When I was growing up, tofu stir-frys were a staple in our house. At the time, being a semi-picky eater, I was less than enthused to a) have a plate full of veggies sitting in front of me or b) having white squares of soft, tasteless “meat” mixed in.
Yes, my parents tried fooling us…but no dice. We were wise to their ways.
The saving grace to the dish was the broccoli.
Like most kids, we weren’t fans of broccoli. Except when it came to stir-frys.
If you have a broccoli hater in your family, a stir-fry is totally the place to put it. Why? Because broccoli florets, with all their nooks and crannies, are the perfect vessel for sauce. Lots and lots of sauce.
I loved the sauce-soaked broccoli so much in fact, that I would save them for the very end of my meal. I would savor each and every bite.
Still to this day I can’t make a stir-fry without broccoli. It just doesn’t feel right. Nor does it taste right.
And just as much as a stir-fry without broccoli would be like out of the ordinary, a stir-fry without quinoa is even more uncommon!
It’s true…since discovering quinoa over four years ago, I haven’t served a stir-fry over rice. I just can’t bring myself to wait for the rice to cook, knowing that I’m not getting nearly as much protein or vitamins in my meal. Plus, I personally think quinoa tastes better than rice and I much prefer the texture.
And just as regular stir-frys were a regular weeknight meal for my family, you will often find me eating a quinoa stir-fry at least once per week. I love how you can add any sort of vegetable you have on hand, any mix of protein, some quinoa, a sauce, throw it in a pan and dinner is ready in under 20 minutes.
It doesn’t get much easier.
My tip for a perfect quinoa stir-fry is to start with cooled quinoa.
As you know, I like to cook a big batch of quinoa each Sunday so I can use it throughout the week in my breakfasts, lunches and dinners. I keep it in a container in my fridge and just use it as I need it.
For stir-frys I simply add the chilled quinoa directly from the container into the pan just as the vegetables are about to be done. Toss it for about a minute to help the quinoa heat up, add my sauce and cook for a few minutes more and serve.
This quinoa stir-fry is my take on the dish my parents used to serve when we were kids, but I’ve jazzed it up just a little bit.
I’ve used a spicy ginger-soy sauce, baked tofu squares, steamed broccoli, quinoa and black sesame seeds. There is a nice blend of soft and crunchy textures, the broccoli and tofu enhance the flavors by absorbing the sauce and the flavors are perfectly balanced.
It’s a fun way to spice up your weeknight meals with little effort and minimal ingredients.
Vegetarian Quinoa Stir-Fry
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the tofu into 1" cubes. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25 - 35 minutes, until tofu has crisped up. Stir it around a few times so as not to burn it.
- While tofu is baking, steam the broccoli florets. Place the florets in a steamer basket and steam until just tender. Remove from heat.
- Whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, hot sauce, rice vinegar and scallions. Set aside.
- When tofu is done baking, preheat a skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add broccoli, tofu and quinoa and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until warm. Add sauce, toss to coat and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes. Add sesame seeds (if using) and stir to incorporate.
- Remove the stir-fry from the heat and transfer to bowls.
- Enjoy immediately!