I had a pound of fried Than Son tofu from Uwajimaya in my fridge at risk of becoming un-fresh, a basil plant in need of debushing, and a son demanding something stir-fried on the double. A quick scan of available tofu fresh basil stir fry recipes revealed this gem, which I adapted for our purposes. The original includes a mess of greens in lieu of the carrots & green beans I had on hand, which also sounds good.
Spicy Fresh Basil Tofu Stir Fry
- 500-750g fried ‘restaurant style’ tofu (or an equivalent amount of fresh firm pressed, cut into 1.5″ cubes, and fried in hot peanut oil until golden & crisp)
- 1 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 large red chilies, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 200g carrot, sliced
- 200g green beans, trimmed
- .5 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/4 c. light soy sauce
- 1/2 c. vegetable stock
- 1/4 c. Mirin
- 1 c. basil leaves, chopped
- cooked brown rice Note: I use Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice b/c it doesn’t send my Type 1 Diabetic daughter’s blood glucose through the roof.
- Steam the carrots and green beans 5m.
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet (or non stick frying pan or large wok) over high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and the fried tofu and cook just 3-4 minutes or until becomes golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil, chili, garlic, ginger and pepper and cook for 1-2 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan and add the carrots & green beans; stir fry until up-to-temperature.
- Add the soy sauce, stock and wine. Cook another 2-3 minutes. Note: Add a little ( .5 tsp) corn starch if the sauce takes too long to thicken.
- Top with the basil and serve over brown rice.
- 1 c. Gen-Ji-Mai Quick Cooking Nutri-Whole Grain Premium Brown Rice (2*.25c uncooked is 2*.5 cooked) 70g CHO; 4g fiber; 2g total fat; 6g protein
- 250g fried tofu 25g CHO; 0g fiber; 18g total fat; 31g protein
- 1/16 c. Mirin 3.5g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
- 1/8 c. vegetable stock .5g CHO; .5g fiber; 0g total fat; 0g protein
- 1/16 c. soy sauce 0g CHO; 0g fiber; 0g fat; 2g protein
- 50g carrot 4g CHO; 1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
- 50g green beans 3.5 g CHO; 1.5g fiber; 0g fat; .5g protein
- 106g CHO; 7.5G fiber; 20g total fat; 40g protein
Adapted from Moosewood’s adaptation of the Hijiki Tofu Burger at the world-famous Dojo Restaurant in New York City. This is one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve ever had, and has always been. During my short stay in NYC I divided my scant food budget between Dojo and Sonar Gaow, an inexpensive Indian place on 6th Street in the East Village.
- 1/4 c dried hijiki
- 1 c carrot, grated
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 2 tsp ginger, minced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 24 oz firm tofu, pressed
- 1/2 c scallions, minced
- 1/4 c sesame seeds, toasted
- 1/4 c light miso (or more, to taste)
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- Set the hijiki to soak in a bowl of lukewarm water
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously oil a baking sheet.
- Sauté carrots, garlic and ginger in the oil for 5 min, until carrots are limp.
- Mash or crumble tofu into fine but not insubstantial pieces (equivalent to a .25″ dice).
- Add cooked carrots, scallions, sesame seeds, miso and sesame oil to the tofu; stir well.
- Drain the hijiki well and stir into mixture.
- Using about 1/2 c per burger, form the mixture into flat, disc-shaped patties. (You may take this opportunity to lightly oil the patties, as with a spray of olive oil, to help them brown in the oven).
- Bake until firm and golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.
Carrot Ginger Dressing
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1/4 c vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp diced onion
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce) – use gluten-free if that’s a concern for you
- 1 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp white miso paste
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Blend everything in a food processor until smooth. Keeps in the fridge a few days but you may have to remix it as the oil may separate.
This recipe can be found on p. 437 of Bobbie Hinman’s indispensable vegetarian cookbook “The Meatless Gourmet.” I was commenting to my dinner party tonight that no vegetarian cookbook had more to do with the way I shop than this one. From this I learned what items to keep on hand to have a versatile kitchen: one ready to take on whatever delicious, perfectly ripe produce you happen to bring home to star in your evening’s meal. Access to tofu is important for this cookbook. IMO Ms. Hinman makes prudent use of canned goods as well (e.g., canned tomatoes), which lends these recipes a simplicity that stirs the soul of a harried single father to sublime satisfaction.
Tofu in Ginger Tomato Glaze (serves 4)
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 1 lb. can of chopped tomatoes, drained slightly
- 2 tsp. vegetable oil
- 1 lb. firm tofu, pressed (we used the fried tofu commercially available at Asian markets here in Seattle, which changes the fat content of the dish from the totals listed below)
- 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch and soy sauce, stirring to dissolve cornstarch. Add vinegar, sugar, and tomatoes. Mix well. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add tofu and ginger. Cook and stir, until tofu pieces are lightly brown on all sides, about 3 to five minutes. Stir tomato mixture and add to skillet. Continue to cook and stir, for 1 minute or until sauce has thickened slightly and mixture is hot and bubbly.
Serve over rice or noodles.
Check above for a picture, fresh from Aun’t Itsy’s Skillet.
