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Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

In this 30-minute dish, which is inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's recipe in his 2011 book Plenty, black pepper is the star, not the sidekick: When bloomed in oil, the coarsely ground peppercorns become piquant and fragrant enough to flavor the entire sauce, no red pepper flakes, dried chiles, or hot sauce needed. Take care not to burn the peppercorns as you toast them or the flavor could swing from spicy to bitter.

Ingredients

  • 1 14-oz. package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 1½" piece ginger, peeled
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1½" pieces
  • 1 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Cooked white or brown rice (for serving)

Recipe Preparation

  • Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place in a shallow baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Weigh down with a heavy object (a cast-iron skillet topped with a couple of heavy cans works well). Let sit at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour (go the full time if you can).

  • Meanwhile, coarsely crack peppercorns in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle (you can use a chef’s knife or a very heavy object, although be prepared for some peppercorns to fly!); set aside. Finely grate garlic and ginger into a small bowl; set aside.

  • Unwrap tofu and cut into 1" cubes. Transfer tofu to a medium bowl. Add cornstarch and salt and toss gently to coat tofu.

  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Arrange tofu in skillet in a single layer and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp all over, 6–8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate or baking sheet.

  • Reduce heat to medium and add reserved cracked pepper to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add asparagus and cook, stirring often, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add reserved garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  • Return tofu to pan and gently toss to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, add soy sauce and sugar, and cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Taste and add more salt and/or vinegar if needed.

  • To serve, divide rice among plates and top with tofu mixture.

Reviews Sectionthank you for teaching me a technique for frying tofu that turned out BEAUTIFULLY -- FINALLY!! this sauce slaps y'all you should hit it. so easy! wouldn't say this is a 30-min meal but it comes together quickly. maybe I can do better on my time next time I make it. next time I'm just going to dump the peppercorns in the blender for a sec, I spent a lot of time and frustration accidentally spilling peppercorns all over my dang kitchen with my makeshift mortar and pestle...jahgurlremyPortland, or08/13/20This recipe changed my opinion on tofu! The sauce is so delicious and the tofu came out perfectly. I think any veg would work pretty well here. We swapped asparagus for zucchini because it was what we had on hand and it was delicious. SUPER easy and came together quickly. Would definitely make again for a weeknight meal!eakelinWashington, D.C. 08/12/20YUM. Only thing to note is that the soy sauce obv has a lot of sodium, so no additional salt needed.Awesome! We subbed Chx Thigh for the tofu. Started cold pan skin side down and finished the chx in the oven then we proceeded with the recipe. I will agree with the other comments of it being salty. We added extra sugar and a little over a tsp of the rice vinegar and it was so good!natellis1235632San Diego07/15/20Outstanding! We used tamari instead of soy sauce. And we substituted green beans for asparagus and used garlic-infused olive oil instead of grated garlic because one of us has FODMAP sensitivities. Perfect contrast of sweet, salt, sour, and spicy flavors.Turned out great thanks to reviewers advice. I used 3 garlics, haricot vert, grapeseed oil, low sodium soy with extra water, and 3 tbs cornstarch to coat the tofu. Came out crispy and delicious!AnonymousCalifornia 07/01/20Followed recipe to a tee and it come out too salty as others have mentioned, even on a 4oz bed of rice. Nice flavors though. To note, I used Whole Foods brand regular shoyu soy sauce. Reduced soidum would be better imo.SpaghettiCatDana Point, CA06/27/20Wow! This was easy, fast, only used one pan, and turned out beautifully. Doubled the garlic per other reviews, and added some grape tomatoes to the pan when adding the asparagus (summer=tomatoes in everything). The little extra hit of acid was great. I’d try it again with other sturdy veggies...broccoli comes to mind. A+yagurlcarlyTucson, AZ06/19/20This was delicious. My partner (and I too a much lesser extent) felt it was too spicy and too salty, so I will probably make it with a teaspoon less peppercorn and reduced sodium soy sauce next time. Definitely agree on doubling the garlic.AnonymousDenton, TX06/18/20So delicious. Highly recommend this recipe!Great flavors but next time I'd probably go more of a Filipino adobo route by at least doubling the garlic and going much heavier on the vinegar. I like black pepper but not THAT much so I'll also go for 1/2 to 3/4 tbsp. And yeah, different soy sauces can vary wildly in saltiness. 1/3 cup of mine came out a bit too salty for me. I recommend using a low sodium soy sauce.Loved it! Simple and delicious. Added mushrooms because we had some and they worked perfectly.Do your future self a favour and double the recipe. Or triple it.Sarah Jampel... between this, the buckwheat cookies, and the no-knead focaccia... I think I might be in love with you.This is phenomenal. Loaded with flavor, the crispy tofu and asparagus make for a nice contrast with the intense pepper and the salty-sweet soy sauce. I probably added a little less than a 1/3 cup of soy sauce, though I didn't really measure. Would most certainly make this again.rfadamSeattle, WA05/30/20This recipe was so quick to prepare and extremely delicious! If you have a sensitive spice palette (like myself) maybe opt for 3/4 Tbsp or pepper or less because the finished product was SUPER spicy to me...but then again, I don’t handle spice very well.Extremely delicious and would cook again!!AnonymousDallas, TX05/30/20i don't really like tofu, but had some leftover from an other recipe and thought this might be a good way to use it up. woohoo! this made me love tofu! i added a little sliced almonds at the end for a little more crunch. tonight i made the recipe subbing shrimp for the tofu, and sugar snap peas for the asparagus, and it was another winner.wildfreshntastyLos Angeles05/28/20Delicious! Quick and easy to make - this will be going into my regular rotation.AnonymousHouston, TX05/27/20Amaizing, I also added red pepper flakes to the black pepper and my kids loved it! Thank you!!I've been using bone apple tea recipes for years but this one was so good I had to leave my first review. Definitely going to make again, I have extremely picky roommates and it was a crowd-pleaser.AnastasiyaDCanada05/25/20This recipe is so simple, yet so delightful. We fried our tofu in leftover bacon fat (will be my new default). If I make this again, like other commenters I would either use reduced sodium soy or use less as a whole. The sauce was quite salty. Added a little sour cream to cut the saltines, which helped, but definitely affected the overall dish.fruityrebblesAustin, TX05/25/20This was delicious! I used broccoli instead of asparagus and it was fantastic. That being said I absolutely hate frying tofu and will probably find a different cooking method for next time. Both this recipe and the maple-soy glazed tofu have been delicious! You may be skeptical of the amount of pepper but I may even add more next time. Delicious thank you BA!dhall67116Washington05/22/20Nice flavor. The bloomed pepper was warm and lovely.cbruettSalt Lake City, Utah05/21/20This was fabulous -- leaving us with perfectly cooked tofu and a super peppery, flavorful stir fry. Will definitely make again. Thank you!AnonymousNew York, NY05/21/20Used vegetable oil instead of olive so it wouldn't burn as easily when cooking the tofu on high heat and it turned out great. Definitely didn't have a problem with the amount of sodium.

