Never too much tofu

This is an easy, healthy, and tasty go-to.

Spicy Tofu with Veggies, ready to enjoy. — Anna Nesser

College is back in full swing, and this fall semester has been keeping me busy. With classes, extracurriculars, and time for friends keeping me occupied, cooking a gourmet meal is normally out of the question. That is not to say I don’t prepare a gourmet meal here and there — I have always loved cooking, and think of it as a relaxing way to unwind after a busy day — but on the days when this isn’t an option, this recipe is one of my go-tos.

Tofu is such a versatile food, and happens to be the star of this dish. When buying tofu, I like to get firm instead of extra-firm, so that the tofu retains some of its soft, light texture after it is cooked — any kind will work in this recipe, though. I cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes whenever I cook with it, just because it tends to cook faster that way. I like my tofu crispy on the outside, and nice and light on the inside, so I opt to cook it in a pan until it has a golden brown, crispy shell. My roommate just shared with me that tofu can even be eaten raw, so if crispy tofu doesn’t appeal to you, feel free to cook it to any consistency or texture you see fit. Case in point: Tofu is an extremely versatile food.

Depending on hunger levels — which let’s face it, are normally off the charts after a long day of classes and schoolwork — you can also make this tofu and veggie combo over rice. I use brown or white rice, but again, anything will work. A rice pilaf, a couscous, or even quinoa will provide a delicious base to an even more delicious meal.

The last component of this recipe is the sauce. I am a sucker for any sauce from Trader Joe’s, and have recently been using its General Tso’s sauce. But again, with a quick, easy, versatile recipe, any sauce will work well. In combination with red chile flakes, though, I recommend some sort of teriyaki or General Tso’s sauce.

Not only is this dish delicious, but the sizzling tofu and steaming veggies will be sure to keep you warm. With fall here and the colder weather quickly approaching, what could be better than that?                    

Spicy Tofu with Veggies

1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 block of firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
1 zucchini, sliced into half-inch pieces
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. red chili flakes
teriyaki or General Tso’s sauce, drizzled on top

Begin by heating up a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a pan on the stovetop. While the oil is warming up, take the block of tofu and lightly dab a paper towel over it to remove any excess water. Then cut up the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Wash the broccoli and zucchini, then chop the broccoli into bite-size florets, and slice the zucchini into half-inch pieces. Mince one clove of garlic.

When the oil is hot, throw the tofu, broccoli, zucchini, and minced garlic into the pan. Add the red chile flakes, as well as salt and pepper to taste. Mix well to coat the tofu and the veggies. Make sure each piece is touching the bottom of the pan in order to get an even cook. Let cook and mix occasionally, flipping the pieces of tofu so that each side gets crispy and browned. Once the tofu is crispy enough for your liking, drizzle some sort of teriyaki or General Tso’s sauce on top and mix well. Serve over rice, if desired. Eat while it’s hot, and enjoy!