Nutritional Breakdown (by author):
- 223 calories
- 19g protein
- 12g total fat (2g saturated)
- 13g carbohydrate
- 331mg sodium
- 0mg cholesterol
Another recipe from Chef Jo Kaucher’s collected wisdom in “The Chicago Diner Cookbook.” This is a perpetual favorite for my kids. Once you read the recipe you’ll see why.
- 1 lb. tempeh, diced
- 2 tbsp. tamari
- 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1.5 lb. onions, diced
- 1 lb. green bell peppers, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. chili powder (I use 2 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1.25 c catsup
- .25 tbsp. prepared yellow mustard (I use 1 tbsp.)
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke
- .5 c water
- salt & pepper to taste
NOTE: Dice your ingredients small. If prepared too chunky the end result ends up looking like stew on a bun: not fun.
One of my favorite recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Chicago Diner Cookbook by Chef Jo Kaucher.
- 8 oz. tempeh, cubed
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp. tamari
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- .5 lb. mushrooms sliced [we omit this or replace it with green beans…we just don’t like mushrooms very much]
- 3 small carrots, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- .5 tsp. salt
- .5 tsp. sage
- .5 tsp. thyme
- .5 tsp. basil
- 2 c. cooked lentils [1 c. dry Lepuy/French lentils make approx 2 c. cooked]
- [ .5 c. red wine ]
- 3 or 4 potatoes, peeled & boiled until tender
- salt, nutmeg and pepper to taste
- .5 to 1 c. soy milk
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium saucepan, saute the tempeh with the oil and tamari until the tempeh starts to brown. Continue sauteing, adding onion, celery, [mushrooms,] and carrots. Stir in remaining filling ingredients except lentils. When the carrots are tender, add lentils [and red wine], stir and simmer until the liquid has evaporated.
In a medium bowl, mash the potatoes with the olive oil and soy milk. Add salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste. Set aside. Pour the vegetable-lentil mixture in to a lightly oiled 10-inch pie pan or 3- to 4-quart casserole, and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake 25-30m.
Makes six servings.
- Carbohydrates: 45.87
- Fiber: 10
- Protein: 17.94
- Fat: 10.26
- Saturated Fat: 1.58
- Sodium: 209.11
- Calories: 365.5
NOTE: These values were determined by consulting online nutrition information databases and adding up the results. Despite my best efforts to make a correct calculation for this recipe, my Nutritional Information is an unofficial calculation for personal reference and should not in any way be considered authoritative.
From Robin Robertson’s indispensable “Fresh From The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.” (Harvard Commons Press, 2004), a source of several of our family’s favorite winter meals. Without huge bowls of warming, nourishing, satisfying soups like this life in chilly Seattle would be nearly intolerable.
Perfect Hominy White Bean Chili
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tb chili powder, or more to taste
- 1 jalapeño chile (optional), seeded and chopped [I omit these in deference to the tastes of my wee folk].
- 1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 3 c slow cooked or two 15.5oz cans navy or other white beans, drained and rinsed [I prefer cannellini beans.]
- 1 16 oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1.5 c water
- .5 tsp ground cumin
- .5 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- .25 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tb chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder and cook about 30 seconds longer. [In my skillet the chili powder and crushed garlic stick to the pan a little bit, so instead of adding the tomatoes in step 2 below I deglaze the skillet with the tomatoes. The heat of the skillet toasts some of the sugar in the tomatoes, which results in a sweeter, richer broth.]
Transfer the mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add the jalapeño, tomatoes, beans, hominy, water, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper; cover, and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.
Just before serving, stir in the cilantro and taste to adjust the seasonings.
The hominy makes it. Hominy provides both an earthy flavor and satisfying, chewable substance. I admit I sometimes include the little bit of leftover parsnip or butternut squash in the fridge as well. With the exception of onions & garlic everything else is (or can be) canned, saving on prep time.
From ‘The Joy of Cooking.’ This has been a personal favorite around our home for years. We prepare this as a vegetarian dish by substituting deep-fried tofu for the pork, though crumbled fresh tofu works well too (in the style of Ma Po Tofu). Of course vegans should be certain to use eggless noodles. We have found this recipe works well with regular or wheat spaghetti noodles as well.
SPICY SZECHUAN NOODLES
A pork and noodle dish in the Szechuan style, with plenty of fresh ginger, garlic, and chile peppers. Serves 4 adults.
Stir together well in a small bowl:
- 1⁄2 cup chicken stock or broth [we use vegetarian stock]
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black bean sauce [some contain animal products: read the label!]
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. When it is hot, pour in:
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
Swirl the oil around the pan until very hot but not smoking.
Add and stir-fry briefly, until the garlic browns very slightly:
- 2 tablespoons finely minced peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
- 1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped chile peppers
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped canned bamboo shoots
- 1 pound ground pork [we use deep-fried blocks or crumbled fresh tofu]
Stir-fry until just browned. Meanwhile, cook in a large pot of boiling unsalted water until softened:
- 1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
Add the stock mixture to the protein, stir well, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add and stir-fry briefly:
- 1⁄2 cup 2-inch pieces scallion
Remove the pan from the heat. Drain the noodles and pour into a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the noodles.
- 1⁄2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Stir well. Garnish with:
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped scallion