Sneakyguacamole

Holy moly this is *chef’s kiss,* via Bon Appetit.

    Wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel and place in a shallow baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Weigh down with a heavy object (a cast-iron skillet topped with a couple of heavy cans works well). Let sit at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour (go the full time if you can).

Meanwhile, coarsely crack peppercorns in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle (you can use a chef’s knife or a very heavy object, although be prepared for some peppercorns to fly!) set aside. Finely grate garlic and ginger into a small bowl set aside.

Unwrap tofu and cut into 1″ cubes. Transfer tofu to a medium bowl. Add cornstarch and salt and toss gently to coat tofu.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Arrange tofu in skillet in a single layer and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp all over, 6–8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate or baking sheet.

Reduce heat to medium and add reserved cracked pepper to skillet. Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add asparagus and cook, stirring often, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add reserved garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Return tofu to pan and gently toss to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, add soy sauce and sugar, and cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar. Taste and add more salt and/or vinegar if needed.


If you have never cooked with tofu before it’s important to know that you have to press out as much water as you can from the block. This helps the tofu take on more of the sauce and crisp up at the edges.

Once you take out the tofu from the packaging, pat it dry with a paper towel. Then place a heavy pot on top of it to push the water out.

I cook with tofu so often that I recently bought a tofu press. It wasn’t a huge investment, and mine has a reservoir to hold the water, which is very convenient.

When you are finished pressing the tofu, cut it into 1-inch cubes.


Miso brown butter X black pepper tofu

To press tofu: Place tofu in between two plates with a heavy object on top of top plate.

2. Drain water from tofu. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.

Cut tofu “hamburger style” first. Then cut the sliced block into quarters and then sixteenths. You’ll get 32 1-inch squares.

