Vibrant and Healthy Tofu Stir Fry (Vegetarian Vednesdays, anyone?)

I have on several occasions lamented my entrenchment in the world of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I have whined and moaned about monochromatics, blank flavor palettes, and all around monotony. I have even gone so far as to broaden my qualms to encompass the meat industry as a whole. It goes without saying that this omnivore gets a little sick of meat now and then. Yet, for a long time, I shied away from the one ingredient that had the potential to be my genuine Saving Grace - the protein factor in many great vegetarian dishes that could lift me out of my chicken/meat rut and bring life back into my cooking. I'm talking, of course, about Tofu. I had eaten it before, but only rarely, and had never prepared it myself. It daunted me. Wouldn't it spoil in .5 seconds of being opened? How would I eat all of it myself? How would I eat any of it, for that matter, without any experience with it before? New ingredients don't often intimidate me, but this one certainly did.

Finally, I bucked up. I marched into my grocery store and with the utmost sense of purpose, I proceeded to...well, wander aimlessly, wondering where the heck they kept the stuff. I finally located it, snatched up a container, and left happily and optimistically with a new-found ingredient to generate inspiration in the Floptimism Kitchen once more.

I have to say, I have since used Tofu in several dishes, and although I'm certainly experimenting with how to flavor it off-the-cuff, sans recipe, the recipes I have chosen and followed have yet to lead me astray. This one in particular was absolutely phenomenal, and the words "light" and "refreshing" that so aptly describe it sound so inviting to me right now, as my third floor apartment at just 9:30 in the morning has already draped a veil of heat and humidity upon my entire being. I hear that rain is coming soon, perhaps to cool things down a little (not that I would complain about heat and humidity after such an extended, cold winter), but until then, a light, meatless stir fry with just a small dollop of yogurt sauce sounds wonderful.

And just for the record? It took on an incredible smoky, deep flavor when I reheated the extras the next day - so good!

Light Tofu Stir Fry with Yogurt Sauce, adapted from Vegetable Matter
Yield: 2 servings

The Ingredients
1/3 pound extra-firm tofu, roughly one-third or half a package
2 teaspoons oil, for sauteeing*
1/4 cup roasted red peppers (or 1/2 red pepper to roast yourself), chopped
1 pound assorted dark greens (swiss chard, kale, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1/2 cup greek yogurt (NF/LF)
2 tablespoons sunbutter or tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
dash crushed red pepper
1/2 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, chopped

The Method
Drain the tofu by placing it on a flat surface between two layers of paper towels, weighed down by a plate or something similar. Allow it to sit for approximately 10 minutes before cutting it into cubes.

Saute the cubed tofu in the 2 teaspoons of oil over medium/medium-high until the bottom side is golden, and then flip and repeat for the other side. Remove the tofu from the pan and set aside. 

Add the rest of the oil to the pan along with half of the garlic to cook for one minute. Place the assorted greens into the pan and cook until tender, approximately 10 minutes, before adding in the roasted red pepper for an additional minute. Transfer the mixture to a separate dish/plate and allow to cool. Add the crushed red pepper to the emptied skillet, adding another 1/4 teaspoon or so of oil if the pan looks too dry, cooking until it just begins to sizzle, around 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the yogurt sauce: combine the yogurt, sunbutter/tahini, lemon juice, and remaining garlic in a small bowl. Season, optionally, with salt, and mix in the crushed red pepper before setting aside.

Toss the greens and tofu together and top with a dollop (1-2 tablespoons) of the yogurt sauce, serving the rest of the sauce on the side. Can be served over rice, but I enjoyed this on its own.

*The original recipe called for sesame oil which would certainly impart a phenomenal flavor, but I didn't have any so just used olive oil.

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