Sesame Tofu with Spring Vegetables and Quinoa

by Marla on April 28, 2011 · 61 comments

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Quinoa with stir fried tofu and fresh vegetables,

Now that the Easter bunny has hopped on to other places, it is time to embrace Spring (unless you live in Utah and are still covered in snow.) You guys can enjoy sunny flavors virtually with us here in California. The market are filled with fresh vegetables, fruits and loads of things grown under the sun. My seven year old and hubs suggested I take a pause from my impassioned baking kick to bring you savory. So here it is!

Homemade tofu stir fry with peas and carrots with sesame seed sauce

When I saw peas at the market the other day I got so excited. Peas have a little snap and are a smidge sweet. They are delicious raw or cooked. When combined with tofu, carrots and a savory sesame sauce all is right. This dish is a simple, colorful and quick to prepare meal.

Kids color Easter eggs bright and festive

What would all this Spring talk be without a peek back to Easter? We had so much fun decorating eggs and looking for those “hidden” by the Bunny in a big open field. A true celebration of life!

Pre school boy in orange gingham checked shirt

My friend Da from Kitchen Corners shared her darling kids on Easter and she inspired me to share our day too. Even though the sky was overcast and grey the bright colors popped that much more. When hunting for Easter eggs it really does not matter what color the sky is!

First grade girl with silver tiara and white Easter basket

I have been experimenting with different cooking methods and ingredients to embrace all kinds of lifestyles. I will be working on some vegan posts in the upcoming months. I also have a few guest posters coming up that will knock your socks off with their vegan creations. You will be impressed with how much freedom you have in your cooking even without animal based ingredients. (I am not going that route, but I do see it’s value.) In this recipe you can choose to use the fish sauce or swap in some extra tamari for a vegan dish. Either way is great.

Quinoa with stir fried tofu and fresh vegetables.

This recipe works for vegans or vegetarians, or if you are just looking for a meatless meal. Tofu absorbs any marinades, sauces, seasonings and spices you put on it. It is a versatile and inexpensive ingredient that you can stow away in the fridge and pull out in pinch.

Quinoa with stir fried tofu and fresh vegetables.

Quinoa is a great side dish. Most of us think of it as a grain but it is actually a protein packed seed. It is an adaptable ingredient that I use often. We love it in my Quinoa Salad with Basil and Blood Orange. The Inca’s believed that the quinoa crop is sacred and that it is the “mother of all grains.” I like how the light, fluffy texture of quinoa pairs with the tofu and veggies. It is a nice alternative to brown rice, pasta and heavier grains.

Quinoa with stir fried tofu and fresh vegetables.

How do you like to prepare tofu and quinoa?

Sesame Tofu with Spring Vegetables and Quinoa

Makes 4 servings

NOTES:

  • Tamari is wheat free soy sauce. You can also use a regular soy sauce if you do not need to stick to gluten free ingredients.
  • Mirin is a Japanese sweet rice wine for cooking.
  • You can find the above ingredients at Whole Foods, Asian markets, my Amazon Store. Many large markets have Asian food sections too.
  • Adjust ingredients according to taste. This recipe is more a method. Use any veggies you have on hand and you can also change the ratio of sauces according to taste preference.
  • You can toast your own sesame seeds by putting them in a wide frying pan over medium heat. Shake the pan occasionally. Seeds are done toasting in about 3-5 minutes when they are slightly browned and fragrant. Take them off the heat and let cool. Store in a tightly covered jar at room temperature.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dry Quinoa, prepare according to package directions
  • 2 cups Snow Peas, rinsed, cut off ends
  • 1/2 cup diced Carrots
  • 14 ounces Extra Firm Organic Tofu, pat dry with paper towels and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves minced Garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce (omit this and use 3 tablespoons Tamari if you want to keep this vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Seeds

OPTIONAL GARNISH

METHOD

Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside.

