OK, here’s the thing. I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen, so sometimes when I say “simple” it might be a little bit of a stretch. I get it. Some of you get home late from work, some of you don’t love to cook, and others may love to cook but aren’t feeling it every single night. In fact, that kinda happened to me lately where I hit a wall and suddenly wanted to eat all meals out because of the thought of cleaning up after cooking and also there are so many great places these days with food just ready for you to eat. Sigh. But then I was back at it, because the kitchen is my happy place, and also because eating out all the time adds up in more ways than one #truth. In the process of easing back in, these Simple Saucy Tofu Bowls were born. And they truly are simple, with just 4 pantry items!
Let’s Talk Ingredients
- Perfectly cooked tofu (any brand, just buy “extra firm”)
- My most favorite Organic Girl Herb Goddess vinaigrette (is it a sauce? Is it a dressing? Do we even care if it tastes this good?!)
- Whatever whole grain you choose (I used Trader Joe’s Sprouted Organic California rice mix)
- And lots of green leafy goodness.
I even took a pic of the simplicity for you. And if you’re feeling annoyed because you think you need to run out and buy a certain dressing, know that they have this one in the produce section at Whole Foods (and I don’t think you’ll regret it) but Trader Joe’s also sells something similar (their Green Goddess dressing). Or if you stay tuned, I am going to be posting a recipe soon that attempts to re-create it at home.
And with every good BEFORE, we need an AFTER! Maybe it’s just because I’m really hungry right now, but I definitely want to reach in and grab one of those perfect little tofu cubes slathered in basil/green onion/garlic/tahini creaminess. The rice gives the perfect amount of texture and chewiness, and the greens will look really pretty and make you feel good about yourself, right?!
As I mentioned, I use a Trader Joe’s rice mix here, and I just throw a big batch in the rice cooker and let it works its magic while the tofu cooks. But you can make the grains even faster by using precooked or quick cooking, which most grocery stores have a wide selection of these days (maybe even your Target!).
And The Tofu…
Let’s talk tofu prep real quick. When you’re buying, make sure to purchase “extra firm”. You may have heard that you need to press out the water using towels, a heavy object, or even an actual tofu press. I used to do that myself, but lately I’ve just been spending a minute or two pressing the tofu block between some paper towels until I get most of the water out. Then slice it into cubes and spread it thin on a baking sheet (I use a silpat but if you don’t, lightly mist the baking sheet with cooking spray). I pat the tofu with a paper towel one more time once it’s on the baking sheet, and then sprinkle with a little salt. This is pre-baking:
Once the tofu is done, it just sits in the sauce (while the rice cooks) until it gets nice and flavorful, then you throw it all together and eat!
Taking It Next Level
In true disclosure here, these bowls can get even better. This recipe is just the very basics, but you can up the ante by adding in even more veggies and flavor. Here are a few favorite additions I’ve tried:
- When you bake the tofu, add in a separate baking sheet of halved cherry or grape tomatoes tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and honey. Let them roast at the same temp as the tofu (400), stirring after 10 minutes,until they are slightly browned and roast-y and sweetened. So good.
- Get all wild and crazy and toss in some chickpeas for extra protein. Just look at you go.
- Sprinkle with roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds for extra salty crunch.
- Sliced red onions. Who doesn’t love sliced red onions?! (Actually, a lot of people….but I’ll leave that up to you.)
- Use another grain (i.e. below I used farro, the quick cooking kind so it was ready in 10 minutes).
- I haven’t tried this yet but I think goat cheese or even feta would be great for some creaminess.
What would you add?! Comment below if you come up with your own great concoction!
These tofu bowls are packed with flavor, texture. and nutrients, and require only 4 pantry items to make the meal happen! Makes 2 - 4 servings depending on appetite.
- 1 15.5 - 16oz package extra firm tofu (look for organic and non-GMO)
- 1/4 cup Organic Girl Herb Goddess dressing (or similar, plus extra for topping)
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice or rice blend (or use 3 - 4 cups pre-cooked)
- 1 5oz container of spring/baby lettuce mix (softer leaves like baby lettuce will work better than romaine)
If cooking the rice, cook per package instructions. (I like to add a little butter or olive oil and pinch of salt.)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Open and drain the tofu, then press it firmly with paper towels or a clean dish towel until most of the water is removed when you squeeze it gently. Slice it into 1 inch cubes and spread them on a baking sheet (note: I use a silpat to prevent sticking, but if you don't have one, lightly mist the baking sheet with cooking spray first). Gently pat the tofu dry one more time once its on the sheet, and then sprinkle with salt. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning halfway through for even cooking. (Note: you want the tofu to be slightly browning on the edges.)
When the tofu is done, add it to a bowl, stir in the dressing to coat, and allow it to marinate for 10 minutes.
Once the rice is finished cooking, assemble the bowls! Big heap of lettuce mix, scoop of rice, and finish with the tofu plus an extra drizzle of dressing.
See the corresponding blog post for additional customization ideas!