January seems to have a way of bringing out all things new, doesn’t it? Many gain new perspectives, resolutions and goals. If you’re like most of the rest of us, one of those goals is to lose weight and eat healthy. One problem I have with healthy food is it tends to lack a certain degree of flavor, am I right or amiright?
Well, not anymore. I’m here today with a new and different (yet healthy!) recipe for you. This meal is a staple in my home. Think soy sauce, fresh veggies and protein all tossed in a bowl of health.
So don’t let me lose you with this next statement, because I promise it’ll be worth it in the end.
My family is vegan.
(I know. Crazy, right? Vegans living in the Barbeque Capitol of the World… and not even in trendy Midtown, but the suburbs.)
Our version of this meal calls for tofu as the “meat.” However, you are welcome to substitute with chicken, or just omit completely if you aren’t so down with tofu. This recipe is great both with and without it. Though I recommend you give the tofu a shot. The way we cook it in our family makes it more of a tofu-y chicken nugget in texture. (“Tastes just like chicken…”)
Full disclosure: I had the hardest time titling this recipe. It is so versatile and our family changes it up a little every time we make it. So feel free to add whatever veggies you’d like, swap spinach with kale, use both, switch quinoa for rice, and so on. This recipe is a basic guide, so feel free to get creative!
What You’ll Need:
- 1.5 cups of quinoa
- 3 cups of water
- 1 extra firm block of tofu
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- garlic powder
- chili powder
- 2 tablespoons of coconut (or vegetable) oil
- 1 lbs container of pre-washed fresh spinach and/or 1 bushel of kale (de-veined and chopped into small pieces)
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 3 tsp of lime juice or 1 lime, squeezed
Fresh Veggie Salsa:
- 10 ounce container of cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1/2 red onion chopped and diced
- 1 large cucumber diced
- 5-7 small sweet peppers (red, orange and yellow), or 1-2 large sweet peppers
- 10 ounces of light sodium soy sauce
Additional Toppings (optional):
- cilantro leaves, no stems
- chopped jalapeño
- Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Fried garlic (thinly sliced)
*This recipe is best according to preference. Adjust amount of veggies and seasoning according to your family’s preference.
**For an even healthier option, omit or lower oil, salt and soy sauce amounts throughout recipe.
What To Do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cook quinoa and water according to package directions and set aside.
- Drain tofu of water, then press a paper towel on all sides to remove excess moisture. Cut tofu block into bite sizes cubes. Spread out across baking sheet (I recommend using parchment paper instead of oiling the pan because cleaning pans is for the birds) and use a pastry brush to lightly coat top of tofu. (You could do this liberally, however, if you are cutting your oil intake, I recommend just a light coat.) Season to taste with a pinch of salt, black pepper, garlic powder and chili powder. Place baking sheet in preheated oven. Remove after 10-12 minutes and flip tofu pieces over and add more seasoning to other side. Place back in oven for another 10-12 minutes. (*time can be adjusted to less or more dependent on if you prefer a softer or crispier tofu.)
- While tofu is baking, begin to prepare spinach and/or kale. (*If using spinach, note it will cook down quite a bit. My family often adds additional kale.) Over medium-low heat, add coconut or vegetable oil to a skillet. When hot, add spinach/kale. If doing a combination of the two, place kale in skillet first for 1-2 minutes, then add spinach. Add minced garlic and squeeze lime juice over greens. Sauté until greens are fully cooked and a bright green.
- While greens are sautéing, wash and chop all remaining vegetables into small pieces and place into a large bowl. If you prefer a strong flavor of soy sauce, pour 10 ounces of of soy sauce over veggies and marinade. For less soy flavor, use soy sauce as directed in step six.
- Layer spoonful of quinoa, spinach/kale, veggies and tofu into a serving bowl. Add any additional soy sauce to taste, optional toppings and serve.