In a medium bowl make sauce by combining garlic, tamari, mirin, fish sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds. Add tofu pieces to sauce and let sit a few minutes to absorb flavors. Pre heat a wok or large non stick fry pan over medium high heat. Carefully add carrots and tofu-sauce mixture to the pan/wok. Let it boil for about 6-8 minutes until the carrots soften, toss gently with tongs often. Add snow peas last. Loosely cover the pan with a lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes longer until the snow peas turn bright green but remain crispy.

Serve with quinoa. You can season the quinoa with more of the sauces if you wish and top with the above suggestions.

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{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kulsum at JourneyKitchen April 28, 2011 at 6:19 am

Oh I love to have fresh peas right out of the pod. One of my favorite snacks. Looking forward to the vegan recipes Marla. Just today I was looking for a eggless cookie recipe for friend and realized how I have never bothered with vegan baking. As usual as great and healthy recipe!

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2 Marla April 28, 2011 at 6:22 am

Kulsum: I am so excited, Monday I will be posting a vegan cookie recipe that is out of this world. It has an ingredient that I have never used before but am now addicted to. Stay tuned……The texture is amazing even without the egg.

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3 Jenny Flake April 28, 2011 at 6:24 am

You just made tofu look ridiculously good! That is a hard thing to do, loving this recipe girl!!

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4 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:58 am

Thanks Jenny! I love the challenge of taking uber healthy foods and making them shine ;)

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5 Allison [Haute Box] April 28, 2011 at 6:34 am

This looks so refreshing. I like tofu in my salads and healthy stir-frys.

p.s. I love your daughter’s tiara!

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6 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:57 am

Allison, isn’t that tiara a hoot. She loves that thing and I so enjoy watching her wear it. Not everyday we can be a princess, well I guess you can when you are 7.
Love my tofu in salads too.

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7 Amanda April 28, 2011 at 6:51 am

I seriously want to send my kids to live with you. They would be SO healthy and happy! :)

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8 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

Amanda: Ya think?? After that great cooking they are used to at your place I am sure they would look at me like a total weirdo ;)

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9 Kristen April 28, 2011 at 7:00 am

I love your recipe creation, but I love your kids pics even more. What a great Easter you had!

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10 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:55 am

Kristen: Thanks so much my friend. The photos of your kids are always gorgeous too! xo

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11 Georgia Pellegrini April 28, 2011 at 7:17 am

I really love tofu. Even thought people think of me as such a meat eater I actually eat a lot of tofu… when the hunt doesn’t go well ; ) Do you have any thoughts on the reports that soy isn’t so great for you? I can’t tell who is right. I supposed everything in moderation!

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12 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

Georgia, I am with you-everything in moderation is something I live by. As you know I LOVE to eat my meats, cheese & butter. Just in mindful portion sizes. As far as the soy thing goes, we do not eat it very often. All that phyto estrogen stuff concerns me too. The one thing they always say is to be sure to purchase non-GMO soy. For variety it is great to have this stashed in the fridge – as you said for those sketchy hunting days.
By the way are you ever gonna take down a bison? If so save me some meat ;)

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13 Rosa April 28, 2011 at 7:18 am

It looks like your children had a wonderful Easter!

That healthy dish must be very enjoyable!

Cheers,

Rosa

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14 Katrina April 28, 2011 at 7:31 am

Yum! This sounds like the perfect dinner!

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15 Maris (In Good taste) April 28, 2011 at 7:56 am

Your pictures are fantastic and your kids are absolutely adorable!

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16 Marla April 28, 2011 at 9:07 am

Awww, thanks Maris. I will always remember these special times, I hope they do too :)

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17 Lara @ six times the yum April 28, 2011 at 8:14 am

Yum! This love healthy Asian-inspired meals, especially fresh ones during the summer! This looks fantastic!

