Last evening I was in the mood for a dish with tofu and I had time to drain it, marinate it, and chop the veggies for a stir “fry” which is one of my husband’s favorite things. I also had a bowl of fresh broccoli and broccoli greens that I had just cut from my garden. The greenhouse where I bought the broccoli plants told me that if I’m lucky, I may still be harvesting broccoli into January!
The next step was to drain the tofu. I always use extra firm tofu for this dish and after I drain off the water, I slice it in 1/2 lengthwise, lay it in a colander, cover it with paper towels, put my family flat iron on top and ignore it for the afternoon. When I’m in a hurry I only drain it for 30-60 min, but it absorbs the marinade so much better when it’s well drained and has so much more flavor.
While the tofu is draining, I make the marinade:
1/2 c. low sodium veggie broth
1 TBS lower sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
1 huge clove of garlic or 2-3 average sized cloves, minced
A 3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced in a mini chopper or grated with a ceramic grater
1 tsp of sambal oelek or Sriracha sauce if you like some heat
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl, cut the tofu into bite sized cubes and place into a shallow dish. Sprinkle Chinese Five Spice over the tofu and then pour the marinade over the tofu. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes.
While the tofu is marinating, get your other ingredients lined up:
3 carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 onion, sliced thinly or several green onions, chopped (white and green parts)
1 red pepper, chopped
½-1 jalapeno pepper, chopped finely
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
1-2 TBS of fresh Thai basil or cilantro, chopped
Approximately 2-3 cups or more of broccoli, chopped along with the leaves if available.
If no broccoli leaves/greens available, add some chopped cabbage or bok choy
12-16 oz whole grain rice vermicelli or your favorite whole grain pasta (or cooked brown rice, approximately 3 cups)
1 TBS cornstarch mixed with 2-3 TBS water
Preheat the oven or toaster oven to 450 degrees. If you don’t have the veggies in the ingredient list, use the ones you have in your fridge or garden! The possibilities are endless.
Place the tofu cubes on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for 30-40 min until they are nice and brown. You can turn them if you like, but I prefer to leave them alone. Save the marinade!
Using a slotted spoon, remove the remaining ginger and garlic from the marinade and set aside. Add ½ c. veggie broth to reserved marinade.
While the tofu is baking, prepare your rice or pasta and keep warm.
When the tofu is almost done, heat up your wok or a very large skillet.
Add a couple of TBS of veggie broth or water to your pan and when it is hot, and the onions, peppers, garlic, ginger, and cook for a couple of min at high heat until the veggies begin to soften.
Add the carrots, broccoli, and greens and cook for a couple of minutes until they are done to your liking. Add more veggie broth as needed to keep the veggies from sticking and help them to steam.
When the veggies are done, move them to the sides of your wok or pan, and pour the reserved marinade into the center of the wok. Heat the marinade through and add the cornstarch that you mixed with water and let the broth thicken. Mix the sauce and veggies together. Add the Thai basil or cilantro.
Place the rice or pasta in a large serving bowl, add the veggies, and top with the tofu.
- Serve with extra chopped Thai basil or cilantro and the lime wedges. The fresh lime adds a wonderful brightness at the table.
- Add extra Sriracha sauce or sambal oelek at the table as desired for extra kick!
- If you don’t have heart disease, you can add a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter to the reserved marinade.
- Remember this is your dish. Feel free to make changes and substitutions to accommodate your preferences AND what you have in your fridge and your cupboard!
- To save time, use frozen veggies or chopped veggies from the produce section of the grocery store.
I hope you will love the Thai basil as much as we do. It’s aromatic, beautiful, and adds wonderful flavor to stir fry dishes. It also grows with little tending or care in the garden.
Remember to have fun with your food and enjoy!