3. Generously coat tofu cubes in cornstarch on all sides.

4. On medium heat, add neutral oil. Once oil is glossy, add tofu to pan.

In order to get crispy sides, do not touch tofu while it is frying on its first side (

4 minutes). Once golden on the first side, flip tofu. Continue flipping until all sides are golden. As the amount of oil decreases in the pan and the pan gets hotter, you will find that each consecutive side will brown faster (i.e., you will not need to wait 4 minutes per side but perhaps just a couple minutes per side). Lower heat as needed. Do not stray away from the pan.

5. Once tofu is golden on all sides, remove from pan and set aside.

6. On low heat, add the compound butter into the same pan.

In small bowl, mix together vegan butter and white miso until homogenized into a compound butter.

7. If you are using a vegetable oil based vegan butter, melt butter completely on low heat.

If you are using dairy butter or a coconut and cashew based vegan butter, brown the butter.

To brown butter: On low heat, the butter will froth. After the butter has completed frothing, the butter has browned.

8. Add black pepper. Heat for 1-2 minutes. At this point, the pan should become aromatic. (Do not burn the pepper. Burnt pepper will taste bitter.)

9. Add alliums (onions & garlic), ginger, and sugar. Cook until almost translucent.

10. Add tougher greens (e.g, broccolini, asparagus, bok choy, sugar peas, etc.). Cook until tender.

11. Add tender greens (e.g., kale, spinach, peas, etc.). Cook for 1 minute.

12. Add rice wine vinegar to deglaze pan.

To deglaze the pan: use the vinegar to loosen any dark or caramelized bits stuck to the pan into the sauce.

13. Turn off and take off heat. Mix crispy tofu into the pan until just evenly coated.

Do not overmix. If overmixed, crispy tofu will become soggy.

14. Serve immediately for crispiest tofu. Garnish with scallions and/or sesame seeds. Voila—fermented beans x2 and greens!

Non-negotiables:

Miso, obviously. It’s in the name of the dish. Miso is only source of salt in the dish. It also gives the sauce an irreplaceable nuttiness.

Freshly ground black pepper. None of that pre-ground stuff.

Try experimenting with:

Vegan butter - You’ll see in tests #3 and #4 that I experimented with Miyokos and Earth Balance, respectively. I wanted to test which two of the most popular vegan butters preserved flavor and sauteed vegetables better. The two are made from vastly different compositions. Miyokos is a cultured cashew and coconut blend while Earth Balance is a vegetable oil blend. Because vegetable oils have a higher smoke point, Earth Balance theoretically should work better over the stove. In tests #3 and #4, I found pros and cons to both. Miyokos preserved more of a buttery flavor. Miyokos also browns, adding to the miso’s nuttiness but also evaporating much of the initial liquid (i.e., water content). Earth Balance offered a saucier coating on all the vegetables, but the sauce was greasier. I preferred Miyokos, but Earth Balance or any other vegetable-oil blend is not a deal-breaker.

Greens - You’ll read in the tests that I tried a variety of vegetables. Pick any pairing of hearty and tender greens that is in season!

If you must, you can substitute cornstarch for white/brown rice flour. Rice flour does burn more easily though. But I would advise entirely against AP flour. For the crispiest tofu, you’ll want a flour that has a high starch:protein ratio. During cooking, starch wards off water while protein holds onto water.

Recipe Development:

Test #0:Before the fall of B*n App*t*t (and in my third phase of quarantine ), I tried a BA Healthyish “Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus” recipe by Sarah Jampel. I was attracted to the recipe because the recipe uses all pantry ingredients. True to its name, the recipe also only uses black peppercorns as its source of spiciness—no fresh or dried chiles.

What I did right: spice level, followed simple recipe with no subs

Needs Improvement: Too much soy sauce. The crispy tofu went soggy after mixing in sauce for too long

Test #1: In mid-August, I figured out that you could rent e-cookbooks from the public library, and I proceeded to binge cook Yotam Ottolenghi recipes. One of Ottolenghi’s most praised Plenty recipes is his “Black pepper tofu,” which he touts, “looks as if it’s been prepared at a top Chinese restaurant.” Bless Otto’s soul, but if Plenty ever runs a second edition, it needs to be re-edited for today’s standards of more conscious food writing.

