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

I chose JKC because I row/coach teams in the St. John’s Regatta and was looking to add strength training to our program. My wife is also running friends with Julia, so I got to meet Jon a few times and heard lots of good things. I like JKC over other gyms because of the level coaching I receive and the gym atmosphere. The energy in the gym helps me through the tough workouts.

I’m 30 — started at JKC Aug 2016. I moved to NL to open lululemon and we chose Jon as one of our store’s ambassadors, did one workout and have raved about it ever since! The JKC team can adapt a workout no matter what the situation — injuries, new goals, you name it! The trust and expertise can’t be matched!

JKC was recommended by a previous trainer who followed Jon online. He thought Jon’s approach to training was excellent. JKC employs well educated trainers who are very particular about technique and form. I have never injured myself because the trainers know what they are doing. They can always answer any questions I ask about my training. As well the trainers are friendly contributing to a relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the gym.

I saw an article in Men’s Journal that quoted Jon in about 2018 while traveling and was impressed that someone in St. John’s made that international magazine.  Jon spoke about an exercise called the Farmer’s Walk and I started working that into my routine at the YMCA. I tore that article out of the magazine and kept it, meaning to make contact, but got busy. Then I had lunch with an old friend Bruce Dyke. I hadn’t seen Bruce for a while and I remarked that he looked super healthy and fit. He told me about his, and his son Cas’, experience at JKC and then I remembered the Men’s Journal article! No coincidences!

The experience is unique on many levels – great people, camaraderie, passion, purpose, and dedication. Jon and Thomas are attentive, precise and understanding.  Their teaching has unlocked a new perspective for me with what our bodies are capable of. I still appreciate the YMCA, wonderful place, but I can’t imagine working out without Jon and Thomas now.

I had virtually no real experience using weights and felt intimidated going gyms. I avoided gym-goers using free weights, especially when hearing that loud crash, as they would drop weights to the floor. I thought this was to show everyone around them that they owned that area and that I shouldn’t go anywhere near! So I guess I just wanted to learn how to lift weights safely in a gym environment.

I spent over 18 years in the British Military, so I got to use some nice gyms. 99% of my time and experiences in those gyms was spent doing cardiovascular workouts, because I could just jump on a treadmill, plug in my head phones and do my own thing! JKC is different, because they have given me the confidence to use free weights and equipment that I had feared for years. Their demonstrations and knowledge is impeccable and I thank them for their continuous belief and support they show me at every session.

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