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.

 

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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Meatless Monday: Vegan Pasta Salad

As a vegan when you are invited to parties and BBQ’s the item you bring will often be the only item you eat. I’ve learned the hard way that bringing only a dessert backfires since you won’t have anything to eat for dinner. I like to volunteer to bring a salad and a dessert to parties. I developed this vegan pasta salad to work both as a complete meal for vegans and as a side dish for other guests. The pasta salad includes sautéed Field Roast sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and parsley.  The Field Roast and vegetables are tossed with a short-cut pasta and a tangy vinaigrette. Make this at home for a Meatless Monday summer entree or bring it to a party to share.

Vegan Pasta Salad

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Meatless Monday: Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl

I am thrilled to join the Meatless Monday team of bloggers. Meatless Monday is a movement that started in 2003 and encourages people to give up meat 1 day a week. I love the idea of encouraging people to become more aware of how what they eat affects their bodies, the environment and animals. The idea of going vegan or vegetarian is overwhelming for many people. A movement like Meatless Monday shows people they can change their eating habits without feeling deprived. Hopefully they feel good eating vegetarian food and they start to incorporate more and more animal-free meals into their diet.

We moved to our suburban area from a larger city almost 2 years ago and while we love most things about it, we do miss the food options in the city. Last year a new small chain restaurant, Spice Kit, opened up nearby and thankfully it is delicious. They offer lots of options for every style of eater (paleo, gluten free, vegan, omni etc). My favorite item is their Vietnamese bowl with tofu. The tofu is marinated in a sweet and spicy soy sauce. The bowl is served with white rice, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro and chopped peanuts. I decided to recreate my own version that I could enjoy at home. This spicy tofu rice bowl was a huge hit with Trey and Harrison and makes a great Meatless Monday meal.

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl Pintrest

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