By Julia Howard MPH, RHN, Run Coach

Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry

Me: I wish I could eat more plant-based.

Also me: I hate tofu. There must be a way around this tofu thing. 

……………………………….

When I wanted to incorporate more plant-based proteins into my diet, I started easy with cans of beans. I liked the texture of beans and the slight starchy sweetness that melds well with other flavours.

But, I couldn’t get my head around tofu. The gelatinous texture, the watery bland taste. Ewww.

Still, I wanted more protein in my diet. And more variety. There’s gotta be a way around this besides vegan protein smoothies. I like to chew my food.

Then I discovered that marinades and crusts are keys for me to like tofu. Squeezing out excess water from the tofu once chopped into cubes is also key during the prep stage.

How Fast Can You Make Supper?

Here’s an example of a weeknight meal that takes 45 minutes to make and incorporates tofu in a way that will make you say “Hurray! Weeknight suppers!”

Wow, yeah, I know.

Just make sure to start cooking the brown rice first as it usually takes a full 45 minutes. Prep the tofu first as well. 

This meal uses a jar of San-J Thai Peanut Sauce, a thick sauce with concentrated flavours that’s a little high in salt so I added 2 cups of water to it when I stir fried the veggies. You may even be able to add more water as it was still pretty flavourful.

Here’s what you’ll need.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 1 jar San-J Thai Peanut Sauce (gluten-free) 
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 package (350g) extra firm tofu (e.g., Sunrise)
  • 4 purple shallots, chopped (or 1 regular yellow onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 2 cups water for stir frying veggies
  • 1/2 purple cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 1 bunch bok choy, cored and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced

Directions

Start by cooking the brown rice in water in a large pot. 

Next, open the tofu package, drain the water from the block of tofu and chop tofu into bite sized cubes. Place cubes on a large plate and squeeze excess liquid from tofu by covering cubes with a layer of paper towel and laying another large plate on top. Leave the plate on top for 5 to 10 minutes. 

Squeeze excess water out of tofu pieces by laying paper towel and a plate on top.

Next, preheat a large wok or pan on medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. While the stove is preheating, peel and slice the onions and garlic. Stir fry garlic and onions in oil until fragrant.

Add tofu to the pan and stir fry along with the garlic and onion until the tofu has just a hint of golden brown.

Next, add 2 tablespoons of sauce and continue to stir fry until a slight crust forms on tofu. Remove tofu, onions, and garlic from pan/wok and place on a plate before moving on to the veggies.

Tofu getting a nice little crust.

Place empty pan/wok back on stove on medium-high heat. Chop the remaining veggies.

Look! Someone already made you a sauce. Nice. Make sure to add water.

Add 2 cups of water, cabbage, bok choy, and peppers along with remaining sauce to the wok/pan. Stir fry the veggies until cooked but still a bit crunchy. 

Whoa. Pretty.

Remove the rice from heat. Spoon rice, veggies, and tofu onto a bowl or plate. 

Enjoy!

~Julia

If you’re interested in incorporating more plant-based proteins into your meals, get in touch!

Julia Howard - Nutritionist
cas dyke

I started training at JKC in 2016 because I had built up a number of muscle imbalances from old injuries and activities like rock climbing which had led to some really bad posture and mobility issues. On top of that some friends had convinced me to sign up for a half-ironman. Working with Jon and Thomas was a way to pull my body back into alignment and make sure it wouldn’t fall apart during my race. The staff at JKC pride themselves on continuously advancing their knowledge, which leads to new and inventive way to address problems, old and new. I got my Dad to start training here and recommended JKC to all looking to improve their strength and fitness.

I was referred to JKC by my sister-in-law and had heard good things about it from many people in the running community. I also saw Jon’s picture on the wall at lululemon years ago! I really like the personalized training and the variety the guys provide. I started for strength training for running. I love cardio and do tons of it but wasn’t motivated to do much strength work on my own. Jon mixes up my strength work week to week so I don’t get bored but also lets me work in a hard circuit for the last 20 minutes of most sessions to get my cardio fix 

I originally joined JKC because I was anxious about passing out and embarrassing myself since I hadn’t weight trained in a while and I’d hoped to find somewhere sympathetic. My husband @terry_hussey had been training at JKC and his success there made me miss the achievement you feel from a good workout. I went to meet Jon and immediately knew it was going to be a safe space for me. I was never judged for the fears I had and where I was starting from. Jon and Thomas made sure to check on me often, and found a way to challenge me but make me feel secure at the same time, and Terry and I were able to book sessions together, so working out became a shared win for us!

JKC is different from other gyms because of the personal growth you have outside JKC (the sessions inside JKC creates a great positive feedback loop!). You gain self confidence, learn how to show up for yourself, meet a community of newfound friends, and get the support of your trainers who are behind you 100%. I’ve left a scattered workout so proud of myself I’ve honestly shed a tear in the car on the drive home. JKC is the mental health relief valve I need to stay positive, and keep my anxiety and health related fears at bay.

I had signed up for other gyms in the past and never went or rarely went. Something always got in the way or I was just too tired and lacked motivation to go. This way I’ve made a commitment to Jon or Thomas and I try very hard to keep my sessions once I’ve booked in. JKC is different from other gyms that I’ve tried in the past because no one is there to be “seen”. We are all there to get a good workout in and go on with our lives. And it’s a small gym so you get to know everyone and it’s like a big family. When I joined JKC, I couldn’t do a chin up with an elastic band, but I’ve slowly worked up to 10 free hanging chin ups. That was big because I hate chin ups.

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