Alisa Fleming ~ Yesterday, the e-newsletter from Vegetarian Times showed up in my inbox, and within 15 minutes, I had their feature recipe on the go. While most people in the northern hemisphere are probably noshing on raw salads, I’m craving something a bit warmer. At 58 degrees, completely overcast, and drizzling, it doesn’t really feel like summer here in the Northwest. That said, I still wanted something for lunch that used at least a couple of the seasonal vegetables stashed in my crisper, and that wasn’t too heavy. The Golden Bowl Recipe from Vegetarian Times seemed like the perfect fit for my cravings and for the block of Nasoya organic tofu that I had just purchased.
The tofu is first pan-fried in just a wee bit of oil to give it a golden and almost crispy exterior, and later returned to the pan to cook just a little more with the vegetables. The flavor of this stir-fry is savory, but mild. The seasonings are intended to compliment the vegetables rather than overpower them, but feel free to season to taste. Also, you can reduce the cooking times if you want your vegetables more on the crisp side.
From a health perspective, I consider this recipe to be a great one for vegan or vegetarian meals. The tofu contains a good dose of calcium and protein, the vegetables are simply nutrient dense, and the nutritional yeast is rich in B vitamins (including B12). If you want a higher dose of B12, you can always double the nutritional yeast in this recipe.
Since I wanted lunch done quickly, I trialed the Lundberg Heat & Eat Organic Brown Rice Bowls as the bed for my cooked tofu and vegetables. They had both stove top and microwave instructions, but to keep it simple, I opted for the 90 second nuke. The rice (we had both the long grain and short grain brown rice varieties) came out nicely – a touch sticky, but good overall, and so insanely quick for brown rice! To fluff and separate the rice a bit, I recommend adding a little oil or just some soy sauce and stirring with a fork.
Golden Tofu and Mixed Vegetable Rice Bowl
This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Sugar-Free. For Gluten-Free, use wheat-free tamari. This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Times online.
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut, Peanut, or Canola Oil, divided (I used coconut)
- 1 14-Ounce Package Extra-Firm Tofu, drained, pressed to remove excess water, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used Nasoya Extra-Firm Tofu – it is water-packed and sold in the refrigerated section)
- 4 Teaspoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, divided, plus more to taste
- 1 Small to Medium Onion, chopped into 1-inch wedges
- 1 Medium Bell Pepper (yellow, red, or orange), chopped into 1-inch wedges
- 8 Ounces Mushrooms, quartered or thickly sliced
- 2 Cups Shredded Cabbage
- 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- Salt and Pepper, optional and to taste (I used a scant 1/4 teaspoon of each)
- 3 Cups Cooked Brown Rice (about 2 Lundberg Heat & Eat Organic Brown Rice Bowls)
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu cubes, toss them to coat with the oil, and cook them for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring periodically, until they are golden brown. Letting them sit a bit allows them to brown more easily, but you don’t want them to burn, and you do want to fry all sides of the cubes if possible. Add 2 teaspoons of the soy sauce, and stir-fry the cubes for 2 minutes more. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.
Add the other 1 tablespoon of oil to your pan and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the bell pepper and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cabbage, and return the tofu to the pan, and stir fry everything for another 2 to 3 minutes – the mushrooms should cook and shrink a bit, and the cabbage will wilt. Add the nutritional yeast, the remaining 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, salt and pepper as desired, and stir-fry everything for just 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Serve the stir-fry over bowls of brown rice with light soy sauce for seasoning to taste.
Veggie Variations: Feel free to mix-up the vegetables according to taste and season. Vegetarian Times also uses broccoli and summer squash in their recipe, but broccoli requires a little more prep (usually a few minutes of pre-steaming), and I wanted more bell pepper and cabbage in mine. You can also add other greens, or even Chinese-style vegetables like baby corn.
Makes 3 to 4 servings
Article, Photos, and Recipe by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.