When I mention that I develop vegetarian recipes, the most frequent reply is, "You must eat a lot of tofu!" However, I am actually a late adopter of tofu. I'm a texture person, and I've only recently found ways to prepare tofu that are not only easy, but result in a great taste and texture. In this recipe for Tofu and Chickpea Stir-Fry with its creamy tahini sauce, you'll find all of the above.
I like baking the tofu even when I'm going to be adding it to a stir-fry. Baking helps crisp up the outside while keeping the inside soft and tender. Add a few extra minutes in a wok with hot oil, it only gets better. Plus, baking the tofu seals in the marinated flavor, giving the tofu added depth, before adding it to the stir fry. If you don't have time to bake your own, look for packages of baked tofu in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
While the tofu is the star of the show, do not discount the tahini sauce. I could easily eat a vegetable noodle bowl smothered with the sauce every day of the week. Peanut butter is nice but the unique flavor of sesame works wonders when paired with soy sauce and ginger.
Tofu Chickpea Stir Fry with Tahini Sauce
Serves 3 to 4
For the sauce:
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup tahini
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
For the stir fry:
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
2 teaspoons ginger
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
8 ounces baked tofu, cubed (store-bought or homemade, or see Recipe Notes)
3-4 cups cooked rice or other grains (see Recipe Notes)
Toasted sesame seeds
Stir together the ingredients for the sauce and set near the stove.
In a wok or large skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add chickpeas, stirring and tossing for about 2 minutes, until the chickpeas start to pop. Stir in the minced ginger and continue to cook for one more minute.
Add the onions and the peppers to the wok along with the chickpeas and cook until onions are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Toss in the baked tofu, cooking and stirring until tofu is golden and chickpeas are browning, 4 to 6 minutes (this timing will be depend on your heat source).
Pour the tahini sauce over the tofu and cook mixture for 60 seconds, just enough time to heat the sauce. Serve over grains and top with minced chives and toasted sesame seeds.
I prefer the extra crisp and unique texture of the baked tofu. However, 8 ounces of firm tofu, pressed for 30 minutes, will also work as well.
I'll mix up the grains depending what I have on hand at the time. Picture is a mixture of quinoa and millet.