Jampel actually refers to Ottolenghi’s black pepper tofu recipe, and I understand her wish to simplify the recipe. In classic Otto fashion, he calls for three types of soy sauce (I did not know there were different types of soy sauce), an absurd number of shallots (12?!), fresh red chiles, and a whopping 5 tbsp of black peppercorns (compared to Jampel’s 1 tbsp). Jampel’s instructions also develop a very different flavor profile than Ottolenghi’s. Jampel instructs to add black pepper first in oil so that it blooms. Ottolenghi adds black pepper as the last ingredient before the tofu to the pan.

I already finished frying the tofu when I finally took the time to read through Otto’s full directions. I looked at the sorry lack of alliums and chiles in my kitchen. But I saw the small tub of white miso on the top shelf, and my two brain cells synapsed: miso butter. Miso butter sounded like a compound I had read before, stored away in the recesses of my memory. A 2:1 ratio should work, right?

I’ve always been intrigued by the popular method of pressing and freezing tofu before cooking. I believe the idea is to draw out the water, so that the tofu soaks up a new marinade instead. I thought perhaps this method would reward me with more crispy tofu as well. No, it didn’t. Pressed, frozen, and then fried tofu is not significantly crispier and instead just denser. I prefer my tofu fluffy (thank you very much).

I wasn’t planning to develop this recipe, but an Instagram poll got a resounding 74 “yes” votes. Numerous people also told me that this recipe was their dream dish. OK, I cook to please.

What I did right: crispy tofu 2:1 ratio of butter:miso (later I checked a NYT cooking recipe, and they also abide by a 2:1 ratio)

Needs Improvement: Do not freeze tofu. Instead of just throwing miso and butter into the pan separately, I decided to make a compound butter next time. Dark soy sauce completely overpowered the miso: exclude soy sauce. Per Otto’s instructions, I threw in the black pepper at the very end: as a result, the black pepper flavors are more raw than smoky.

You can tell that the sauce is much lighter in color in Test #2 and onwards since I removed the soy sauce.

Test #2:I decided to go back and riff off the BA recipe. I liked the intentionality and deeper flavors behind blooming the black pepper in the oil first. I left out soy sauce entirely this time, hoping the miso’s saltiness would carry the dish. I also halved the black pepper, not so as to tone down the spice level but so as to let the miso shine stronger. Also, I do not own a mortar and pestle, so I have to hand crank the fresh pepper grounds. In an effort to save 10 years of my wrist from carpal tunnel, I lessened the amount of black pepper. I doubled the amount of garlic, as one does with all white people recipes.

What I did right: I could taste the miso this time! Pepper level was just right. Broccolini reminded me of more traditional Chinese broccoli dishes.

Needs Improvement: It needs to be saucier (double miso and butter next time). I forgot to add alliums!

Test #3:I doubled the miso butter this time. I also added the alliums back in to let their cooked sweetness play with the salty miso. In a weekday rush, I forgot the ginger this time: it wasn’t too noticeable.

What I did right: Definitely saucier, but the more tender greens (kale) overcooked and took up all the sauce.

Needs Improvement: Next time, throw more tender greens in for only a minute before the tofu to prevent overcooking and soaking up all the sauce. At this point, it also dawned on me that there are two types of vegan butters, and I needed to try a vegan butter with a vegetable oil blend. @umamimolly also suggested I try that a hydrogenated vegetable oil non-dairy butter (i.e., Earth Balance) for high heat cooking (and agreed frozen tofu is gross).

Test #4:I tried Earth Balance. Earth Balance doesn’t froth and brown because it doesn’t have the same water content as Miyokos. But because no browning (i.e., there was no water/liquid to evaporate), there was more sauce to cook and coat the vegetables more evenly. The lack of browned butter was noticeable, but I also forgot to add sugar (which may have been a confounding variable).

What I did right: Added back in ginger

Needs Improvement: It definitely needs the sugar. To decrease greasiness, use 3 tbsp of Earth Balance instead of 4 tbsp.

Test #5: I asked my good friend Kirthi, @cookingwithkirthi, to test out the recipe. For the umpteenth time, I will confess that I don’t trust my own taste buds. (It’s the constipated inner child who craves validation for me.) Kirthi cooked the dish for her family and FaceTimed me in to their Sunday dinner table.

