No lightbulb required!
With Christmas approaching, I pulled out one of my great gifts from last year – a Silpat baking mat. I wanted to see if this mat could amplify my love for tofu (and if starting cooking before I was starving would give me time to bake tofu for once) and I was not disappointed. Here are a few steps to perfection:
Easy Baked Tofu
- 8 oz of firm tofu (I used TJ’s small block, but you could just double this if you were working with a bigger block of tofu)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 3/4 tbsp soy sauce (or so – I intended to use more but mine ran out!)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
- Dash of hot sauce
- salt, pepper, and garlic powder as desired
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the tofu into thin slabs, about 1/4 or so thick and as wide as you can get them and still have them stay intact when you mix them with the sauce.
- Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Add the tofu and let sit for 5 minutes (or longer if possible).
- Place slabs of tofu on a baking sheet (I used mine lined with a Silpat mat) and bake for 10-14 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Enjoy! I ate mine with spaghetti squash and poured the remaining marinade over the whole dish (bonuses of cooking with tofu: you can stop to eat the ingredients at any time AND you can reuse any leftover marinade safely.)
PS: I do actually cook more than just tofu – proof is here! For Thanksgiving, I made a new Brussels sprout dish and lots of different egg concoctions. What have you made or eaten lately?
Yes, it exists. I love tofu in any form, but this recipe is the only one I can make and want to eat the tofu raw, and a few pieces usually get sacrificed to “taste testing” before they can reach the pan.
All it takes is mixing a few items together:
2 tbps Mirin (a sweet Japanese seasoning made from rice alcohol – keep this in your cupboard for tons of recipes!)
1 tbsp sesame oil (hint: you can get this cheap at the Christmas Tree Shop! I use it basically every day.)
1 tsp Tamari (soy sauce)
1 tsp Teriyaki sauce (I used the low sodium version)
Cut up the tofu into small cubes and pour the sauce over the top. If you have time, try to marinade for an hour or two, stirring every once in a while. If you’re in a rush, just let this sit while you prep everything else.
You can either add the extra sauce to the pan after, or use it on a side dish – I threw mine, along with some extra Mirin and Tamari, over some asparagus I was cooking at the same time. Incredible!
What’s your favorite way to give tofu some flavor?
Or should I say basil with quinoa and tofu? Basil is clearly the star of this dish, and the delivery of a massive amount of fresh basil from the Ward’s garden (thanks, Sarabeth!) inspired me to go this route in the first place. This is by far the most complicated dish I’ve ever made without having to go to the store on the way home – a major accomplishment in my book, unlikely to be repeated anytime soon.
This dish is perfect for a summer night like last night – it’s refreshing, light, and doesn’t involve too much time over the stove. And the way I portioned it, it makes six servings that will last me for lunch and dinner the rest of the week. Less time cooking later, more time enjoying those late summer evenings! What’s your go-to summer meal? Here’s how mine came together (inspired by this post):
Quinoa with Tofu and Basil
- 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1 pack of tofu (I used Trader Joe’s Extra Firm High Protein kind – better than I expected!), chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange would work), cored, seeded, and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 20 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
- Start by cooking the quinoa – put 1 cup of uncooked quinoa along with 2 cups of water in a pot, and heat to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. If quinoa doesn’t seem soft by that point, add a cup of water and continue to simmer until water is absorbed – repeat as needed. When soft, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat oil over medium heat and then add tofu, stirring until lightly brown (about 5 minutes).
- Add onion and garlic to the pan with tofu – stir. After about 2 minutes, add in peppers and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and basil to tofu and vegetables – then mix together with quinoa.
Serve it hot or cold, with grated Parmesan on top as desired. (1 serving = 1/6 of the total = 7 PointsPlus)
You can adapt this to whatever you have around the house – tomatoes, squash, tempeh, etc. – the same basic recipe is a great start to any veggie and quinoa stir-fry. Enjoy!
Want more quinoa? Check out my quinoa and cheese recipe here!
Tahini and I have a thing going. Once I open a jar, all I can think about is how I can mix it into whatever dish I’m preparing. Eggs, pasta, spinach – you name it, I’ve tried to incorporate tahini into it. I even have more than one muffin recipe that calls for it (weekend project!).
Cooking in progress!
Last night, I took that obsession to a new level when I ripped this 101 Cookbooks recipe for Miso Sesame Winter Squash apart so I could incorporate my favorite ingredient of the moment and keep from spending more than an hour in the kitchen. The result was delicious (but I bet the original would be too, if I had any desire to buy molasses and if Boston was able to get more than four kinds of squash in February).
Tahini Orange Squash and Tofu
- 2 pounds butternut squash (about 1 – I bought two halves already peeled and sliced at the grocery store!) halved, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 8 oz firm or extra firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large onion, chopped into bite-sized pieces (optional)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil – used it all in the sauce
- 1 teaspoon tamari
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 heaping tablespoon tahini
- juice from one orange (about 1/2 cup)
- juice from half a lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
- 5 tablespoons water
Tofu and sauce
- Cut the tofu into large slices (4 pieces or so total) and press between cutting boards lined with paper towels (I usually throw a heavy pot on top for some pressure). Let sit while you continue prepping.
- Slice the squash into small pieces and set it to steam above a pot of water – mine took about 20-30 minutes (our timer is broken, sorry!) until you can easily cut it with a fork.
- While that’s cooking, whisk together the sauce in a medium sized bowl. Cut up the tofu into smaller chunks and add to the bowl as well, letting marinade for at least 10 minutes.
- Saute an onion in a large frying pan/wok with a little sesame oil. (This was not part of the original recipe, but it worked really well to soak up the sauce, so I’m sticking with it!)
- When the onion is a bit translucent, add the tofu to the pan and cook on high, letting the sauce start to boil down. *If you want to put some quick rice, couscous, or quinoa on to cook, this is the time to do it!*
- After about 5 minutes, add the squash to the pan as well and cook together for another 5 minutes or so. The tofu won’t have a crust or anything like that, but when it’s warm and you can’t stand the amazing smells anymore, it’s ready to eat!
Phew! By the time I took this recipe and turned the entire thing on its head (sauce concept, type of squash, cooking technique), it was an hour later, but it was still super delicious and totally worth it. The orange really came through in a surprising and tasty way. This made enough that I had two servings last night, put two away for lunch, and packed another one away in the freezer for some later date.
What’s your latest cooking adventure, real or hoped for?
Dinner is served!