Sometimes you’ve got to spice life up. Sometimes you need to go dancing until daylight savings time turns the clocks. You need to go bowling on a random Sunday afternoon. You need to forget about time, try new interests and let old ones fall behind. It’s weekends like these that remind me, life is not so serious.
Tofu on the other hand, now that’s some serious business. Learn how to press it, and marinade it, and spice it up too, and it can be your new best dinner mate.
My tofu mate? I love a good pan-fried slice, seared with soy sauce and layered on whole grain bread spread with mayo, topped with sprouts, avocado, and a little S&P. Let’s call that some serious lunch.
For dinner, something like this Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen does the trick. That’s where all that pressing and marinading and spicing comes into play.
The following recipe creates a super light and veggie-packed meal, perfect for when you’re in the mood for something wholesome. Although, if you’re like me, you’ll richen it up a bit with a splash of coconut milk. That’s how you really spice life up.
Adapted from FatFree Vegan Kitchen
- TOFU AND SEASONING
- -1 (14 oz.) package extra-firm tofu
- -1 Tbsp. soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
- -2 Tbsp. water
- -2 large cloves garlic, pressed
- -1 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
- -1 tsp. rice vinegar
- -1 small onion, halved and sliced into thin wedges
- -1 large bell pepper, sliced
- -6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- -3 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- -8 oz. kale (about 1 bunch), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
- -1 cup bean sprouts
- -3 1/2 cups broccoli
- -1 cup carrots, sliced on a diagonal
- -Additional broth or water, as needed
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- -1/2 cup vegetable broth
- -1 1/2 tsp. thai chili paste
- -1/4 tsp. black pepper, freshly ground
- -2 tsp. cornstarch
- -1/2 cup coconut milk, optional
- Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Gently press each slice between paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Then cut each slice into rectangles. Place into a ziplock bag. Combine tofu seasoning in a small bowl and pour over tofu. Seal bag and gently turn it over until tofu is completely covered in seasoning. (You can do this ahead of time and allow the tofu to marinate for a stronger flavor, but it’s not mandatory.)
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet or dish with parchment paper. Place the tofu on the parchment in a single layer along with the marinade. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn gently and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven.
- While the tofu is cooking, chop all the vegetables and combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. About 10 minutes before tofu is done, preheat a large, deep non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Spray or rub it with oil if you wish, but this is optional. Have about a half cup of water or broth standing by. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until it begins to become translucent. Add a tablespoon of water or broth if it starts to stick. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for another minute. Then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook another two minutes, adding liquid by the tablespoon if needed.
- Stir in the kale, add about 2 tablespoons of liquid, and cover quickly. After a minute, stir and add liquid if necessary. Add broccoli and bean sprouts and a little more liquid. Cover and cook until broccoli is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook until it is heated through. Serve the vegetables with tofu on top, or stir the tofu into the vegetables and serve over rice.