Kirthi’s thoughts: She thought the saltiness of the miso, spiciness of black pepper, sweetness from white sugar, and tang from the rice wine vinegar formed a well-rounded sauce. Her father was very interested by the deglazing process and crispiness of the tofu. I loved Kirthi’s addition of using bok choy as greens. Her only suggestion for improvement was that the dish could be saucier however, she admitted at she eyeballed ingredients and reserved some of the suggested amount of Earth Balance. I agree with her that this dish is not saucy in liquid content but rather saucy in flavor. In my tests, the sauce comes out to a thinner coating on the tofu and soaked up mostly by the vegetables. See Kirthi’s test and read her comments here.

If you test the recipe yourself, I want to hear your thoughts! Tag me (@everythingalexcooks) in your creation!


Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu

Peppery cubes of tofu top steam-fried vegetables that have the lightest of garlic sauces in this low-fat, vegan Thai tofu dish.

There’s a new Thai restaurant in town, and the first couple of times I ate there I had mixed feelings. While it was so much better than the other local Thai restaurant, I wasn’t quite satisfied with its take on dishes that I’ve liked in Thai places in other parts of the country. (This is just my opinion–D absolutely loves the place and often eats lunch there without me.)

Then one night I was studying the menu with such a worried expression, determined to try something new, that the waitress took pity on me and told me what to order: Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu. After a couple of questions to make sure that there was no fish sauce in it and that it contained vegetables in addition to the tofu, I ordered it and fell in love.

I’m not sure why I love this simple dish–peppery cubes of tofu atop vegetables that have the lightest of sauces–but I do, so much so that I became determined to make it myself at home, with a good bit less fat than the restaurant’s version.

Instead of frying the tofu, I bake it instead of stir-frying the vegetables in oil, I steam-fry them. Steam-frying is a little trickier than frying because it requires frequently covering and uncovering the wok and adding liquid as needed, and if you’re not careful, you can burn, overcook, or under-cook the vegetables. But if you time it just right, you can get the same tender-crisp vegetables as a traditional stir-fry, with a whole lot less fat and fewer calories.


Black Pepper Tofu and Asparagus

This is a beautiful easy to make dish. Its quite fiery thanks to the black pepper, if you’re not keen on heat maybe reduce the quantity. And we have since used the recipe with other veg once asparagus was out of season. Recipe from bon appetit.

You’ll need a saucepan and frying pan.

Ingredients (when in italics available from the van)

1 Tbsp black peppercorns (approx 10p)

1 Tbsp. arrowroot or cornstarch (approx 5p)

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (approx 15p)

450g asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1½" pieces

1 tsp. unseasoned rice vinegar

Cooked white or brown rice (for serving) (approx 45p or 38p)

Total cost from Incredible Bulk approx £1.40 / £0.70 pp

While rice cooking, first wrap tofu in a clean kitchen towel / muslin cloth and place in a shallow baking dish and weigh down with a heavy object (a cast-iron skillet topped with a couple of heavy cans works well). Let sit at least 15 minutes to remove excess water.

Meanwhile, coarsely crack peppercorns in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle and set aside. Finely grate garlic and ginger into a small bowl and set aside.

Unwrap tofu and cut into 1" cubes. Transfer tofu to a medium bowl. Add arrowroot/cornstarch and salt and toss gently to coat tofu.

Heat oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high. Add tofu to cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp all over, 6–8 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate or baking sheet.

Reduce heat to medium and add reserved cracked pepper to pan. Cook, stirring often, until very fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add asparagus and cook, stirring often, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add reserved garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Return tofu to pan and gently toss to combine. Increase heat to medium-high, add soy sauce and sugar, and cook, tossing occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vinegar. Taste and add more salt and/or vinegar if needed.

To serve, divide rice among plates and top with tofu mixture.

Zero Waste Tips

You can make your own diy asparagus stock with the leftover woody ends of asparagus.

Make your own tofu to avoid plastic wrapped alternatives.

Soy sauce and rice vinegar can be found in recyclable or reusable glass bottles.

Recipe is also great with other stir fry veg - a great way to use up what you have available.


Download the cookbook:

Spring Vegetable Saute

Bursting with delicious spring flavors, this delicious sauté is perfect with a side of roasted chicken, fish, or tofu.

Ingredients

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup sweet onion (sliced)
1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
3 new potatoes (tiny, quartered)
3/4 cup carrot (sliced)
3/4 cup asparagus pieces
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, or green beans
1/2 cup radishes (quartered)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dill (dried)

Directions

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet. Cook the onion 2 minutes, add the garlic and cook another minute
  2. Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook until almost tender, about 4 minutes.
  3. If the vegetables start to brown, add a Tablespoon or 2 of water.
  4. Now add the asparagus, peas, radishes, salt, pepper, and dill. Cook, stirring often, until just tender - about 4 minutes more.
  5. Serve immediately.

