Category Archives: Tofu

Roll-Your-Own Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi

Welcome the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I’m happy to be joining so many other cooks today in serving up a bountiful vegan feast.  Warm thanks to An Unrefined Vegan for planning our party.  At the bottom of this post you will find links to take you forward and backward through the offerings, or you can start at the beginning and see all your choices right here.

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If you’ve been here before, you won’t be surprised to find that this recipe is full of shortcuts to make it easy to cook a dish that might seem daunting at first.  For starters, this is unabashedly a cheater’s sushi rice: you just cook a pot of short-grain brown rice and stir in rice vinegar, sugar and salt.  It isn’t the rice that sushi masters spend years perfecting, but it tastes great and suits our needs nicely.  Second, don’t worry for a moment about how to roll your sushi.  You’re not going to impress anyone here–you’re just going to pile nori, rice, and assorted toppings on the table and let your dining companions impress you instead.  J & I used to throw parties where we’d roll and slice a gajillion sushi rolls–so much work!  And then we were guests in a home in Japan where everyone selected their own fillings and rolled their own sushi at the table.  We’ve never looked back, and neither will you. Continue reading Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi (click for recipe)

Make-it-a- Meal Hearty Miso Soup with Ginger, Corn, and Tofu

This recipe was featured in an Eating Well Magazine piece about how to layer on the umami flavors in vegetarian cooking.  Which is never a bad idea.  Did you know that corn is considered a source of umami flavor?  I didn’t, but I can attest that the sweet kernels were welcome in this dish.  Miso, soy sauce, tofu, and eggs also play into the deep flavor, and you might even consider adding some thinly-sliced shiitake mushrooms if you come across them.

I’ll be adding this meal to our dinner rotation as we lighten up our cooking for spring.  It’s full of flavor, quick to make, and can easily be adapted to accommodate the contents of your fridge.  It’s also kid-friendly, which is no small consideration around here.  In fact, this “Tofu and Vegetable Stew,” as it was stodgily named in my magazine, is really just a beefed-up (well, tofu’d-up) miso soup with a nice kick of ginger.  We made a meal of it by serving it over rice. Continue Reading Hearty Miso Soup with Ginger, Corn, and Tofu (click for recipe)

Thai Greens and Tofu

I write an occasional home cooking column for my friendly neighborhood blog, and last weekend I told all my neighbors about a recipe that came from the nice folks at my favorite not-quite-a-restaurant (it’s really just a streetside stand), Little Uncle.

So I thought it was only fair to tell you, too.  Because we are going to be making this a lot at our house.  Partly because I bought a huge bottle of yellow bean paste, and this recipe requires 2 Tbs., so I have a lifetime supply (it’s like that beet powder!).  But mostly because it took 17 minutes (that was for the jasmine rice to cook), made the house smell divine, and yielded a savory-spicy-garlicky vegan bowl of goodness.

You can read my Capitol Hill Seattle post here, but just in case you don’t, here’s the important thing you’re missing: track down some mangosteens.  Yum, mangosteens.

You can also substitute chicken for the tofu, or make a greens-only version of this dish (pictured below) as one component of a bigger Thai meal.  More Thai recipes to follow, I think!  In the meanwhile, if you are in the mood for Thai flavors, you could also check out this Noodle Curry or this Green Fish Curry to hold you over.

Continue reading Thai Greens and Tofu (click for recipe)

Farro Bowl with Toasted Kale and Coconut and Curry-Roasted Tofu

This is a good bowl of food.  Savory, crunchy, a little sweet from the coconut, a little spicy from the curry paste.  Whole grains, crispy-chewy kale and coconut, bouncy roasted tofu.  I used farro because I happened to come across it while I was thinking about this recipe, but brown rice would be a perfectly acceptable substitute.  And if you have ever made kale chips, you have some idea of the magic that’s going to happen here.This combination is based on the kale salad in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, but with a bit more kale, less oil, and with tofu added to make it a more complete meal.  It sounds a little complicated, but once the grains were cooking, the rest came together quickly.  The results were deeply flavorful.  This is one of those recipes where the final dish seems to exceed the sum of its parts. Continue reading Farro Bowl with Toasted Kale and Coconut and Curry-Roasted Tofu (click for recipe)

