Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Thai Quinoa and Tofu Bowl

I've been in a lunch rut lately.

Until this week, I had nearly the same thing for lunch. Every day. Since August. And many dinners too.

One grain + one bean + whatever veggies were in my fridge.


Quinoa and chickpeas with peas and corn.

Buckwheat with mung beans, lima beans and avocado.

By no means am I complaining. The meals were cheap and healthy. They didn't require refrigeration, and they tasted good at room temperature. Best of all, they kept me full until dinnertime.

Despite the ease of preparation, I just couldn't bring myself to eat the same thing again this week.

This dish helped. It's got the same basic breakdown of ingredients as my typical lunch, but it's got something a little more.

Coconut (and a little peanut butter, which never hurts).

It's fabulous. It's loaded with protein from the quinoa, almonds and tofu. The scallions, carrots and lightly blanched peas give it just the right amount of crunch. Every bite explodes with a combination of flavors.

Although it took quite a bit more work than my typical lunch, it was certainly worth it, and this dish will be entering my regular lunch rotation.




Thai Quinoa and Tofu Bowl 
recipe adapted from Clara Persis

yields 8 lunch- or dinner-sized portions

Ingredients:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2/3 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted

Tofu:
1 15-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained, dried and diced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil

Sauce:
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 lime, juiced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Drain and rinse the tofu. Wrap it in clean towels, place it on a plate, and put another plate on top of it with something heavy on top (a saucepan, a cookbook, etc.). Allow the excess liquid to drain for at least 15 minutes.

Dice the tofu. Combine the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small bowl. Add the diced tofu and toss until well covered. Place the tofu in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.

While the tofu is cooking, cook the quinoa. Add 1 cup uncooked quinoa to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the vegetable broth is absorbed, about 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

Prepare the sauce: Microwave peanut butter for 10 seconds, and then add the remaining sauce ingredients to the bowl. Whisk well.

Combine quinoa, grated and chopped vegetables, tofu and almonds in a large bowl. Top with sauce, and stir well to combine. The mixture will keep well in the fridge for a week!

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