For nutrition information, please visit Spring Vegetable Saute at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Asparagus with Gremolata Sauce

Asparagus has folate, fiber, as well as vitamins A, C, E, and K. It also has antioxidants, so treat yourself to this dish knowing that you are feeding your body with some important nutrients.

Ingredients

2 cups asparagus (washed and trimmed)
2 tablespoons margarine (or butter)
2 teaspoons lemon peel (grated)
1 garlic clove (large, minced)
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)

Directions

  1. Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes.
  2. Drain: rinse with cold water to cool quickly, and drain again.
  3. Pat dry wrap in a paper towel and then plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Melt margarine in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add lemon peel and garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
  6. Add asparagus and toss to coat.
  7. Sprinkle with lemon juice. Sauté until asparagus is heated through and coated with Gremolata sauce, about 3 minutes.
  8. Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

For nutrition information, please visit Asparagus with Gremolata Sauce at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Pasta Primavera

A flavorful spring recipe that you and your family will savor. Use your favorite spring vegetables from your garden or local farmers market: kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, carrots, and asparagus are all delicious options.

Ingredients

1 cup noodles, uncooked
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups mixed vegetables (chopped)
1 cup tomatoes (chopped)
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a skillet.
  3. Add vegetables and saute until tender stir constantly.
  4. Add tomato and saute 2 more minutes.
  5. Toss vegetables with noodles and margarine.
  6. Add seasonings sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

For nutrition information, please visit Pasta Primavera at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Seared Greens

This quick and delicious way to cook greens will give you a tasty side dish in minutes.

Ingredients

8 cups kale or collard greens (1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or olive oil)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons vinegar, cider

Directions

  1. Clean the greens thoroughly and cut stems away. Dry well and tear into salad pieces or slice across leaf into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. In a large deep pot or skillet with a cover, sauté garlic in oil. Add greens in pan with 1 cup water.
  3. Cover pan and steam for 4 minutes.
  4. Uncover, stir constantly until greens shrink. Add salt and pepper and continue to stir on high until mixture is thoroughly wet.
  5. Sprinkle cider vinegar on mixture. Cover.
  6. Turn off heat. Let stand until ready to serve.

For nutrition information, please visit Seared Greens at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Spinach and Meat Cakes

Enjoy these spinach and meat cakes over brown rice, and with a side of roasted sweet potatoes.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef, or turkey, 7% fat (93% lean)
16 ounces frozen spinach chopped (may substitute a 2 bunches of fresh spinach)
1/2 onion (small, finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper (to taste)
3 cups brown rice

Directions

  1. Preheat frying pan (no oil).
  2. Combine all ingredients except brown rice in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  3. Form mixture into 12 small balls. Place in frying pan and flatten into patties using a spatula.
  4. Cook over medium heat until cooked on both sides.
  5. Serve over brown rice.

For nutrition information, please visit Spinach and Meat Cakes at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Pea Pesto

Enjoy this gorgeous, bright, green pesto on your favorite protein food or pasta.

Ingredients

1 cup frozen peas (can also use fresh or canned)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup basil leaves
1 cup spinach (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. For the pesto, add peas, Parmesan cheese, basil, spinach, walnuts and garlic into a food processor or blender.
  2. Add in water, oil, salt and pepper. Blend until the ingredients are combined to form a thick sauce.
  3. Place pesto in an airtight container. Refrigerate until needed.

For nutrition information, please visit Pea Pesto at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Pear Rabbit

A cute and fruity 'rabbit' snack that kids can help make.

Ingredients

3 canned pear halves
1 tablespoon raisin

Directions

  1. Wash hands get out ingredients and utensils.
  2. Place 2 pear halves, flat side down, on a small plate to make the body.
  3. Use butter knife to cut a tail, ears and feet from another pear half. Add each part to the body.
  4. Use butter knife to cut one raisin in half and place on small end for eyes.
  5. Enjoy your pear rabbit.

For nutrition information, please visit Pear Rabbit at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Berries with Banana Cream

Make your own "banana cream" with yogurt, banana, and fruit juice, then top fresh sliced strawberries for a delicious dessert or snack. Add honey and cinnamon for extra flavor.

