What a difference a year makes! This time last year I was celebrating St. Patty’s Day with a group of babes in New Orleans watching the parade. This year, we are practicing social-distancing and haven’t left the house in 48 hours…
Like so many of you, I have been cooking at home to try to practice social-distancing to hopefully help slow the spread of COVID-19. Over the next couple of weeks, my goal is to share easy, simple recipes that you can whip up with just a few ingredients on hand. I am using staples I have in my pantry for these meals, and nothing too fancy. I will post a grocery list later this week with the staples I keep on hand in case you go to the store over the weekend to stock up for next week. But, please keep in mind, one of the best parts of cooking is to experiment and modify recipes to fit what you like! Feel free to sub different veggies, spices, grains, beans, etc. in any of these recipes and to utilize what you have on hand. In fact, this is exactly what I do when I try a new recipe. I use the recipe as a guide, and I play with it as I go!
Though St. Patty’s Day is a little different this year, it doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate! And what better way to celebrate than with some green….. VEGGIES! LOL I know, I’m so lame! But I don’t really like beer, nonetheless green beer, so I’d take green veggies any day!
This is a simple stir fry I whipped up last week and posted on my instagram stories. So many people messaged me asking for the recipe, so here it is! For today’s recipe, I was inspired by the Minimalist Baker 20 Minute Tofu Stir Fry! I also was inspired by a local restaurant, Gillie’s, where I ordered a vegan stir fry a few weeks ago. I can’t stop thinking about their seitan and Thai peanut sauce. I loved how thin the sauce was, instead of creamy and heavy. I created a similar sauce that is tasty, yet doesn’t leave you feeling heavy and sluggish!
makes 4 servings
- 1 cup dry brown rice
- 1 bag frozen riced cauliflower (optional, see note in recipe)
*I like to mix brown rice and cauliflower rice on my plate. This is completely optional, you may use just one grain if you would prefer!
- 2 broccoli crowns, chopped
- 2 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 small eggplant, chopped
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sesame oil (optional, see note in recipe)
- 4 cups baby spinach (option to use frozen spinach)
- 2-4 green onion, chopped and used for garnish
- avocado, sliced and used to garnish a serving with 1/4 – 1/2 avocado
- 2 packs 14oz extra firm tofu (1 block is fine, we just love tofu and like a bigger portion)
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon avocado oil (optional, see note in recipe)
Light Peanut Sauce:
- 4 tablespoons PB2 (or another peanut powder)
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce (or lower sodium soy sauce)
- 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- If using brown rice, cook brown rice on stove top following instructions for the particular type of rice you have. The stovetop brown rice I had was “quick cook” meaning it only took me 15 minutes, but some brands take 30-40 minutes. I’m still trying to figure out the nutritional difference in the traditional versus the quick cook versions.. I’ll report back when I know!
- Slice each 14 oz tofu block lengthwise in half. Cube the tofu so you have 32 pieces when finished (HERE is a video on how to cube tofu if you aren’t sure how to do this). No need to drain the tofu since we are going for a soft, silky texture (as opposed to crispy), just put it into a baking dish!
- In a small bowl, mix coconut aminos and chili garlic sauce. Pour marinade on tofu and gently toss tofu so evenly covered. Set aside and let marinade about 15 minutes.
- In large pan, heat sesame oil on medium-high heat. Note: if you are trying to eat a whole food plant based diet (or low fat plant based diet), skip the oil! Just place 1/3 of water in pan and add water as needed so vegetables don’t stick. They will still brown over time! You may just want to add a little sesame seeds at the end for flavor.
- When the pan is hot, add onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Stir frequently so the garlic does not burn. Next, add the green bell pepper and eggplant and continue to cook another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add the broccoli and cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the broccoli is tender (I like our broccoli a little underdone and to have a bit of a crunch, so I cook it for a shorter time). Stir frequently. Once cooked, remove vegetables from pan a place into a glass bowl.
- In the same pan, on medium heat, add baby spinach and stir frequently, wilting the spinach just slightly. No need to add oil, there is a bit of oil leftover from the other veggies. This will only take 2-3 minutes. Remove the spinach from the pan as it just begins to wilt and place in a bowl. As it sits, the spinach will wilt a bit more. The less time you cook vegetables the more nutrients they retain, so cooking it to be a bit under is ideal! If you only have frozen spinach on hand, place it in a glass bowl and microwave until it is cooked (see my note below about steamable bags on step #10).
- As the vegetables and spinach cook, make the sauce. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until there are no clumps. Taste the sauce and adjust measurements as needed. If you want more sweetness, add more coconut aminos. For more heat, add more chili garlic sauce. For more classic soy, add more soy sauce. Add for more of a nutty flavor, bump up the PB2 (you may need to add more water though to keep the thin consistency).
- In the same pan, heat avocado oil on medium high heat to prepare to cook the tofu. Again, this is optional, and you can skip this step completely. The tofu has released enough liquid at this point that you can use that in lieu of oil.
- When the pan is hot, pour the tofu and all of the marinade into the pan. Cook tofu 5-7 minutes or until tofu is cooked through. Cook longer for more caramelization on the outside of the tofu.
- If using cauliflower rice, while the tofu cooks, place frozen rice in a glass microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 5-6 minutes uncovered. I do this, even when the bag is a plastic steamable bag, since I don’t want chemicals from the bag to leach into my food.
- Place the veggies, spinach, brown rice and/or cauliflower rice, and tofu on a plate. Garnish with slice avocado, green onion, and a heavy drizzle of peanut sauce! Enjoy!
I hope this recipe is something you can use as a springboard to make a stir fry while you are also spending more time at home during this social-distancing! Don’t forget to connect with me on Instagram and share pictures of this dish if you end up making it! I will continue to post recipes I make using things I have on hand while we are staying home.
Stay healthy and safe friends!