Vegetarian Enchilada Bake with Black Beans and Tofu

The part of me that enjoys nourishing others is mightily satisfied when I make a casserole.  I know it seems stodgy, but making a heavy pan of food meant to feed a crowd is an act of love.  Maybe that’s why casseroles were so popular in the ’70s–wasn’t love in vogue back then?

We’ll call them love enchiladas, then.  Although there are lots of other good things in here, too: sweet vegetables, a good boost of protein in the black beans, tofu, and cheese, a kick of chile and spice.  But, as usual, there are no hard and fast rules.  Use what you have.

And a love note to vegans or those in a rush: the black bean/tofu/veggie mix also makes a killer taco filling.  Vegetarian Enchilada Bake with Black Beans and Tofu: To make your enchilada filling, saute a diced onion and a diced red pepper over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown.  Add a diced zucchini, a few cloves of chopped garlic, and some corn.  Add a few pinches of salt, a tsp. dried oregano, and a couple tsp. each of cumin and chile powder.  Stir in a few cups of black beans (with their liquid if you cooked them; drained if they’re canned) and a block of diced tofu.  (If you plan in advance, you can freeze then thaw and crumble the tofu; it gives it a nice texture.)  Add some water if necessary to keep the mixture from sticking, simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors, then taste for salt and mix in a handful of chopped cilantro at the end.  You want the mixture fairly saucy so your casserole won’t dry out while baking.  Pour a splash of enchilada sauce into a 9×13 pan (I used a prepared one this time, but if you have time it’s always worth making your own from dried chiles).  Layer your ingredients on top of the sauce as follows: corn tortillas to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer, 1/2 of the veggie mixture, a drizzle of enchilada sauce, a sprinkling of melting cheese, a crumble of feta cheese.  The next layer is corn tortillas, 1/2 the veggie mixture, more corn tortillas, then the rest of your enchilada sauce.  Bake covered at 350 until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling (20-30 minutes if your veggie mixture started out hot), then uncover, sprinkle the top with more of both kinds of cheese, and continue baking until the cheese melts.  You can always turn on the broiler to get the top nice and brown.  Serve with brown rice, a green salad, and lots of good toppings: chopped cilantro, sliced avocado, salsa, sour cream, and some of that amazing cilantro pesto you keep in your freezer.


Simple Brown Rice Sushi Bowl

There is an extensive list of finicky cooking tasks that J & I don’t do anymore.  Making sushi for a crowd is on that list.  Love the flavors, hate the time it takes to assemble and slice 20 rolls.  This is an easy way out, and can easily be scaled to feed many or a few.

To make this Simple Brown Rice Sushi Bowl spread, start by making a pot of cheaters’ sushi rice.  Bring to a boil one part short-grain brown rice in two parts water with 1/2 tsp. salt per cup of rice, then lower the pot to a simmer for 40 minutes.  Remove from heat and leave covered for 5 minutes (I put a clean dishtowel under the lid to absorb some moisture), then fluff with a fork and stir in seasoned rice vinegar and additional salt to taste.  Set rice aside.  Meanwhile, prepare your toppings: roast a pan of sweet potato batons (for about 30 minutes at 450, stirring a few times), pan-fry some tofu (I season mine with equal parts soy sauce and fish sauce plus a pinch of sugar), and slice up some green onions, nori strips, and avocado.  Other possible toppings could include edamame, mushrooms or spinach sauteed in sesame oil, a thinly-sliced egg pancake, raw fish–whatever floats your sushi boat.  Serve rice and toppings separately and let everyone assemble their own bowls.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Quick Thai Green Curry

I understand that there are cooks who plan out menus and then peacefully prep their ingredients in advance.  Come dinnertime, these lucky souls simply slip a dish into the oven and then casually toss a salad with one hand while sipping an aperitif with the other during the few moments it takes the meal to finish cooking to perfection.

