Vegan Tofu Bowls with Citrus Tahini Sauce

tofu bowl 2What should make when you need a reset after weekend eating? When you aren’t fully inspired, but have a fridge full of random vegetables? Or, when you feel like there is nothing in the fridge? When you have a bunch of diet restrictions at the dinner table? When you want to eat something incredibly satisfying and delicious?

Tofu bowls.

I’ve been making some variation of this bowl almost monthly for years. Tofu, rice, and the sauce are constants, but toppings always fluctuate depending on the season and what is in the fridge. If the ingredient list for the sauce seems long (or maybe contains nothing in your normal pantry), know that almost all the ingredients keep very well, so once you invest in them once you can make these bowls whenever the craving strikes (which will be often). The sauce is the great unifier and elevator that takes this from a bowl of health to a delightful dinner you really want to eat.

I like to use a mix of raw and cooked vegetables for textural contrast, but you can literally use whatever you fancy. Cucumbers, carrots, radishes, salad turnips, and avocado all make great options for a raw component. For cooked I’ve used many different types of greens (kale, collards, radish, turnip, chard), cabbage, Brussels sprouts, summer squashes, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and eggplant. Don’t feel limited by these options, use what you’ve got. This is also a great time to utilize leftover cooked vegetables from another meal.

This is the tail end of my CSA and my final week included celeriac, sweet potatoes, radishes, parsley, scallions, and lettuce. I used the lettuce in a salad inspired by this recipe with roasted carrots, couscous, and yogurt. It is an excellent time of year to make these root vegetable bowls.  If you haven’t yet, it’s time to make the celeriac slaw from a couple weeks ago (I’d throw in the scallions too), or this excellent winter chowder. If you want to see the whole season of CSA recipes, they are under the Potter Hill tag!

Vegan Tofu Bowls with Citrus Tahini Sauce

Serves 6.

Tofu marinade and method adapted from Thug Kitchen, sauce just barely adapted from Bowl + Spoon (which is also posted here). I’ve written this to serve 6, but if you want to scale this assume ¼ cup uncooked brown rice (1 ½ cups total) and ~2.5 ounces tofu per serving.

Marinated Tofu

  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic chili sauce (or, 1 teaspoon grated garlic and 2 teaspoons sriracha)
  • 1 14-ounce container extra firm tofu

Citrus Tahini Sauce

  • 1⁄3 cup fresh-squeezed orange, clementine, or tangerine juice (you only need a little, so go the distance)
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, or agave
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For serving:

  • Cooked brown rice or noodles (see head note)
  • Raw vegetables and herbs (for these I used 1 small bunch radishes (sliced), pickled onions, scallions, and avocado)
  • Cooked vegetables (for these I used 1 large sweet potato which I cubed and roasted with the tofu, plus the radish greens which I threw on the same pan as the sweet potato in the last 2 minutes of cooking)

Remove tofu from container and drain all liquid (don’t discard the container!!!). Wrap tofu in a clean cloth napkin or dish towel, and place on a bowl/plate. Top with another bowl/plate, and place a weight on top (such as a full can of beans). Let drain for at least 30 minutes, but longer is great.

While tofu is draining place all marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

Remove tofu from the napkin and slice into 1/4″ planks width-wise (you should have 10-12 planks total). Return planks to their original container, and pour marinade over them. Poke in between the slices so the marinade can mingle. Let tofu marinate for 30 minutes (flip the slices over halfway through if you can remember to).

Preheat oven to 450F. Spread out tofu slices (reserving additional marinade) and roast for 15 minutes. Flip, spoon extra marinade over each slice, and roast for 10 more minutes. Flip one more time, spoon any remaining marinade over, and roast for 5 minutes more.

Whisk all sauce ingredients to combine. Prep vegetables for serving.

Serve bowls with rice, tofu, raw and cooked vegetables, any extra marinade, tahini citrus sauce, and extra sriracha. For maximum meal flexibility let diners assemble their own bowls.

 

 

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Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

IMG_20181101_122925192For most of my life I was anti-squash soup. I found the texture off-putting, and I didn’t care for the flavor enough to try to overcome that aversion. But five years ago Molly Wizenberg introduced me to this soup. It isn’t a Pumpkin Spice Latte in soup form. It has rich coconut milk to provide a velvety texture without the need for a high powered blender. Instead of cinnamon or another official fall spice, it has curry powder to bring additional warmth, fish sauce for salty funk, and lime juice for the hit of acid so many squash soups are missing. It was the potential I tasted every time I had a spoonful of lackluster soup before this.

I’ve made it so many times I felt it deserved a spot here. I’ve made a few changes from Molly’s, mainly that I always double it because that means I can use a whole squash and a whole quart of broth. It is perfect for freezing in individual portions and grabbing on those days when you need an emergency lunch because maybe you went out for pizza the night before instead of cooking (like I did this week).

It is nearing the end of our CSA season, which means it is time to stock up the ole root cellar! But in reality I live in an apartment on the top floor of a classic Worcester triple decker so there is no cellar to speak of. If you are in a similar situation, you can still store winter crops for quite a while. The share this week was carrots, chard, butternut, potatoes, and onions. I store the carrots in a plastic bag in the produce drawer of my fridge and they will last for months there. Butternut stores well in a dark, dry place but should not be refrigerated (unless it is cut). Potatoes and onions should be stored in complete darkness, separately if possible because the gas from onions encourages potatoes to sprout (as I learned here). Potatoes do best in a paper bag and onions prefer the open air (I keep them in those wood boxes clementines come in).

If you do want to cook with your veg from this week right away, then you can do that too! Before I found this soup, Ottolenghi was the first one to truly show me the merits of butternut squash. This recipe with tahini and za’atar and this recipe with yogurt and chili are both great. I’m going classic this week and making a roasted chicken with roasted potatoes. I’ve also been using the potatoes for a quick breakfast hash with whatever else I have around, like broccoli and onions (egg on top required).

Curry Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk

I put a range for the squash size because they can be so variable. No need to do something silly like use a squash a half (unless you already have a plan for the other half). Just know that the bigger your squash is, the thicker and heartier the soup will be.

  •  3 tablespoons coconut oil (you can also use vegetable or olive oil)
  •  2 cups of chopped onion (this was one medium onion and 2 small ones for me)
  •  6 garlic cloves, minced
  •  2 tablespoons curry powder
  •  1 large butternut squash (about 3-4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  •  2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk
  •  4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  •  2 tablespoons maple syrup
  •  2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  •  2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce, plus more for serving
  •  Lime wedges, for serving

In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until it becomes soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more, until it is fragrant. Add the curry powder and cook for another minute. Add in the squash, broth, coconut milk, maple syrup, fish sauce, and Sriracha. Turn the heat up to high, cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 30-40 minutes (until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork).

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or, you can use a blender and puree it in batches). Serve with extra Sriracha and lime wedges.