Spicy Peanut Lime Tofu Stir-fry

My to-do list is long. I still have our Eastern Tour finale to share with you. I still have photos from our end-of-the-year celebration in Charleston to sort through. I even still have Christmas to pack away! Does anyone else feel a little bit heartbroken to box up the joy of the season and stash it in the garage? A sad-ish sagging tree, piles of colorful décor waiting to be stored. I guess I won’t miss the pine needles that Boris is dropping everywhere.

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In the midst of trying to get back to normal life after a whirlwind holiday travel season, the one thing that makes me feel “at home” is time in my kitchen. A goal of mine this year (I’ll share the list soon!) is to tackle one new recipe per week: the New 52. Being the first Monday after a season of excess and indulgence, I made something meatless and healthy: Peanut Lime Tofu Stir-fry. YUM.

Tofu is not everyone’s cup of tea. For me, it’s necessary to change the texture and flavor it up. Baking the tofu gives it a delightfully crispy crust, but first you’ll need to get rid of some of the moisture. To do that, I laid out some kitchen towels, placed the block of tofu between some paper towels, and placed a cast iron skillet on top. The weight of the heavy object squeezes the moisture out. I left it alone while I made the stir-fry sauce.

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The sauce came about based on what I had on hand in the pantry. The base of it is peanut butter. I added soy sauce, Thai chili garlic paste, minced ginger and garlic, spicy Sriracha, lime juice, some honey, and a little sesame oil. I love everything about that.

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I set the thick peanut-y sauce aside and worked on the tofu. I cut the block into one-inch pieces and gently tossed them in sesame oil. I baked them at 400 degrees for probably 30 minutes, turning them every ten minutes or so to be sure all sides browned. Baking time will depend on how crispy you want the tofu and how small the chunks are. Look at those little nuggets!

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For the stir-fry, I just cleaned out the veggie drawer and chopped them into a rainbow on my cutting board. I heated some oil on medium-high heat in a wok (though a deep skillet would work fine). First, I sautéed the veggies that would take the longest: broccoli, carrot, yellow bell pepper, zucchini, and squash.

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Next came some shiitake mushrooms, followed a few minutes later by onion, garlic, and sliced jalapeno. I stemmed and chopped a couple leaves of kale and tossed it in to wilt.

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It’s time to add the tofu! I also spooned in some of the peanut-lime sauce, tasting it and adding more. To finish, I added a handful of halved cherry tomatoes and let them warm through. Let’s eat!

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I served the tofu stir-fry over brown rice, with delicious chopped roasted peanuts on top (for extra crunch) and a lime wedge. Beautiful! Each bite is a party of texture and flavor. The tofu has a chewy crispiness. The veggies retained some of their crunch. The sauce is nutty-sweet-spicy-tart but doesn’t hide the flavor of the stir-fry ingredients.

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This Meatless Monday dish was scrumptious… and since it’s such a healthy dish, I didn’t feel bad at all for clearing my plate. Cheers to a healthy year and the New 52!

Peanut-Lime Tofu Stir-fry

You’ll need:

  • One block of organic extra firm tofu
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil for tossing
  • 2-3 cups of chopped/sliced veggies (I used broccoli, carrot, zucchini, squash, shiitake mushrooms, bell pepper, onion)
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Two kale leaves, stemmed and chopped
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Lime wedges, sesame seeds, and chopped roasted peanuts for garnish

For the sauce, you’ll need:

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 small lime

On a couple of folded kitchen towels, place the tofu block between two paper towels and weigh it down with a heavy object, like a cast iron skillet. Let the moisture be pressed out for 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut up the dried tofu into one-inch pieces. In a bowl, gently toss the tofu with sesame oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the pieces every ten minutes or so. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil/sesame oil in a wok or deep skillet on medium-high heat. Sautee the veggies in stages, starting with the ones that will take the longest. After a few minutes, add the jalapeno and garlic. After a few minutes, add the kale. After a few minutes, add the baked tofu. Spoon most of the sauce into the wok and stir well. Taste and add more sauce if desired. Last, stir in the cherry tomatoes and warm through.

Serve stir-fry over brown rice. Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped peanuts over the top and serve with a lime wedge. Cheers to Meatless Monday and a healthy new year. YUM.

Hungry for more? Check out the collection of recipes on the FOOD BLISS page

Another baked tofu recipe

One year ago: Me in PC: Shabu Shabu hot pot.

Two years ago: White bean soup with pancetta.

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