By Julia Howard MPH, RHN, Run Coach
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.
- 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
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.
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.
Place empty pan/wok back on stove on medium-high heat. Chop the remaining veggies.
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.
Remove the rice from heat. Spoon rice, veggies, and tofu onto a bowl or plate.