Photo via Flickr: Zoyachubby

Photo via Flickr: Zoyachubby

It’s now been over three months since I’ve adopted Meatless Mondays, and after a bit of experimentation (pasta without protein leaves me famished, eggplant parmigiana was delicious but sat like a brick in my stomach, and veggie chili was just a wee bit, um, beany to eat in social company), tofu stir-fry has become my go-to MM dinner. It’s filling, incredibly fast to prepare, and ridiculously cheap — even the “fancy” Wildwood Organics sprouted tofu I favor is under $2 a package. 

But tofu, as any wok master knows, takes a bit of care to cook properly. Without proper drainage, sufficient oil, and the right heat, it can stick to the pan like barnacles to a boat. Of course, if you’re using a nonstick pan, this isn’t an issue, but here at The Red, White, and Green we shy away from using toxic teflon (and haven’t yet made the investment in the new eco-friendly nonstick cookware). 

Luckily, I’ve discovered a super easy method of cooking tofu that doesn’t require a lot of oil, and ensures that it never sticks yet still achieves that golden brown on all sides — even if you don’t have time to drain it thoroughly. Here’s what you do:

  • Remove the block of firm or extra-firm tofu from its container, patting off as much water as possible with a paper towel or clean dish towel
  • Cut tofu into cubes or flat squares
  • Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil and a couple tablespoons of soy sauce in a large, flat pan (don’t use a wok for this) over medium-high heat
  • Add tofu and cook for several minutes on each side, until sufficiently browned

That’s it! Somehow, the addition of the soy sauce prevents the tofu from sticking. And the best part is that after you finish cooking it, you can place it on a plate, then add a bit more oil and soy sauce to the pan, turn up the heat, and flash cook whatever vegetables you want to serve over the tofu. No need to add the tofu back into the pan, either — it will stay piping hot even while you cook the veggies. 

Test it out tonight! (Try adding asparagus, Chinese eggplant, or my favorite stir-fry combo –mushrooms and onions.)

–Jennifer Grayson

More Meatless Monday posts:
Meatless Monday: Special diets
Meatless Monday: Think Mediterranean
Meatless Monday catching on worldwide
Meatless Monday includes fish?

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