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18 Morgan @ moments of mmm April 28, 2011 at 8:43 am

I was so excited as well when I saw peas again at the farmers market! I love to eat them raw with a dip in some hummus. So delicious! :)

This dish looks yummy as well. I’ve tried a few tofu recipes to convince the boyfriend it really can be tasty, but no luck yet. So, maybe this one will be my last chance.

Love the pictures of your children egg hunting! Amazing memories.

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19 Marla April 28, 2011 at 8:48 am

Morgan, oh I do hope you can convince your boyfriend that tofu can be super yummy. I love the extra firm variety, it reminds me the most of meat based meals. It also has more flavor and staying power. Let me know how it goes. So happy I could share those Easter memories of my kids with you guys :)

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20 janet April 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

Oooh. love the pics of this gorgeous dish! I love Japanese cuisine, so this looks right up my alley, complete with quinoa as a whole grain. Love it! :)

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21 Nutmeg Nanny April 28, 2011 at 11:12 am

This looks amazing, flavorful, healthy and delicious.

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22 Maria April 28, 2011 at 11:40 am

Great dish. Fresh, healthy, and flavorful!

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23 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Love the tofu recipe and the pics. I adore snap peas and peapods and in tofu and stir frys, they are a must-have. I cook tofu lots…I recently did a big Tofu Tips Post. Quite extensive b/c I always get people who write to me telling me their tofu didnt turn out or they dont like it..which I have remedies for, including great marinades as yours is! It sounds stellar.

Love the pics of your kids…just beautiful!!!

And the napkin/linen with the tofu, perfect photography and styling!

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24 Marla April 29, 2011 at 5:52 am

Averie: LOVED your tofu tips post. Very informative and helpful. Thanks for your sweet comments on my photography, always appreciated!

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25 FoodFitnessFreshair April 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I love these kinds of meals! They’re simple, healthy, light, and delicious. Beautiful display.

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26 Katie April 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Yum, yum in my mouth NOW please!
That tofu dish looks so darn good.

I love a good tofu recipe. and this one looks different.
Definitely need to try it out.

Thank you!

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27 Faith April 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

What a beautiful dish, Marla! It really pops with color and nutrition…love those spring veggies! By the way, the pics of your kiddos at the Easter egg hunt are adorable! XO

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28 Jeanette April 28, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Marla, what a nice light healthy dish, and high in protein. Love the dressing and the optional garnishes! Can’t wait to see your vegan guest posts!

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29 Melissa April 28, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Love this beautiful post with those precious kiddos!

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30 Kat @ Cupcake Kat April 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I love quinoa but I had no idea that it was actually a seed! Quinoa and tofu is a great combo. It looks like your kids had so much fun on Easter I love her Tiara

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31 Courtney April 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm

This looks so, so good! Quick, simple, and healthy. It might be the dish to turn my husband on to tofu, just maybe. :)

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32 Maria @ Scandifoodie April 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm

I love tofu and quinoa, this recipe sounds so perfect Marla!

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33 Clair April 29, 2011 at 4:58 am

Yummy! I rarely comment just to say a recipe looks good, but this looks SO good! Thanks!

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34 Marla April 29, 2011 at 5:15 am

Thanks Clair! Glad you took the time to do so.

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35 Barbara @ Modern Comfort Food April 29, 2011 at 5:36 am

This looks so fresh and delicious, Marla. My only regret is that the organic snow peas and sugar snap peas in my garden just pooped out in the summer-like heat we’re already having. Can’t wait to try this with store-bought, though.

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36 Marla April 29, 2011 at 5:49 am

Barbara: I know how much you love to pull fresh fruits and veggies from your garden. Sorry to hear about your peas this season. I bet something else out there will more than make up for those dud peas ;)

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37 Lori @ RecipeGirl April 29, 2011 at 6:26 am

I’ve never, ever experimented with tofu. I suppose I should branch out since your dish looks so yummy! Your kids are too cute. See ya at camp!

