Sesame-Crusted Tofu with Lemongrass-Orange Reduction

This dish didn’t exactly turn out as the recipe intended, but it was wonderful nonetheless. First off, I didn’t have any lemongrass. I knew I could find some in town, but I didn’t have the time to venture out to get it. So, I just made it without and without any substitution. Second, according to the recipe, the sauce is supposed to thicken after simmering for 5 minutes. That didn’t happen. At all. I simmered for 15 minutes and it remained the same consistency. So, I just added a bit of arrowroot powder and, in no time, it turned into a wonderful, thick glaze.

For the side, I made brown rice and, to make it easy, I just threw frozen, shelled edamame on the top to steam through while I made the tofu and sauce. I also had a few vegetable gyoza from Trader Joe’s and a little bit of sriracha to drizzle on the rice.

All in all, despite a few bumps, it was a wonderful and easy dish that I’ll definitely make again. Also, if you Google it, you can find the whole recipe online; I just didn’t want to post it here since it wasn’t my own.

Weeknight Basics: Stir-fry and Spring Rolls

We eat stir-fry all the time and never seem to tire of it. I cook about 2 cups of brown rice, fry a whole block of tofu that’s been cubed and then throw in whatever veggies I have on hand. And I don’t even make a sauce; a little Bragg’s, a little Sriracha and a sprinkling of sesame seeds and there you go. For this particular meal, I used fresh broccoli, carrots and a green pepper. I also found vegan spring rolls at Whole Foods to round out the meal. The whole thing was under $12 and was enough for two dinners.

Green Stir-fry

I love to cook, but every now and then, I have weeks where I just don’t have the motivation to step into the kitchen. This past week was one of them. I kept putting off going to the grocery, and as a result, we ate very poorly. In fact, we were a good example of how a vegan diet can be unhealthy. We lived off of veggie burgers, tofu hot dogs, tater tots, and lots of sugary sweets, which are all okay in moderation, but not every day. After a week of eating junk, my body was craving vegetables.

I love stir-fry because anything goes. It’s a great way to clean out your fridge, which is what I did for this stir-fry. For some reason, I had tons of green vegetables on hand (hence the name “Green Stir-fry”); I had some cucumbers that needed to be used, as well as a green pepper, frozen edamame, and a small head of broccoli. I also tossed in some baby carrots for extra color, tofu, peanuts, and a drizzle of a soy peanut sauce on top. The dish definitely satisfied my vegetable craving.

Green Stir-fry

Serves 2 + leftovers for the next day

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked long-grain brown rice
4 cups water
1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine

1 lb extra firm tofu
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp mirin

1 large green pepper, chopped into large pieces
1/2 seedless cucumber, cut into large pieces
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup broccoli pieces, chopped
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame
1/4 cup peanuts

1/4 cup natural peanut butter (I like Earth Balance brand)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy or tamari sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp chili paste

1 tbsp canola oil for frying

Directions:

Place the rice into a wide pan, and add water and margarine. Heat on medium-high until it comes up to a boil. Cover and turn down to low. Cook for 40 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, press the tofu for about 20 minutes. Once it’s been pressed, cut into 1-inch cubes. Chop all the vegetables into uniform pieces so that they cook evenly. Make the sauce by combining the peanut butter, water, sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili paste. Set aside.

In a wok or a heavy skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Toss in the cubed tofu and stir constantly to brown on all sides. Mix together the tablespoons of soy sauce and mirin, and add them to the tofu. Stir to coat. Take the tofu out of the wok and set aside.

Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and stir constantly to avoid burning. Cook the vegetables for about 4 to 5 minutes, and then add the peanuts and the tofu. Pour about half of the peanut sauce over the top and mix to coat everything. I serve the other half of the sauce at the table to drizzle over the dish.

Serve over the brown rice.

Enjoy!