw bean sprouts

A few cherry tomatoes

One stalk green onion

Sprinkle of sesame seeds


Finely mince the garlic and ginger and add to a small mixing bowl.

Measure one spoon of sesame oil and add to the bowl. Doing the sesame oil first keeps the red pepper paste from sticking to the spoon.

Add one heaping spoon of red pepper paste.

Add one spoon each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

Mix thoroughly into a smooth sauce.

This dressing is delicious on salads, but I also like to use it as a sauce for cooked, cold rice noodles. Mix to coat the noodles and top with bean sprouts, green onion, sesame seeds, julienned cucumber and carrot, and a fried egg for a delicious lunch.

If you have personal experience with Medicaid, Alaskans Take a Stand would like to invite you to participate in their survey to gather information about people’s lived experiences with Medicaid in the state.

Visit medicaidbarrierssurvey.org to take the survey. If you would like to learn more about how to help or donate, you can visit their website Alaskanstakeastand.org or you can visit their Facebook page for more information.

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