A fast, protein-rich dinner with bold flavors.
Our vegetarian protein source of choice is tofu, both because of its ability to take on other flavors beautifully as well as its affordability, even when purchasing organic and non-GMO sources. I like to keep a container on hand for quick weeknight meals, even more so now that some of our neighbors are vegan — I love having them over for dinner and tofu is a good go-to starting point for preparing a meatless dish in a time crunch.
Since tofu is a relatively blank slate, I like to play with bold flavors when preparing it, as in this miso-glazed version. I pan-fry cubes of tofu so it has a pleasingly crispy exterior before coating it in a salty sauce with just enough maple syrup to keep the palate excited.
Alongside, I serve tender-crisp green beans, blanched then sautéed in a red pepper flake-infused oil that will make your nostril hairs tingle, spiked with soy sauce just before serving. Because both my neighbors and I have toddlers, I set aside some of the green beans to be served sans spice. My son can handle a little heat but not the punch these beans pack.
I round out the meal with rice, a neutral base to absorb and balance the salt and heat.
Miso-glazed tofu with spicy string beans
Blanching the beans reduces the amount of oil they absorb and helps retain their bright green hue, but if you don’t have the time or would rather not dirty an extra pot, you can skip this step and tack on a few minutes to the sauté.
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- Canola oil
- Rice, for serving
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with 1 cup ice and 1 cup water. Boil the green beans for 3 minutes, drain and immediately plunge in the ice water bath. Drain the water, remove any remaining ice and pat the beans dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel.
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the green beans and sauté for several minutes. Turn off the heat, add the soy sauce and toss to combine. Move the green beans to a serving platter and wipe or wash the bottom of the skillet.
- Pat the tofu pieces dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. In a small bowl, stir together the miso, rice vinegar, maple syrup and ginger until smooth. Place the skillet back over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with oil. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu and wait until beginning to brown before stirring. Stir very occasionally, allowing all sides of the tofu to brown. Turn off the heat, add the miso mixture and stir to combine. Add a splash of water if needed to loosen up the sauce. Serve over rice and alongside the spicy beans.