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Thai Chili Tofu with Kale & Quinoa

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A clean, healthy, and nutritious dinner seasoned with a Thai-inspired sauce. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and guilt free!

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To be honest, I don’t know a lot about cooking with tofu. I only have a handful of tofu recipes, most of which my sister has sent me and (no offense, sis) have been difficult to successfully make gluten free. Back in January, when I did a Daniel Fast, I started playing around with tofu a bit more, and found this delicious recipe from VeganYumYum. It was so good, I’ve made it over and over again since then, even after the Daniel Fast was done.

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As I made this recipe over and over, I was never actually truly following the recipe. The original recipe calls for collard greens, but I had kale on hand, so I just used that. Rather than season the kale with lime juice I just sauteed it with a little garlic and crushed red pepper (my go-to kale seasoning). As for the quinoa, well, I just skipped the seasonings all together. I’m sure they would be delicious, but cardamom is just too expensive for me! I made a couple of minor changes to the tofu part of the recipe, also. I’m sure the original version is delicious (even though I’ve never actually tried it)! This version is, too!

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The invaluable lesson I learned from making Tofu dish over and over is the technique of dry-frying tofu. I was used to this soft, squishy, falling-apart tofu, and honestly, that isn’t incredibly appetizing. Now, dry-fried tofu, that is something totally different. Tofu prepared in this way has a texture very close to chicken. Because of it’s nature, it still basically functions like a little sponge that absorbs up flavor. The best of both worlds: great texture and great flavor! As I’m typing this I’m wondering “why do I not use dry fried tofu in more recipes”.

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Another benefit of tofu? It’s cheap. At least here, a pound of tofu is nearly half the price as a pound of chicken or beef.

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What makes this meal is not so much the tofu though, but the sauce. It’s so simple – just 5 ingredients you probably have in your pantry/fridge. When the sauce is mixed, and poured over the cooked tofu it soaks in a bit a forms a sort of glaze. The tofu + glaze is wonderful on it’s own, but to get the best result mix it with the kale and quinoa. It all blends perfectly, and is one of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had!

And for what it’s worth, my meat-loving spouse enjoys this dinner just as much as I do. It’s that good!

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Thai Chili Tofu with Kale & Quinoa

Serves 2 – 3 adults.
 
Ingredients
  • 2/3 c quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 1/3 c water
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • 4 c kale, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp Sweet Leaf Stevia blend (or use 1 Tbs sugar)
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder (divided)
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (divided)
  • 3 T soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • 2 T lime juice (approx. juice from 1 lime)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil or coconut oil
Directions
  1. Add the quinoa and water to saucepan. Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer. (The quinoa will likely finish before the tofu and kale is done. Feel free to start the quinoa closer to the serving time if you’d like. If your quinoa finishes early, no worries. Just turn the burner off, but leave it covered, in the pan and it will stay nice and warm.)
  2. In a small prep bowl mix the stevia, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, soy sauce, and lime juice.
  3. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces, and lay it in a single layer in a non-stick skillet.
  4. Turn the burner to medium high. As the tofu cooks, press it gently with a spatula, periodically. This releases some of the water in the tofu. Check the bottom side of the tofu, and when it is browned a bit flip all of the pieces. Repeat the same gentle pressing on this side, cooking until the bottoms have also browned. This whole procedure takes about 15 minutes give or take a few minutes.
  5. When both sides of the tofu have cooked, add the sauce into the pan and stir to coat the tofu with the sauce. Keep cooking, stirring, until the sauce has thicken and formed a glaze on the tofu, about 5 minutes.Remove the tofu from the pan.
  6. Add the oil to the same skillet, followed by the kale. Toss the kale with the oil, and cook, stirring constantly until the kale has softened and wilted some. Cook shorter for crisper kale and long for softer kale (I taste test mine to gauge when it is done). Stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder.
  7. To serve, spread quinoa on each plate, and top with some of the kale and tofu.
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Black Bean Burrito Bowls

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I posted a picture of these burrito bowls in one of my Daniel Fast updates. Last week I shared my personal favorite version of Cilantro Lime Rice. Now, here’s an entire-meal application for that rice!

Black Bean Burrito Bowl 2

These burrito bowls are healthy and delicious. I’m thinking as I’m typing this that I rarely believe it when other bloggers say that same thing. A bunch of vegetables usually tastes like a bunch of vegetables. The pictures always look nice but that doesn’t mean I’m actually going to want to go chow down on a big bowl of vegetables. The difference (for me at least) between these burritos and other health foods is that they are seasoned very well. I usually love to put taco sauce and cheese on anything Mexican-ish but I wasn’t missing either of those in this bowl. The seasoned black beans and the cilantro lime rice together in one mouthful was plenty of flavor! And thinking about it, that’s why I add all the cheese and taco sauce to a regular burrito – because I’m trying to pack in more flavor.

As is, this dinner is gluten free, egg free, dairy free, soy free (I think – PLEASE correct me if I’m wrong!!), nut free, vegetarian, and vegan (again, I think – If I’m wrong let me know)! Everything in this recipe is a whole food or spice. Don’t you love knowing that you are putting real food into your body? I know I do.

My half-eaten bowl.

My half-eaten bowl.

Of course, depending on your preferences you could add any number of things to these bowls. Tomatoes or green onions, broken up tortillas chips for some crunch, shredded cheese, hot sauce, etc. You could even add lettuce for a taco salad. The options are endless!

Black Bean Burrito Bowl 1

Black Bean Burrito Bowls

Ingredients
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbs water
  • 1 c frozen corn, defrosted
  • 1 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1 recipe Cilantro Lime Rice
Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. When the oil is hot add the onion and cook until softened.
  2. While the onion is cooking, mix the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, and salt.
  3. Add the black beans into the skillet. Stir in the seasoning mix and water. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the beans are heated through.
  4. To serve, fill bowls with rice. Top with some of the black bean/onion mixture, corn, and avocado.
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