Now that the Easter bunny has hopped on to other places, it is time to embrace Spring (unless you live in Utah and are still covered in snow.) You guys can enjoy sunny flavors virtually with us here in California. The market are filled with fresh vegetables, fruits and loads of things grown under the sun. My seven year old and hubs suggested I take a pause from my impassioned baking kick to bring you savory. So here it is!
When I saw peas at the market the other day I got so excited. Peas have a little snap and are a smidge sweet. They are delicious raw or cooked. When combined with tofu, carrots and a savory sesame sauce all is right. This dish is a simple, colorful and quick to prepare meal.
What would all this Spring talk be without a peek back to Easter? We had so much fun decorating eggs and looking for those “hidden” by the Bunny in a big open field. A true celebration of life!
My friend Da from Kitchen Corners shared her darling kids on Easter and she inspired me to share our day too. Even though the sky was overcast and grey the bright colors popped that much more. When hunting for Easter eggs it really does not matter what color the sky is!
I have been experimenting with different cooking methods and ingredients to embrace all kinds of lifestyles. I will be working on some vegan posts in the upcoming months. I also have a few guest posters coming up that will knock your socks off with their vegan creations. You will be impressed with how much freedom you have in your cooking even without animal based ingredients. (I am not going that route, but I do see it’s value.) In this recipe you can choose to use the fish sauce or swap in some extra tamari for a vegan dish. Either way is great.
This recipe works for vegans or vegetarians, or if you are just looking for a meatless meal. Tofu absorbs any marinades, sauces, seasonings and spices you put on it. It is a versatile and inexpensive ingredient that you can stow away in the fridge and pull out in pinch.
Quinoa is a great side dish. Most of us think of it as a grain but it is actually a protein packed seed. It is an adaptable ingredient that I use often. We love it in my Quinoa Salad with Basil and Blood Orange. The Inca’s believed that the quinoa crop is sacred and that it is the “mother of all grains.” I like how the light, fluffy texture of quinoa pairs with the tofu and veggies. It is a nice alternative to brown rice, pasta and heavier grains.
How do you like to prepare tofu and quinoa?
Sesame Tofu with Spring Vegetables and Quinoa
- Tamari is wheat free soy sauce. You can also use a regular soy sauce if you do not need to stick to gluten free ingredients.
- Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine for cooking.
- You can find the above ingredients at Whole Foods, Asian markets, my Amazon Store. Many large markets have Asian food sections too.
- Adjust ingredients according to taste. This recipe is more a method. Use any veggies you have on hand and you can also change the ratio of sauces according to taste preference.
- You can toast your own sesame seeds by putting them in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally. Seeds are done toasting in about 3-5 minutes when they are slightly browned and fragrant. Take them off the heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar at room temperature.
- 1 cup dry Quinoa, prepare according to package directions
- 2 cups Snow Peas, rinsed, cut off ends
- 1/2 cup diced Carrots
- 14 ounces Extra Firm Organic Tofu, pat dry with paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 cloves minced Garlic
- 2 tablespoons Tamari
- 2 tablespoons Mirin
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (omit this and use 3 tablespoons Tamari if you want to keep this vegan)
- 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds
- dried Nori Seaweed, chopped
- toasted Sesame Seeds
- Furikake Seasoning blend
- chopped Chives or Green Onion
- chopped Peanuts
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.
In a medium bowl make sauce by combining garlic, tamari, mirin, fish sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Add tofu pieces to sauce and let sit a few minutes to absorb flavors. Pre heat a wok or large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Carefully add carrots and tofu-sauce mixture to the pan/wok. Let it boil for about 6-8 minutes until the carrots soften, toss gently with tongs often. Add snow peas last. Loosely cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer until the snow peas turn bright green but remain crispy.
Serve with quinoa. You can season the quinoa with more of the sauces if you wish and top with the above suggestions.
Tofu Recipe Links