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

I marinated the tofu in a sweet and spicy tamari mixture. The mixture included tamari, Sweet Chili Sauce from Sky Valley and sesame oil. Sky Valley sauces are a great item to add to your pantry. They are very flavorful and aren’t full of lots of chemical ingredients.  I cubed the tofu, added it to a large plastic bag and poured the mixture over the tofu. I let it marinate for 5 hours, although I think an hour or two would be fine. You can definitely add the marinade to a bowl if you want to skip the plastic bag. Be sure to use a firm or extra firm tofu found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, versus the kind in an aseptic container on the shelf. My favorite type is the Wildwood brand vacuum packed tofu.

Spicy Tofu Bowl Marinade

My favorite thing about the vegetables at Spice Kit is that they are tossed in vinegar. I use a grater to julienne the carrots and cucumbers. You can cut them by hand if you don’t have a mandoline. I wouldn’t recommend using a regular grater for the cucumber as it will become mushy. I put the carrots and the cucumbers each in their own bowl and added seasoned rice wine vinegar to each bowl. It gives the vegetables an excellent flavor punch.

I cooked the tofu in a hot cast iron skillet to get a nice crisp on the the cubes. After the tofu cooked for about 10 minutes I poured the marinade over the tofu and tossed it a few times in the hot pan. This gave the tofu a nice coating of flavorful sauce.

Spicy Tofu Bowl

To assemble the bowls I added 1/2 cup rice to each bowl, then 1/4 cup of tofu and a handful of both the carrots and the cucumbers. I topped each bowl with minced cilantro and mint, as well as crushed peanuts and Sky Valley Sriracha. I prepped most of this meal earlier in the day so all I had to do at dinner was warm the rice, cook the tofu and assemble the bowls. Try this spicy tofu rice bowl for your family on Meatless Monday, or any day of the week.

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl
 
Spicy tofu rice bowl full of marinated veggies, fresh herbs and topped with crushed peanuts and sriracha sauce.
Ingredients
  • Tofu:
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • ¼ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons Sky Valley Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1 16 oz Package of Tofu, cubed
  • Bowls
  • 2 cups julienned carrots
  • 2 cups julienned cucumber
  • 3 Tablespoons Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame or Canola Oil
  • 3 cups White Rice, cooked
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Mint, minced
  • ¼ cup Peanuts, chopped
  • Sriracha Sauce, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix together all of the tofu ingredients, except the tofu itself, in a bowl or plastic bag. Add tofu to marinade mixture and set aside. Tofu should marinate for at least 1 hour, and up to 8 hours.
  2. Place julienned carrots and julienned cucumbers into 2 separate bowls. Add 2 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar to the bowl of carrots and toss to coat with the vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon if rice wine vinegar to the bowl with the cucumbers and toss to coat. Set aside for 1+ hour.
  3. COOK TOFU: Add 1 Tablespoon of sesame or canola oil to cast iron or non stick skillet over medium high heat. Place marinated tofu in pan (Save marinade!). Cook tofu in the pan for 10 minutes until browned. Toss tofu every 2 minutes or so to brown on most sides. Once browned pour the marinade over the tofu and cook for 1 additional minute, until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to assemble bowls.
  4. ASSEMBLY: Place ½ cup white rice in each bowl. To each bowl add ¼ cup each of tofu, carrots and cucumbers. Top with cilantro, mint and peanuts. Drizzle with sriracha, if using. Serve!

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