Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce

Tofu, rice, peanut butter AND green beans?! Life doesn't get any better!

When I found this on the Vegetarian Times website here, I was immediately intrigued because I don’t know that many recipes using peanut butter. For many years when my mother made lunches for me for school it was a rotation between tuna fish sandwiches, honey-butter sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Eventually I got sick of peanut butter and vowed never to eat it again. I only started eating peanut butter again when I went to live in China the first year because it was something familiar in a world that was often peppered with the UNfamiliar. Although I still prefer not to eat peanut butter on a regular or obsessive basis, the occasional return of the peanut-y paste into my life is not altogether unwelcome. So Adam Love, my official Midwestern taste tester, came to chat in my kitchen and help me try the new recipe. He even washed a couple of dishes afterwards…thank you for that, Adam Love, though you know you didn’t have to do that. Anyway, the original recipe for Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce calls for okra, but I’ve never eaten okra before and it is one of those veggies that I’m not really in a hurry to try….try as I might I can’t make up my mind how I feel about it and I kind of feel as if I would really hate it. The recipe suggests substituting green beans for the okra so I tried that instead and it was really lovely. Any excuse to eat green beans is a good one in my opinion.

Baked Tofu with Peanut Sauce

2 12-oz. pkgs. extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup diced canned tomatoes, drained
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. chile-garlic sauce, such as Huy Fong
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup frozen green beans

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and place tofu slices on bottom.
3. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat.
4. Sauté onion in oil 5 to 7 minutes, or until translucent.
5. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chile-garlic sauce, and thyme, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, or until tomato paste begins to darken.
6. Stir in peanut butter, green beans, and 1 cup water, and bring to a simmer.
7. Pour peanut sauce over sliced tofu, cover with foil, and bake 5 to 7 minutes.
8. Remove foil, and bake 5 minutes more, or until heated through.

A couple notes…when I make this again I will definitely be adding in a whole cup of peanut butter as I think the peanut taste could’ve been stronger. I’ll also add in more of the garlic chili sauce next time around as this time it didn’t even seem as if there was any in there…it was not really hot at all. And if you’re a carnivore, or have a carnivore in the family, Adam and I decided that this would be absolutely perfect with chicken substituted for the tofu. I know when I make it for Jake (who is not a tofu fan) I plan to have a pan of chicken and one of tofu and split the sauce between the two and bake them both. Anyway, Happy Eating!

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