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38 Cookin' Canuck April 29, 2011 at 6:57 am

What wonderful photos of your sweet kids! This is a wonderful dish for a meatless meal. Can’t wait to see you later today!

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39 Tracy April 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

I’ve never had tofu, but this dish makes me want to try it! Lovely!

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40 Angie April 29, 2011 at 7:38 am

Your daughter with her tiara, so freakin cute! I just want to pinch her little cheeks. And your son too, so handsome. And the recipe looks amazing too

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41 Heavenly Housewife April 29, 2011 at 8:34 am

Thanks for sharing this great recipe. I know so little about tofu, but i do know that its super good for you, and I’d like to learn how to cook with it.
*kisses* HH

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42 Lora @cakeduchess April 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

I haven’t had tofu in a while and this looks so healthy.Love how you added yummy quinoa:)Have a wonderful weekend, Marla:)xo

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43 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking April 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

Marla, your kids are so precious! Great photos from Easter and a wonderful recipe to compliment them. This looks so fresh, healthy and wholesome. After a long winter of heavy meals, my tummy is craving something like this! Thanks for sharing, and have a great weekend.

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44 Marla April 30, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Georgia: I do love the complex heavy flavors & spices of winter, but Spring ingredients are a fun change. Thanks for your sweet words about my kiddos. xo

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45 Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner April 29, 2011 at 11:48 am

I LOVE THIS!!! :D

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46 Heather @ Get Healthy With Heather April 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Your daughter looks like such a princess! Love it :)

The fresh snap peas look mouthwatering. I must hit up our farmers market ASAP and find some.

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47 Marla April 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Thanks Heather, she certainly felt like one. They had a wonderful day. Gotta say the holidays are extra special with my sweeties :)

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48 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella April 29, 2011 at 9:28 pm

Sesame is a gorgeous flavour to go with tofu! :D But I love the outdoor kids pictures the most. You’ve got such vibrant and happy kids!

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49 Marla April 30, 2011 at 5:31 am

Thanks Lorraine! I think they need to come visit you in Aussie one day ;)

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50 Joanne April 30, 2011 at 4:14 am

The kids look adorable and like they had a super fun Easter!

I love a good, quick, easy and veggie-ful tofu dish and this one does NOT fail to please! Definitely makes me feel like spring is here when I see a dish full of snow peas!

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51 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen April 30, 2011 at 5:07 am

I hadn’t thought of substituting quinoa for brown rice before, I like the idea! I like the light fluffy texture of quinoa, it’s not as heavy as rice.

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52 Marla April 30, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Sylvie: I am going to start using quinoa more, in sweet and savory recipes. It is so versatile and super cool that it is gluten free too.

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53 Marci April 30, 2011 at 7:50 am

This one looks really lovely and simple. I call them easy weeknight meals. It’s nice to see things other than baked goods, although I drool over those always.

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54 Marla April 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

Marci: Easy weeknight meals are essential over here, especially ones that I can prepare ahead and re-heat when needed. Glad to read you always like the baked goods too. Many more of those coming up in the next few weeks.

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55 Autumn @ Good Eats Girl April 30, 2011 at 10:46 am

I love dishes like these! this looks amazing…I’m going to try it soon!

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56 Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets April 30, 2011 at 4:48 pm

I love tofu! This looks so fresh and healthy and perfect for spring!

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57 SMITH BITES!! May 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

i’d had an aversion to tofu for a looonnngggg time but am now a HUGE fan – always have a stash in the fridge so we can whip up dishes like this one!

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58 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. May 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

looks fabulous!

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59 Shaina May 1, 2011 at 4:56 pm

What a perfect way to celebrate spring vegetables!

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60 Jennifer (Savor) May 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Must start experimenting more with tofu. Thanks for the inspiration.

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61 Clinton May 10, 2011 at 7:18 am

I won’t lie… I’m not a tofu man. But I LOVE the photos!

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