The BEST Veggie and Tofu Stir-Fry
Updated: Apr 7
Is anyone else thinking about all the ways that they will be able to use the abundance of delicious summer vegetables that will be coming their way? With summer feeling like it’s finally on its way, it has me both excited and sad to give my remaining trays of thriving vegetables (that have been growing in my bedroom and office) their eviction notice so that they can be transplanted out into their seasonal home - the garden. Soon, we will be receiving more vegetables from the soul of our gardens into the hearts of our kitchens where we will make many meals with love - yay! If you’re interested in how you can get your vegetables from me this summer, click here!
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I’m an avid gardener and primarily a plant-based eater. I love using my own spray-free vegetables for meals during our short growing season; it gives me comfort and confidence that I know where my food comes from and that it is safe for myself and others to consume. The recipe I’m going to share with you below contains many veggies that you'll be able to get from me or at your local farmers market this season and is one of the most versatile meals ever - it’s so versatile that I wrote it quite a few times trying to find my favorite ingredient combination! You’ll find out as you read below, you can basically substitute the veggies listed in the recipe for pretty much anything you have in your refrigerator or receive from your local farmer or grocer, which is a super nice option at the end of the day when you’re tired and don’t really want to be cooking dinner anyways, or when you have some veggies that NEED to be used up!
First, Let’s Talk Tofu
About three years ago, my husband and I started eating a primarily plant-based diet. You can read more about why I went plant-based here. For the longest time I was so scared to try tofu, mainly because I had no idea what it was, and I was too lazy to educate myself. I thought, “I should be able to get everything I need from my plant-based diet with no funny stuff.” The one problem with that was that my definition of “plant-based” was extremely narrow. I thought so literally about what plant-based meant, that I actually believed that I could ONLY eat fresh fruits and vegetables that you harvest out of your garden or purchase in the store. While that’s a big part of it for me, I have now expanded my definition of what plant-based means which has also helped expand my meals!
For those of you who also don’t know, tofu is compressed soybean curd which I know sounds kind of gross, I understand, and I was definitely there with you. On the positive side, as I've cooked with it more, I’ve found that I can use extra-firm tofu as a replacement in most recipes that call for chicken. The nutritional benefits also speak for themselves, it’s a great source of protein that contains all nine essential amino acids for folks who choose to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, and for folks who are just looking to eat less meat like participating in a meatless Monday (notice that this blog post has been posted on a Monday, hmmm...that may or may not have been on purpose), or broaden their food repertoire. In addition to being an excellent plant-based source of protein, it's also a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin B1, manganese, selenium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper and zinc and and it's low in fat and calories. The Kitchn writes a fantastic article on what tofu is, how it’s made, where to find it and the best way to store it.
This is one of the first tofu recipes I made in our home where my husband and I both enthusiastically said, “YES, this is amazing!” It was also one of the first times where I felt that I could adequately and enjoyably get my protein intake; win-win! This is not to say that the many, many meals of rice and beans isn’t or wasn’t tasty or a good source of protein, it was just nice to switch up the old menu rotation! I also enjoy how versatile this recipe is. If you currently eat meat, chicken would taste delicious, and if you’ve tried tofu and decided it wasn’t for you, skip it all together. If you don't have rice ribbon noodles, substitute rice. You can add and take away ingredients as you wish, there’s really no rules here! Because it’s so tasty, this stir-fry is now cooked weekly in our household and I hope you enjoy it just as much as we do!
Also, look at all of that color, isn't it beautiful?!
You'll find that this recipe is a beautiful mixture of tangy, sweet, spicy and refreshing; is colourful, nutritious and has a hearty, stick-with-you-throughout-the-day factor.
The BEST Veggie and Tofu Stir-Fry
Makes 4 servings
Made in 30 minutes or less
Vegetarian, vegan, allows for substitutions
2 tsp fresh ginger (minced)
1 tbsp maple syrup*
1 tsp red chili flakes (add more for additional spice)
¼ cup lemon juice**
¼ cup tamari sauce***
1 tbsp corn starch
3 tbsp sesame oil, divided
1 block extra firm tofu ****
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion (sliced)
1 red bell pepper (sliced)*****
1 small head of broccoli*****
½ cup edamame, frozen and shelled
3 cups rice ribbon noodles (cooked)******
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Green onion (chopped to serve)
More red pepper flakes
*1 tbsp of honey can also be substituted.
**Substitute equal amounts of lime juice.
***Substitute equal amounts of reduced sodium soy sauce.
****Substitute cubed chicken or beef to this recipe if you’re wanting a meat option (make sure meat is fully cooked before adding the vegetables).
*****Any good cooking vegetable can be substituted here. I’ve successfully made this recipe substituting cauliflower, carrot, peppers, celery, zucchini, etc. Basically anything I have laying around in my fridge that would fit into a stir-fry.
******Substitute rice or quinoa
As with any ingredient adjustment, cooking times may vary.
Wrap the tofu in a dish towel and place a heavy plate or cast-iron pan on top. Allow to drain for 10-15 minutes. Change out towels if they get too saturated with water.
In a medium bowl, add the minced ginger, maple syrup, red chili flakes, lemon juice, tamari sauce and stir to combine. Add the corn starch, stirring again until combined then set aside.
Start to cook the rice ribbon noodles according to package directions.
Unwrap tofu from the dish towel and slice into cubes.
In a wok heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium heat.
Add the tofu and pan fry over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
Add the garlic and onion and stir until softened, about 1-2 minutes.
Add in the remaining 1 tbsp of sesame oil along with the bell pepper, broccoli and edamame and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes.
Drain the cooked noodles and set aside.
Pour the sauce made in step 2 over the vegetable stir-fry.
Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes on medium-high, stirring so that the sauce has mixed together with the vegetables and has thickened.
Remove from the heat, plate your noodles first then add stir-fried vegetables on top and last but not least, garnish.
If you have enough for left overs, take it for lunch the next day. I promise you won't regret it! My husband and I will each have one of these bowls for dinner, then take another bowl similar to this size for lunch the next day!
Did you enjoy this recipe? Comment below and tag us on Instagram so we can see what you've made! We seriously LOVE food and would be honored to see what you create in the kitchen! Do you think a friend would like it? Please consider sharing!
Take care and be kind to yourselves Root & Sprouters!