Thursday, February 6, 2014

Roasted Vegetables and Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Roasted Vegetables and Tofu with Peanut Sauce
I love a good stir fry.  For the longest time I could never figure out how to make my own Asian inspired meals taste as good as the ones I would get in a restaurant, but with a few quality ingredients, combined in just the right way, I think I have cracked the code.  I have made peanut sauces in the past but usually they are way too thick and sticky and frankly, to "peanuty" for my taste.  This recipes fixes that by incorporating enough other ingredients so that the peanut taste is not overwhelming.

The other great thing about this dish, in addition to being full of nutrient dense organic vegetables, high protein organic tofu and fiber rich brown rice, is that it can all cook in one large pan (or two smaller ones).  The rice has to cook separately of course or you could use some you have left over from another meal. Or you could do what I sometimes do, and buy the packets of precooked plain brown rice (I even found an organic version at my local store).  I had never thought of roasting my tofu before but I saw it mentioned in a magazine recipe and figured it was worth a shot.  I usually pan fry it on the stove and the little bit of moisture that is always left in the tofu interacts with the oil and inevitably makes a giant splattering mess.  If nothing else, this method eliminates the stove top clean up and allows me time to make the sauce and prep the rice. Having everything cook together at one time, in one or two pans is so much better.

At first I wasn't sure that the tofu had cooked properly since the top still looked undone, but the bottom was definitely crispy and cooked to perfection.  If I remember next time or if you are picky about things cooking evenly you could definitely flip the pieces over halfway through cooking.  But this is definitely a simpler method of preparing tofu, that even my son loves, and will probably be how I make it from now on. Of course if you don't like tofu, as I know a lot of people don't, you could easily substitute organic chicken in this recipe or just increase the amount of edamame to provide more protein.  I am definitely looking forward to making this meal again soon and I rarely ever make the same thing twice!

Roasted Vegetables and Tofu with Peanut Sauce
fresh, organic ingredients

1/4 C. organic canola oil
14 ounces organic extra firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1/2 lb. organic green beans
1/2 C. shelled edamame
salt and pepper

1/3 C. organic natural peanut butter
1/4 C. organic soy sauce*
1/4 C. rice wine vinegar
pantry ingredients
3 T. sesame oil
1 T. honey (or agave for vegan version)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

4 C. cooked brown rice

fresh organic cilantro
red pepper flakes
sesame seeds

* I recommend organic soy sauce over conventional types not only because it uses organic non GMO soybeans but also because usually there are no artificial additives such as caramel color.  While still not a health food because of the high level of sodium, it is always important to read the label carefully.

Thoroughly drain the tofu to remove as much excess moisture as possible.  In one large roasting pan, or two smaller ones, pour the 1/4 cup of canola oil and coat the bottom of the pan.  Add the vegetables and tofu and coat in the oil well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 400F for about 20 - 30 minutes, until cooked through and browned to your liking.  In the meantime, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, garlic powder and ground ginger.  When the tofu and vegetables are done in the oven, toss with the peanut sauce and serve over brown rice.  Garnish with fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, if desired.  Serves at least four.

vegetables and tofu, ready for the oven

roasted and delicious

dinner is served!

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