This dish makes a delightful lunch or dinner during the summer months when bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil are in their prime. Feel free to add other fresh herbs and veggies you have on hand, and also feel free to make your own tofu if you so desire and have the time to do it! (If you want to see step-by-step instructional tutorial on how to do this, go here.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4-6 servings
- 3 T. olive oil, divided
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 pound extra firm tofu (NOT SILKEN), pressed and chopped into 1/2" cubes
- Salt, to taste
- 1 T. minced garlic
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
- 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 5 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup roughly chopped kale
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2/3 cup raw pine nuts (optional)
- Pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine 2 T. of the olive oil and the lemon juice. Set aside.
2. In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 T. of the olive oil over high heat, swirling the pan to coat it evenly. Add the tofu cubes and season lightly with salt. Turn down the heat to medium and cook for several minutes, flipping the tofu periodically to ensure even browning, until the tofu cubes are golden brown on all sides.
3. Add the garlic and the shallot to the pan, and cook for just about one minute, or until the garlic is lightly fragrant. Add the bell peppers and cherry tomatoes and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes longer, or until the skins on the cherry tomatoes just begin to wither and blacken. Add the quinoa, kale, and basil. Stir in the the lemon-olive oil mixture, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes longer, scooping up the quinoa and vegetables from the bottom of the pan to ensure even cooking. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the pine nuts if using. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
A NOTE ON STIR-FRIES:
Stir-fries are one of those dishes that seem to pop up frequently in the home of every vegan, vegetarian, and dairy-freer that I know, and with good reason: stir-fries don't require dairy ingredients or animal ingredients to be amazing. Over the years, I've had my share of bad ones and good ones (and I've made my share of both, too). The main problems that new cooks encounter when making a stir-fry has to do with two things: the heat of the pan and the amount of oil. If you've ever had a greasy, lack-luster stir-fry, it's probably because 1.) the pan wasn't hot enough at the get-go, 2.) instead of adding ingredients gradually based on their water-content and on how quickly they cook, the ingredients were added all at once and 3.) when everything started to dry out or burn, the cook just added in a ton of oil to try to compensate.
The way to make sure these things don't happen is really just a matter of being organized and patient: