Monday, January 23, 2012

Meatless Mondays! Spicy Tofu Bento Bowl Salad

I didn't like tofu when I first tried it because of the consistency but when I had it at restaurants I loved it. I believe it's all in the preparation of tofu. Many people don't realize it's beneficial to "press" tofu before using it to cook with. Once I learned it was necessary I do it every time. I feel like it makes a better end product. Tofu is very versatile because it takes on the flavor of the dish. 
One recipe I love but haven't made in forever is barbequed tofu. It has crumbled tofu that is baked slowly for about an hour until it's slightly chewy then tossed in a homemade barbeque sauce and served on a bun. If nothing else the barbeque sauce is amazing and delicious. Back to the salad :). 

This recipe doesn't take to long to prepare if you don't count the time "pressing" the tofu or if you don't press it at all. Pressing the tofu is just putting the tofu on a folded paper towel on a plate, putting another folded towel on the tofu, another plate, then a can of vegetables or beans to weigh it down. I tend to leave it for about an hour but you need to watch it occasionally though to keep the can straight. As the tofu is pressed the can will become lopsided and need to be straightened out again. This basically gets some of the liquid out of the tofu (which I prefer when cooking). 

I'm sure this recipe would be fun if you threw in some extras such as snow peas or maybe even some daikon. I think this makes a great weeknight meal. There's only two of us and our son who wasn't thrilled about the vegetables on the plate (no lettuce). Sometimes he loves vegetables and sometimes not so much. We tend to cut the recipe in half and use the other tofu half the next night in another dinner. When we made this salad we made tofu parmesan the next night which I thought was delicious (recipe coming soon). I do think it's helpful to try new things even if you've had it one way it can be fun to try it another way. :)

Spicy Tofu Bento Bowl Salad
Serves 4

- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup chile-garlic sauce
- 2 Tbs. canola oil
- 14 oz. extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed
- 5 green onions, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
- ¼ cup nonfat yogurt
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. chile-garlic sauce
- 2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
- 4 ½ cups mixed baby greens
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 1 cucumber, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
- 1 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds

To make Spicy Tofu:
1. Whisk together soy sauce, chile-garlic sauce, and canola oil in bowl. Heat skillet over medium heat. Dip tofu in soy sauce mixture; cook 10 minutes, or until browned. Cool 10 minutes. Add green onions, yogurt, and lemon juice to remaining chile mixture. Toss with tofu.
To make Salad:
2. Whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and chile-garlic sauce in bowl. Mound rice in serving bowls. Top with greens. Shave carrot strips over top with vegetable peeler. Top with tofu, cucumber, and avocado. Sprinkle with sesame seeds; serve with soy sauce mixture.

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

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