The first time I selected tofu as my protein could have very well been my last. Thin slices of slightly rubbery and surprisingly tasteless tofu were spaced throughout my noodle and veggie stir fry. I distinctly remember feeling disappointed and resigned to the possibility that meatless meals were destined to be less than great.
Fortunately, I am stubborn and bullheaded, so I tried tofu again. And again and again. Somewhere along the line it became my protein of choice when the menu offered the option. I even find myself craving the General Tso’s or the coconut curry tofu the grocery stores I frequent put out on their daily hot bars.
While tofu is not for everyone, tofu is also not just for vegetarians. I have vegetarian-tendencies, but I still eat meat from time to time. I just never made tofu for myself because, truth be told, I was intimidated by it. I didn’t understand it.
Butter and sugar I can cream with my eyes closed. But prepare a dish with tofu? Mmm, maybe not. Would I drain and press it right? Could I make it without ruining it? Actually, how do you even cook it?
I still don’t know all the answers to that last question, but I can definitely state it is easy to bake. Easy and delicious. Spicy peanut sauce and sweet sugar snap peas deserve a lot of credit for the delicious part, but I can truly say I will return to this recipe when I’m craving a flavorful and filling dinner. Enjoy!
Spicy Peanut Tofu with Sugar Snap Peas
Yield 4 servings
- 1 package (12 or 14 ounces) firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 4 cups (about one pound) sugar snap peas, ends trimmed
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided.
- salt, to taste
- 1 heaping tablespoon creamy peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/4 cup roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
- In a large bowl, toss the sugar snap peas with the sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and a pinch of salt.
- Spread the mixture across a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- In the same (now empty) large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sriracha sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, remaining 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and lime juice.
- Cut the pressed and drained tofu into 9 equal blocks.
- Dredge the blocks of tofu through the peanut sauce and then layer across the sugar snap peas on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining peanut sauce across the whole mixture.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 25 minutes until the sugar snap peas are puckered and browned and the peanut sauce has thickened.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chopped cashews over the dish before serving. Enjoy immediately.
It is imperative to dry the tofu thoroughly. To drain and press:1. Line a plate or cutting board with two sheets of paper towels. 2. Place the tofu on top of the paper towels, then layer two more sheets of paper towels on top of the tofu and gently press down. 3. Replace the damp paper towels with dry ones, press a second time, and place a heavy plate, skillet, or cutting board on top of the whole setup. 4. Leave the tofu to press for 15 minutes.This recipe is best served immediately and shared with others as it is not all that leftover friendly. Extra portions can be reheated, but the sauce and texture is not quite the same.