Ingredients

1/3 cup yogurt, low-fat plain
1/2 banana (ripe)
1/2 us fluid ounce fruit juice (orange works well)
2 cups sliced strawberries
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon (dash)

Directions

  1. Combine yogurt, banana, and juice and mash with a fork until most chunks are gone.
  2. Wash and slice berries.
  3. Top the berries with the yogurt banana mixture.
  4. Top with honey and cinnamon.

For nutrition information, please visit Berries with Banana Cream at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.

Fruit Pizza

The crust for this dessert cooks in the oven and is covered with a cream cheese mix and topped with strawberries. For variety, try using any combination of colorful fruits.

Ingredients

Ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries, sliced (or kiwi, bananas, pears, peaches, or blueberries)
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg (large)
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces cream cheese, non-fat or light
1/2 cup sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. For crust, cream margarine, sugar vanilla, and egg until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder, mixing well.
  3. Spread mixture about 1/8 inch thick on a pizza pan, baking sheet, or 9 inch by 13 inch pan.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.
  5. For spread, mix together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla. Spread on cooled cookie crust.
  6. Arrange fruit on top of pizza. Refrigerate until serving time.

For nutrition information, please visit Fruit Pizza at What's Cooking? USDA Mixing Bowl.


Black pepper tofu and eggplant

I spotted black pepper tofu on Ottolenghi’s* Instagram last week, a fine place to gush over food. The recipe is from Plenty, an excellent cookbook that I happen to have, which means I could make it right away. However, rather than making it and then still feeling a loose obligation to make a vegetable side dish or salad, I decided to add eggplant. From there, everything went south. I don’t have three types of soy sauce. I can get them, theoretically, but I was feeling lazy about it. I was pretty sure five tablespoons of crushed peppercorns and eight thinly sliced red chiles would make my children run screaming from the room 11 tablespoons of butter was a bit rich for my tastes. But here’s the thing with this and, I think, all recipes. Much ado is made about “internet recipe commenters” and their “I changed eight ingredients and it didn’t work, zero stars”-type presence on websites. I’m often asked how I don’t “lose patience” with these types of comments and here comes an opinion, you just know I had one brewing:


For the love of absolutely nothing holy, because this an internet recipe blog and not the 11th commandment, you are allowed to make every single recipe you come across any way you wish. Modify for the ingredients you have. Modify for the schedule you have or the free time you want. Modify for the nutrients you need. Recipes aren’t bibles I am no goddess. I don’t find it annoying. I mean, we’re going to have to manage our expectations about the outcomes. Some changes work, some don’t, and we can talk about it, I’ll answer whatever I can as best as I can. But honestly the best thing you can do is to report back in the comments, that is, tell us what you changed and how it went, and help the next person with the question out.

Which is all to say [“Ugh, why are recipe headnotes so long?” lol] that I used one kind of soy sauce, a third of the butter, a tablespoon of black pepper, no chiles, I halved the tofu, added eggplant, and then I ultimately sheet pan-ed it. I didn’t only roast it because I’m nursing a hot pink two-inch burn on my forearm from dropping tofu in hot oil on the stove — if only 13 years of cooking experience here could have warned me about the ol’ water-oil issue — but because to make this entirely on the stove, you’ll need to fry tofu, and then the eggplant, and then make the sauce for 15 minutes and that adds up to a lot of time. By roasting the vegetables while you make the sauce, it comes together faster. Eggplant and tofu are fantastic together the tofu holds its shape, the eggplant collapses and partly joins the sauce and the result was too dark and pretty to even bother garnishing with chiles or scallions, but you could. You’re in charge.

Previously

Black Pepper Tofu and Eggplant

  • Servings: 2 to 3, with rice
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen

For high-heat cooking and roasting, I usuaully use safflower (currently this one) or sunflower oil. Shallots vary a lot in size but I used 4 to 5 medium/big ones for 1 1/4 cups shallots. This will be too salty with regular soy sauce. If it’s all you’ve got, use 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons water. Cornstarch-coated tofu likes to stick to roasting pans but I find by preheating the pan, using a thin spatula (this is my go-to), and not moving the tofu until it’s crisp and browned underneath, it’s not a problem.

