There are two ways to be rich: One by acquiring much, and the other by desiring little. Jackie French Koller
Holla friends! Here’s a quick, vibrant, uber-healthful dinner for those nights when you just really need a no-brainer. Tasty, light, and fast. Try this once, and I swear you’ll be hooked – as really, it’s all about the sauce here. This almost-too-easy easy and crazy delicious sauce might just be the single most important thing I’ve been missing in my kitchen repertoire all these years….I really truly mean that too! It’s perfect for adding to any medley of veggies you might have kicking around, and superbly cheap and tasty motivation for cleaning out the crisper too.
I have loads of great memories of learning to cook as a teenager, as I’ve always leaned towards vegetable-based fare and taught myself early how to fend for myself. Stir-fried vegetables were the first thing I cooked growing up, along with hummus blended in our ancient and crusty family Osterizer. My dad was a pretty big influence in my early kitchen exploring days, as he would tell me stories of his early adulthood, when funds were crazy scarce and he lived off mixed veggie stir-fries exclusively for quite some time. Early hippie days in Toronto. Meeting my mom. The ’70’s. This was back when vegetables weren’t out-of-reach expensive, and resources for those inclined towards vegetarian eating were almost non-existent. So stir-fry he did, and on the way found himself 30 pounds lighter – and armed forever with tools for making sound food choices – choices that would carry him (and my mom) through to raising and feeding 4 hungry kids extremely well on a minimal budget.
This sauce is based off a classic Moosewood recipe I’ve tried with varying success through the years, but this time ’round I’ve adjusted it some to reduce the ingredient list and simplify the flavour profile a little. To me, it’s now perfect. Not only is this what my body is currently craving, but it’s also part of a new era I’ve ushered in of gentle, strategic self care. You may notice a new banner here on the blog, and a return to my ‘living with just a little less’ tagline. Less is more here and always will be, and right now if time is your most precious commodity – I’m right there with you. More and more I want to simplify. More and more I want to take time to invest in myself. To eat well, nurture, explore, and build a bank of energy for living a peaceful, happy existence. But these things simply are not possible to attain without tending to, and honouring the importance of our physical well-being, and this is where a much needed shift has taken place for me. Less focus on work after a nutty two years. More energy focused squarely on cultivating routine (difficult for those who do freelance work), and towards creating healthy boundaries in work and in life. But mostly in – once again – recognizing the powerful and scientific connection between mind and body. The physical heart and the sacred soul. Small steps in the right direction really do add up, including making time for simple healthy meals like this. Enjoy 🙂 xox
20 Minute Saucy Vegetable + Tofu Stir-Fry:
1 heaping cup cubed firm tofu (200 grams)
1 tbsp high heat cooking oil (grapeseed oil is great for this)
pinch of salt as needed for cooking tofu + veggies
4 cups broccoli florets
10 small brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 bunch kale, stemmed and torn
3 cups chopped green beans
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 can cut baby corn
sambal oelek + black sesame seeds for garnish
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Mirin
1 tbsp chili oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1-2 tsp Sambal Oelek
1 tbsp ginger (optional)
1 clove minced garlic (optional)
1 cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch
Start first by preparing all of your vegetables and setting them aside separately. Cube the tofu and set aside. Drain the corn and water chestnuts and set aside.
In a mixing bowl combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the cornstarch. Add the cornstarch to the mixture and whisk quickly to prevent lumps. Set aside. When all the ingredients are ready, heat a wok or large braising pan on high heat (I recently got this one for my birthday and I’m in LOVE) and add the oil to heat it up. After about a minute, add the tofu cubes and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until the tofu is crispy on the outer edges, about 6-8 minutes. Add the broccoli, brussels sprouts, green beans, and another pinch or two of salt (this helps the veggies to soften) to the tofu and cook, stirring continuously for about 6 minutes, until the broccoli has turned bright green. Add the kale, corns, and water chestnuts and cook until the kale softens, about 2 more minutes.
When the vegetables are cooked but still tender, whisk the sauce one last time and pour the entire bowl over the vegetables and stir. Allow the sauce to heat up and as it does, it will thicken and coat the vegetables. Heat and stir gently until the vegetables are fully coated in the thickened sauce. Serve immediately with extra Sambal Oelek and black sesame seeds.
If you wish to serve with rice – as it’s amazing for soaking up the extra sauce – just put up a pot before starting the vegetables. They will all be ready at the same time. Serves 2-3 hungry folks.