Today we're going to talk about tofu. You knew it was coming eventually. That curious white block that slightly jiggles when you remove it from its package and onto a plate. It definitely has a very vegetarian connotation about it, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try.
There are many ways to prepare and cook tofu and the nice thing is that it's like a blank canvas for whatever herbs, marinades, or even sweet dishes you want to prepare. For cooking purposes, like in this stir-fry, you want to be sure to always select firm or extra firm. The softer varieties are usually reserved for dips and desserts. And always make sure you drain and squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can. If you've tried tofu at home before and disliked it I encourage you to try a different brand until you find one you like. It's amazing the difference in quality and taste between them. I usually prefer organic.
I honestly don't eat tofu often, but when I want a quick meal to come together that I don't have to think about, I stir fry lots of vegetables with marinaded tofu and serve them over brown or wild rice. Another great option here would be to use tempeh in place of the tofu.
The great thing about stir-fries, besides the fact that they're quick, is that they're a great way to use up any odds and ends hanging on in the crisper. Our local farmers' market is selling lots of green beans due to a late summer so that's what I used here, but broccoli, carrots, bok choy and dark leafy greens also work.
Gingery Green Bean & Tofu Stir Fry
1/4 large red onion, finely chopped
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
12 ounce package extra firm tofu, cut roughly into 1/2-inch cubes
1 lb. green beans, washed and trimmed
Cooked rice, to serve
1. Combine the onion, ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and 3 tablespoons sesame oil in a large dish. Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat. Let tofu marinade for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.
2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and blanch, 1 minute. Immediately remove and place in a bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking.
3. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Stir in the tofu, reserving the leftover marinade, and cook for a few minutes until lightly browned on one side, then toss to cook the other side for a few more minutes. Remove tofu and set aside.
4. In the same skillet, pour in the leftover marinade. Add the blanched green beans. Cook, stirring constantly, until beans are heated through and onions begin to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the browned tofu and season with salt in needed. Serve warm over rice.
Jacquelyn Scoggin became a vegetarian at age 16 and has since been in the kitchen whipping up meals for her family and friends. She writes and photographs her love for vegetarian food on her blog, So Good & Tasty. In 2009, she and her husband started Slide Sideways, a graphic design and handmade business. They maintain their love for the environment by using organic fabric, recycled paper, and environmentally friendly cleaning products.