This is a plant-based, protein packed meal for you and your loved ones! Both the quinoa and tofu contain the nine essential amino acids; the red quinoa offers 6g of protein per 1/4 of a cup while the extra firm tofu has 14g per 1/5 of the tofu. But protein content aside- quinoa is a whole grain, meaning we are still eating most of the grain in it's natural form as opposed to a more processed version (think like brown rice vs white). Not only will it keep up full for longer (fiber-rich!), but because it is less processed we are still able to absorb the various nutrients present in the grain. It was recognized as one of the popular "superfoods" as it provides us with:
Manganese (some functions: help in bone formation and is a cofactor for enzymes)
Phosphorus (some functions: needed for growth and energy metabolism)
Magnesium (some functions: maintains bone health and regulates blood pressure)
Folate (some functions: prevents birth defects and helps turn Vitamin B12 to its coenzyme form)
Vitamin B1/Thiamin (some functions: needed for energy metabolism and muscle activity)
Speaking of vitamins, the carrots eaten in this meal will provide you with that famous beta-carotene, what then becomes Vitamin A in our bodies. Other than supporting our vision, it acts as antioxidant, and helps in protecting our skin from sun damage (we've been seeing it more in face creams now!).
As for Tofu- it is a more than competent substitute for animal proteins in any meal. It has more iron than other plant based options and also includes the minerals listed in the quinoa section. It additionally has calcium, copper, fiber, and polyunsaturated fats.
Whitney, E. N., & Rolfes, S. R. (2016). Ch 2 & 10. In Understanding nutrition. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
I got the tofu and quinoa from Trade Joe's, and though you could find the same items in other supermarkets, I'm not certain if they would have an organic option available. But anyways, once at hand, since the quinoa takes longer to cook, put it to cook first and then go ahead and make the tofu.
This is my sister's recipe and I did not do it justice - but it still tasted good! I didn't list all the ingredients as organic though they were just to not make it tedious to read organic so many times. And yes, you can make the recipe without using the organic option, but I'm just leaving a little reminder to buy organic whenever possible!
Serving for 3 - 4 people
1 Package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (Trader Joe's)
2 - 3 cups of Organic Red Quinoa (Trader Joe's)
Carrots to taste
3 1/2 tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1/8 cup Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Sesame Oil
1 1/2 tablespoon of Brown Sugar
Green Onions to taste
3 tablespoons of grated Ginger
2-3 Garlic Cloves
For the quinoa:
"Why is there a carrot in the quinoa section?" you may ask... because Wix has no quinoa illustrations! And we'll also be adding them to the quinoa! If you're someone that's used to eating a lot of rice, quinoa is a wonderful substitute and much better competitor to have the honor of being on your plate. I put the quantity to be around 2 - 3 cups because it depends on how much quinoa you and your family eat. But even if there are leftovers, quinoa is something delicious to later eat cold or you can heat it up once again.
In the container you will cook your quinoa, place your desired amount, and wash it 3 times. Mixing thoroughly each time, draining the water and replacing it to mix the quinoa again, until you've done so 3 times.
Wash and cut the carrots into chunky pieces to your liking.
Whether using a rice cooker or the stove top, add a "drizzle" of avocado oil, the amount of salt you like, and the carrots.
Add twice the amount of water than cups of quinoa used.
If using a rice cooker, select the brown rice option and wait until done.
If using the stove top set the heat to medium and let the quinoa cook until all the water is absorbed. You can test it by scraping a nonstick spatula along the bottom and see if any water collects.
For the tofu:
The secret to tofu is how you season it. It's taste relies just on what you cook it with and what you're adding. If not it tends to be pretty bland. When I first started eating it when I was a teen I actually didn't even know it could be cooked and used to eat it straight out of the package! THANKFULLY then I realized there are so many ways to cook it and it opened me up to one more world of flavor!
Make a small incision into the tofu package to drain out the liquid
Take out the tofu from the package and place on a "dinner/flat" plate with two paper towels
Layer two more paper towels on top of the tofu and one more "flat" plate to squeeze more liquid out of it. You can also use a pan, container, skillet - anything to add some pressure on top.
Let the tofu sit until the towels are soaked. It usually takes around 3 minutes, but whenever they can't hold anymore liquid, change them and place two-four more paper towels on the bottom and top.
*If the tofu is extra firm then it should already contain a smaller quantity of water than in other tofus. The more water, the more paper towels will have to be used.
Place the plate back on top and wait around 5 – 10 min. or until the towels are soaked. If there still seems to be lots of water in the tofu, repeat the towel process again. If not, move on to the next step.
Cut the tofu into cubes. First slice the tofu horizontally in half, leave the pieces stacked as they were when it was whole and then just vertically and horizontally cut the tofu form the top to make cubes of your desired size.
Get avocado oil, shake before using, and drizzle on a nonstick pan.
*As I say in all my blogs, avocado oil is the best to use when cooking with heat, but olive oil is a good second option.
Turn on the stove top to medium heat and put the tofu in pan.
From time to time lightly mix the tofu around with a nonstick spatula (so as to not break the tofu) to make sure it doesn't burn and both sides cook evenly until golden.
Waiting for the tofu to brown takes a little while so you can take your up your time with a dance session while you grab the ingredients for the sauce.
For the Sauce:
Once the tofu starts to lightly brown, we'll first start mixing the liquid ingredients and then get to cutting. We'll leave the garlic and ginger as the last things to cut so they wait less time to be cooked and don't oxidize in the meantime. And if by any chance the tofu starts to cook too quickly and you aren't done with the sauce, just lower the heat. But the crispier you want the tofu the longer you should let it brown. Mine didn't come out crispy because I didn't leave it browning for a long time.
Shake all the bottles of liquids (apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil) right before use and place the recommended recipe portions in a small bowl. Mix all together.
Then add the brown sugar into the bowl with the liquids and mix until the sugar has dissolved.
Next cut the roots of the green onion and cut the remainder of the onion into small pieces. Set aside.
Grab a nice size of ginger (this is going to depend on your affinity of ginger haha), peel it and then grate it. Set aside with the green onion.
*I did it by eye and had 3 tablespoons of ginger, so you can grate it, see if you have that same amount and if not you can grate some more ginger, or if you went too high and like ginger it's no problem. Remember it has anti-inflammatory properties so having a little more isn't bad!
Place the garlic cloves underneath the blade of your knife (not to cut them, the blade should be horizontal), apply some pressure and crunch them under. This opens the clove and will allow you to peel the garlic. Once peeled, dice them.
*I literally cut garlic any which way that will get me the smallest pieces. So when I say dice - I just mean cut how you must to get them remotely diced.
Add the dry ingredients to the tofu. Mix everything together.
Leave the tofu cooking until the garlic lightly browns
Then add in the liquids. Put in a few cubes of tofu into the liquids' container to get any remnants, and then put them back in with the others.
For around 2 minutes keep mixing the tofu and then turn off the heat.
Let me know if you tried the recipe and your thoughts!
Keeping it plant-based and simple,