Meatless Monday: Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu can be a very confusing ingredient for people who are new to eating without meat. Most people are curious about how to use tofu, but they also usually have a horror story of some awful dish they ate in the past with tofu that still haunts them. The key with tofu is to understand the different types of tofu and use them in the correct dish. I’ll break down the different tofu options and their best uses. I also have a new recipe using tofu to make a vegan fried rice. My tofu fried rice is a complete meal, full of veggies and protein. When you use leftover rice it is a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal to add to your rotation.

Tofu Fried Rice Blog Labeled

Tofu Types:

One of the confusing things about tofu is all of the texture and packaging options. There are many great guides that focus on the different textures (Super Firm, Firm, Soft, Silken) of tofu. While the labeled texture is important, I think the biggest differentiator is how the tofu is packaged.

ASEPTIC SILKEN TOFU

Tofu that is stored on the shelf in the grocery store, normally in the Asian food aisle, is packaged in an aseptic box. This tofu has a silken texture and is very soft. I use this type of tofu when I make dessert. It blends into dishes really well, but won’t hold up to stirfrying etc. Many people also use tofu stored in aseptic containers if they are using tofu as an egg replacer in baking.

Tofu Fried Rice - Mori-Nu

photo credit Mori-Nu

WATER PACKED TOFU

This is the tofu you see in the refrigerated case at most grocery stores. The tofu sits in a small tub of water. Regardless of the labeled texture, this type of tofu is going to be full of moisture. Many people like water packed tofu for scrambles, since the additional moisture keeps it from drying out. I rarely use this type of tofu because I find the texture way too mushy for my liking. If this is all you can find in your area be sure to press the tofu to remove the excess water before adding it to your dishes. Here is a quick overview on how to press tofu.

Tofu Fried Rice - Water Tofu

photo credit Wildwood Organics

VACUUM PACKED TOFU

Vacuum packed tofu is my favorite variety for making stir fries, scrambles, curries etc. This tofu is vacuum sealed with a very small amount of water. I find this tofu to have the best, most firm texture. I never need to press this kind. The brand I normally see is Wildwood Organics. It is sold at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Tofu Fried Rice - Vacuum

photo credit Wildwood Organics

To make my Tofu Fried Rice I advise using the Vacuum Packed Tofu if you can. In my dish I quickly pan fry crumbled tofu before cooking any of the veggies. By adding a little turmeric the tofu looks like the egg it is replacing in traditional fried rice.

Tofu Fried Rice - Tofu

Once the tofu is cooked and removed from the pan you can work with any veggies you like. Make sure they are cut small so they cook quickly. This Tofu Fried Rice is a great way to use up vegetable odds and ends in your refrigerator.

Tofu Fried Rice - Veggies

I like to top my rice bowl with Sriracha for a hit of spice. Skip the Sriracha and consider a sweet chili sauce if you are looking for a milder dish. The leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day.

Tofu Fried Rice 2

Tofu Fried Rice
 
Tofu fried rice is a complete meal in one bowl. A Meatless Monday favorite packed with veggies and protein.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 8 oz Tofu
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cups Broccoli Florets, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Carrots, peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup Zuchinni, shredded
  • ½ cup Scallions, sliced thin
  • 4 cups Rice, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons Tamari
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, minced
  • Sririacha, optional
Instructions
  1. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Crumble in tofu. Add in turmeric and salt. Mix until turmeric is completely combined in tofu. Saute for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Add splashes of water if needed to prevent sticking. Once tofu has cooked for 10 minutes take tofu out of the skillet and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Add remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to same skillet over medium heat. Add in ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in broccoli and 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in carrots, zucchini and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes, mixing frequently.
  3. Add rice and Tamari to the vegetable mixture. Stir until well combined. Add in tofu. Cook over Medium hit, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Serve warm, topped with cilantro and Sriracha.

 

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

As I have mentioned Harrison does not consider things that aren’t chocolate dessert. His favorite combination with chocolate is definitely peanut butter. I developed these vegan double chocolate peanut butter cookies to pack a punch of both chocolate and peanut butter flavor. They are made with cocoa powder, chocolate chips and ribbons of peanut butter.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies Labeled

When I made these last week both Trey and Harrison enjoyed sampling the dough. Trey wanted to help me develop some additional recipes and suggested I make cookies with chunks of dough in the cookie. I explained how baking worked and that he would just end up with cookies, since the dough would cook in. Undeterred he suggested that I serve these cookies as sandwiches with whipped cream. Future chef!

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

The key to these cookies is the ribbons of peanut butter running through them. I learned this technique from Dreena Burton’s Eat, Drink & Be Vegan cookbook. She has a cookie called “You Got Peanut Butter in my Chocolate Cookie”. In her recipe you use a knife to barely mix peanut butter into the chocolate cookie batter. This allows you to see and taste the peanut butter in the cookie. I recommend using cold (not softened) peanut butter when making this recipe. Soft peanut butter ends up mixing right into the dough and you lose the ribbons.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies Pan

If you are interested in making these to bring to school or an event where children may have allergies you can easily skip the peanut butter. Without the peanut butter you will have double chocolate cookies. These cookies are soft and moist, and popular with all ages.

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
 
These cookies are packed with melty chocolate chips and ribbons of peanut butter. This classic flavor combination delights all ages.
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • ¾ tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 TB ground Chia, mixed with ¼ cup Water
  • 1 TB Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • ¼ cup Peanut Butter, cold
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar together until well combined. Stir in chia/water mixture and vanilla.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients until well mixed. Mix in chocolate chips until combined.
  5. Cut in peanut butter with a knife. Do not over mix. You should see ribbons of peanut butter in the cookie dough.
  6. Roll dough into tablespoon sized balls and place on lined baking sheet. Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes.

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Vegan Potato Salad

Potato Salad is worshipped in my family. My Great-Aunts, Mary and Helen O’Malley, were known to make what we all consider the world’s best potato salad. It had a unique flavor and whenever they came to a family party with their red bowl we knew we were in luck. Sadly they have both passed on, but my Uncle John and Aunt Jane have picked up the torch. Now everyone looks to see if they have the famous red bowl when they come to family events. Fortunately they usually do! When I became vegan I asked my Aunt Jane for the recipe so I could make a vegan version. I have to say I actually prefer the vegan O’Malley potato salad. It has the same flavor I love but it isn’t quite as dense since there are no hardboiled eggs. My vegan potato salad is always a hit side dish with omnivores and vegans. Hope you give it a try for your next get together.Vegan Potato Salad Pintrest

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Meatless Monday: Quick Curried Chickpeas

Chana Masala is my favorite meal to order when I go to a new Indian restaurant. I love the spicy, complex flavors and how each restaurant’s is slightly different. I wanted to create something similar to chana masala that I could make quickly at home. The result is this 30 minute meal that is an ideal Meatless Monday option. In my version I don’t include tomatoes, because Trey does not like chunks of tomatoes. I also include coconut milk to add some healthy fat and creamy texture to the dish. I looked at many curried chickpea recipes in books and online as I created this dish. I was inspired by recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Richa Hingle and Ree Drummond. Above all I wanted this dish to be fast and flavorful. It turned out to be just that and I am thrilled to have another 30 minute meal in my repertoire.
 Quick Curried Chickpeas Labeled

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Homemade Popsicle Bonanza

I have a love hate relationship with popsicles. On one hand I like that they are normally vegan (assuming they aren’t a “creamy” variety). They don’t usually contain any common allergens like soy, dairy, gluten, or eggs. This makes them an easy treat to bring to school for the whole class to enjoy. On the other hand the majority of store bought popsicles are nothing but dyed sugar water. The fact that your tongue stays red for hours after eating a red popsicle is not a good sign for what is happening inside your body. Like most kids, Trey loves popsicles. I try to keep homemade popsicles in our freezer for him. Recently we bought a new box of popsicle molds from Tovolo. I decided to try out a few new homemade popsicle flavors. The results were tasty and have been helping us beat the summer heat.

Homemade Popsicles Pintrest

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Cooking with Kids: No-Bake Bars

Trey is very interested in helping me in the kitchen these days. Partially because he is interested in cooking and partially because he wants to be on this website. He says things like “Oh do you want to take a picture of me for your website”? I may be creating a monster. I wish I could say I was one of those great parents who always loves to have their kids with them in the kitchen. The truth is I love to be in the kitchen alone. I find cooking by myself really relaxing, and cooking with anyone else really annoying. Parent of the year! I have been making an effort to find and create recipes that Trey can easily cook with me. I saw an episode of Pioneer Woman where she made No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars, and they looked both delicious and easy. I veganized her recipe and it turned out to be my new favorite dessert. This recipe is so easy and so tasty. Trey helped me make them and he was also pleased with the results. Try making these No-Bake Bars next time you need to make a quick and easy dessert, with or without a little helper.

No-Bake Bars Labeled

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