Tofu with Butternut Squash Noodles, Kale, Black Beans & Peanut Sauce

It’s taken a long time to really enjoy tofu, but finally, we’re converts. Tofu should never be thought of as a meat or poultry substitute. It stands on its own. If cooked correctly and creatively it’s really delicious. And, like anything else, a good sauce enhances. I’ve been experimenting for a long time, and finally have created two tofu recipes that can be shared. This is the first. ©Joyce Hays

 

Tofu & Veggie Ingredients

1 red onion, chopped

10 garlic cloves, sliced

2 packs of firm silken tofu, cut into small (3/4“) bite-size squares. Put tofu in the freezer the night before and thaw the next day before cooking.

 

Cutting the tofu after it thaws. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

1 box cremini or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned with damp cloth, then sliced

1 handful of Kale or baby spinach (wash spinach 3 times), washed well, drained, dried, chopped

Sesame oil for cooking tofu

2 eggs, beaten, for cooking tofu

2 Tablespoons Panko small size, for cooking tofu

1 box of butternut squash noodles or make your own spirals

1/2 to 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

 

Easy to find ingredients. Use either kale or spinach. We’ve tried both and each is good. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

Directions For Tofu and Veggies

 

Dip each small piece of tofu into egg, then panko and cook in sesame oil on each side for 2 minutes in a wok or skillet, Cook each side of tofu ONLY ONCE.

 

Dip each piece of tofu in beaten egg, then in Panko (smallest size) ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

Then with tongs, (and a very narrow spatula) turn each nugget of tofu to another side and cook for 2 minutes. Do this turning two more times until each nugget is cooked on all four sides. Do not go back and re-cook any side, or the crispy outside will start to crumble away. You want to try to get each piece of tofu nice and brown and crisp on the outside. When done, drain on paper towel on a plate and set aside.

 

Cooking the tofu in sesame oil. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

In the same skillet, saute over medium flame, the onion and garlic, until both turn golden. Next add the squash noodles, black beans and kale and mix all the veggies together. When the kale has wilted down, the veggies are done. Set aside and concentrate on the peanut sauce.

 

Veggies have been cooked, put into baking/serving dish and tossed with peanut sauce. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Directions For Peanut Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a small bowl add 1 or 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, and let 10 fresh garlic cloves, sit in the oil for 10 to 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the garlic and put on a baking sheet. Roast in oven until soft; then remove and allow to cool down.

Save the sesame oil for cooking the tofu cubes.

 

First, when I used a food processor, it was harder to judge the quality of the sauce, which was way too thick, like lumpy. I had to add 5 Tablespoons of rice vinegar and pulsed; still too thick, so I added, slowly, 1/2 cup of cold water. The photo above is after adding the extra liquid, while pulsing. Eventually, I got it right, but whisking this sauce in a bowl the second time, was easier. Scroll down for the peanut sauce recipe. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

  

Final Serving Veggie Combo Directions

Put the veggie combo of: squash noodles, kale, beans into a large serving (baking dish). Add half of the peanut sauce and toss the veggies with the sauce until everything is well mixed.

Add the cooked tofu on top of the mixed noodles and black beans.

Using a small spatula, scrape the other half, of the sauce out of your bowl or the food processor, and over the tofu.

Warm in the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven. Keep your eye on this recipe after 5 minutes, and remove it when you feel it’s nice and warm to serve.

Consider serving with rice, pasta, polenta

 

Homemade Peanut Sauce (easy)

Ingredients

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 teaspoon curry

1 pinch chili flakes

1/2 cup water

1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled, grated, or very well minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic, very well minced

1 teaspoon rice vinegar (don’t substitute white vinegar; it’s too strong; whereas the rice vinegar has a more delicate flavor that blends will with the other ingredients.

 

Directions

In a medium serving bowl, combine all of the above ingredients: peanut butter, water, soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, minced garlic, and vinegar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

If you feel that the sauce is too thick, slowly add more of either rice vinegar, or plain water, whisking as you add, until you get the consistency you want.

I suppose you could put everything into a food processor, but then you have to wash that out. I’ve done both, and the hand whisk was easier and less work. Your choice.

 

The end result was delicious, healthy and relatively easy. I’m working on another tofu recipe next week. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

Our custom seems to be, when we find a new wine we both like, we drink it endlessly, until we run into some other wine adventure. We’ve gone through two cases of The Vice, but we’re still enjoying it, so will order two more. ©Joyce Hays, Target Health Inc.

 

We went with our house guests to the B’way show, The Band’s Visit. The dialogue was in English, Hebrew and Arabic and so was the music. For us, this alone, was reason enough to go. The plot sounds simple (An Egyptian Band with a concert date in Israel, gets lost and ends up in the wrong Israeli town), however, it’s as simple as life itself, not.

 

This show opened last year, at one of the theater clubs we sponsor, The Atlantic Theater Company in Chelsea. After it overwhelmed audiences there in 2017, it moved uptown to the Barrymore in 2018, to rave reviews. We urge you to go. You might be interested in reading the reviews of the New York Times.

 

Have a great week everyone!

From Our Table to Yours

 

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