  • 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu
  • Neutral oil for roasting (I use safflower)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 to 1 pound eggplant
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (the higher amount is slightly more rich)
  • 1 heaped cup thinly sliced shallots or 1 medium white or red onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon crushed or very coarsely ground black pepper, and more to taste
  • Rice, for serving
  • Chile-garlic sauce, crispy chili oil, or sriracha for serving

Roast tofu and eggplant in oven for 20 minutes to start. After 20 minutes, use your thinnest spatula to gently separate the tofu from the pan and flip to crisp and brown on the other side, about another 10 minutes. Do the same with the eggplant. At 30 minutes, the tofu should be crisp and browned and the eggplant should be roasted and tender. If needed, cook it for 5 more minutes.

While tofu and eggplant roasts, prepare the sauce. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once butter melts, add shallots, garlic, and ginger. Reduce heat slightly and cook, stirring here and there, until everything is tender, about 11 to 14 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sugar, and black pepper and cook, simmering, for 3 minutes more. Add roasted tofu and eggplant to pan and stir to coat with sauce cook for one to two minutes minute together. Serve over or with rice add extra heat as needed.


Preparation

Asparagus with angel hair and tofu cream sauce is a delicious cheezy flavored vegan recipe that will serve 4 to 6 adults as a main meal. Preparation and cooking time is about 45 minutes.

Our pasta recipes are prepared in what many people would consider a non-traditional quick method. We prepare the veggies and sauce in either a large covered ceramic dish in our microwave oven or in a wok. If cooking in a wok, stir fry the veggies in a little water at 375 degrees F. and reduce the heat to simmer when the sauce is added.

Wash and peel the onion and garlic. Cut the onion in half from top to bottom, and thinly slice across each half. Place the onions in the pot or wok. Crush the garlic and add to the onions. Cook the onions and garlic until the onions begin to become translucent.

Wash and clean the asparagus and cut into bite size pieces. Add to the cooked onions and continue cooking until the asparagus is tender (about 10 minutes).

While the veggies are cooking, cook the angle hair pasta. We cook our pasta on the stove top either in a regular pot or in a pasta pot. When cooking pasta in a conventional pot on the stove top, we often found that the pasta would stick to the bottom of the pot. Then we would pour the boiling water and cooked pasta into a colander to drain off the water. With the pasta pot, the pasta never sticks to the bottom of the pot, and when it's cooked, all that is necessary is to lift out the inner pot and the water drains out. Do not cook the pasta with the lid on the pot or the water will boil out between the inner and outer pot. When cooking spaghetti in the pasta pot, be sure to stir the pasta when it begins to soften, in order to make sure that none is sticking through the holes of the inner pot.

Prepare the sauce in a high speed blender. Begin by pouring the lemon juice into the blender container. Add the tofu block which has been broken into pieces. Wash, peel and cut the carrots into chunks and add to the blender container. Add the corn starch, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and pepper. Place the lid on the container and run at high speed until the sauce is "creamy smooth."

When the pasta and veggies are done, drain the pasta and add it to the veggie cooking pot or wok. Add the sauce, and mix well.

If cooking in a microwave, cover the baking dish and cook for another ten minutes, mixing again after five minutes. (To enlarge the photo of the asparagus tofu pasta, click on the photo or link)

If cooking in a wok, reduce the heat to 200 degrees, and continue cooking and mixing until the sauce thickens.


Recipe Summary

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup (see Note)
  • 2 teaspoons mirin
  • 1/8 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 4 blocks
  • Vegetable oil
  • Three 7-by-8-inch sheets of toasted nori (seaweed), cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sambal oelek or other Asian chile paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound medium asparagus
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 large scallion, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium baking dish, whisk 2 tablespoons of the rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the miso and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the soy sauce with the tahini paste, agave syrup, mirin and Chinese five-spice powder until smooth. Add the tofu and turn to coat. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine 1/4 cup of vegetable oil with the nori, water, honey, lemon juice, sambal oelek and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of miso paste and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. Puree until smooth and season lightly with salt and pepper. Refrigerate the vinaigrette.

On a baking sheet, toss the asparagus with the sesame oil season with salt, black pepper and the red pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, until tender and browned.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat until fragrant and lightly browned, 1 minute. Let cool.

Light a grill and brush with vegetable oil. Remove the tofu from the marinade and grill over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and heated through, 6 minutes. Cut each block into 3 slices.

Spoon some of the nori vinaigrette onto plates. Top with the asparagus and tofu. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, cilantro and scallion and serve.


Watch the video: CHINESE BLACK PEPPER TOFU. vegan recipe. Marys Test Kitchen (November 2021).