Vegan and Good: Spinach Ginger Tofu

A couple of years ago a number of my friends began to betray me culinarily. That’s what it felt like to me, anyway.

My brother and his wife did this by moving their diet over to eating mainly vegetarian; a coworker was a crazy juicing raw diet vegan; a friend’s wife read a book and denounced all meat from then on; another friend changed her whole life for the better by eliminating gluten from her diet; and, my sister found that cutting out dairy helped her tremendously improve the quality of her life.

But HOLY COW it was like an identity crisis for me … how could I be the guy that provided (unsolicited) helpful recipe advice to family and friends when they ran into a cooking snag? Who was going to care about the recipes I was now able to pull off and brag about when all of them included beef or pork or other such wonderfulness?

It had me all twisted up and feeling vulnerable – like a superhero stripped of his super powers (or something very dramatic like that).

GET OVER IT, right!?! Of course, it just took a little doing but I think it was worth it.

I had to get over it because I still wanted to cook for these people. So, I went right to the source and asked my brother if there were any good vegetarian cook books in the world that I should/could get my hands on and start figuring this out. He said he liked the Moosewood Collection, and we began to talk it out. I have come to agree with him, this is a great set of books and recipes that everyone should have in their cooking library.

As it turns out, there is a lot of awesome and tasty food that can be made that satisfies all of the constraints above and more. The recipe I am sharing today is my version of a dish that was featured in Whole Living Magazine about two and a half years ago. At home we call it Spinach tofu and it is one of Emily’s favorites of all of my meals (not just vegetarian).

Here are the ingredients:
10 oz. spinach
1/2 block of extra firm tofu (pressed)
1/2 cup of forbidden rice
3 medium cloves of garlic (pressed/minced)
1 T of scallion (chopped fine)
3″ of ginger (minced)
2 whole limes (cut into wedges)
7 oz water
2 T veg oil (divided)
Siracha (to taste)

Directions:
1. Combine water and rice together in pot and simmer according to directions on rice container.
2. Mix scallions, ginger, and garlic together in bowl. Add desired amount of siracha and about a tablespoon of water.
3. Slice tofu into 2″ square pieced, about 1/4″ thick.
4. Place tofu into herb mixture and gently turn to coat.
5. Rinse spinach.
6. Add covered pan to the stove with 1 tablespoon of oil in it. Turn to medium-high heat and coat pan with oil.
7. Wilt spinach in pan for 2-3 minutes
8. Remove spinach from pan and allow to drain.
9. Add half of the remaining oil to the pan and coat it evenly.
10. Saute tofu in pan for 5-6 minutes per side
11. Remove tofu from pan, add final portion of oil to coat pan, and add cooked rice
12. Fry rice for 2-3 minutes

Plate rice in mounded row, layer over the spinach, and top with tofu squares. Squeeze generous amounts of lime juice over entire combination and eat while it’s hot.

Enjoy!

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