I don’t cook like that.

(Come to think of it, I don’t live like that.  Perhaps the two are related.)

Instead, as dinnertime approaches at my house, my first order of business is to plonk the baby in her high chair so she can’t eat all the crayons while my back is turned.  Then I have a few great ideas in rapid succession and discover that I’m out of one key ingredient for each.  Then I draw some half-hearts on folded paper for the big girls to cut into Valentines and opine as to whether now is a good time to start a watercolor painting project on the dining room table, which is already almost buried in tiny scraps of paper, glitter, and stickers.  Then I wonder what to make for dinner. (Remember how I said I was going to plan more?  Still working on that.  But I have been cooking more lately, as you’ve seen!)

Finally, I consider how much more time I have before I want dinner on the table.  If I have an hour, maybe I’ll start a pizza crust and start roasting some potatoes.  If I have two, I might start a soup with long-cooking legumes.  But if I want dinner on the table in 20 minutes, I might make this quick curry.

If YOU want to have dinner on the table in 20 minutes, go put on a pot of jasmine rice and then check back with me.  Ready?  Ok.  It’s a Thai green curry, and I made mine with a thin filet of cod that went straight from the freezer into a bowl of hot water to defrost in minutes (don’t worry, Harold McGee says it’s ok).  You could go the fish route too, or you could use shrimp or chicken or tofu.

Sauté a thinly-sliced onion until it starts to soften, then add 2-4 tsp. green curry paste and sauté for a moment to release the fragrance.  Pour in a can of coconut milk and add 1 Tbsp. each of fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice.  Bring to a simmer, then add a pound of white fish in 1” chunks (I used cod; you could also use shrimp, chicken, or tofu) and sliced veggies (I used a green pepper, a stalk of celery and a small zucchini).  Simmer, stirring occasionally, about five minutes or until the fish is cooked.  Toss in a big handful of cilantro and chopped tomatoes for the final minute, then give it another squeeze of lime and adjust the flavors to taste with more lime, brown sugar and fish sauce.  Serve over hot jasmine rice.

p.s. This Noodle Curry with Tofu, Sweet Potatoes and Chard is pretty quick too, and also delicious.

Zippy Noodle Curry with Tofu, Sweet Potatoes and Chard

J and I spent a week taking cooking classes in Chiang Mai once when we were kicking around Thailand for a few months.  (We also spent a week taking foot massage classes in Bangkok.  Both were pretty nice weeks.)  We love Thai food and occasionally dig into the freezer and pantry to bring the scents and flavors of Thai cooking into our home.

One of my favorite foods in Thailand was a rich, creamy noodle curry called khao soi.  This is not a recipe for khao soi.  You should definitely get yourself a bowl if you find yourself in Chiang Mai, though.  THIS is a very simple recipe based on the Big Curry Noodle Pot recipe in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking.

In Zippy Noodle Curry with Tofu, Sweet Potatoes and Chard, “zippy” refers to both the flavors and the speed of making the dish.  (I’m funny, huh?)  Saute an onion, 1 big cubed sweet potato (I steamed mine first, but I think it was unnecessary) and some chopped garlic in a glob of heavenly-smelling coconut oil with 1-2 Tbsp. red or yellow curry paste.  Add a cubed block of extra-firm tofu and a few handfuls of chard leaves sliced to ribbons and stir to coat.  Pour in 2 c. veggie stock, 1 can of lite coconut milk, 2 tsp. turmeric, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. sugar and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft.  Meanwhile, cook 8 oz. fresh egg noodles in a separate pot.  Add cooked noodles and the juice of a lime to the curry.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, green onions and peanuts, and serve with chopsticks and a spoon.  Thai chile flakes, soy and/or fish sauce, and lime wedges at the table will let everyone perfect the dish according to their own taste.