Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tofu with Brussels Sprouts

Alternate titles:
"What to eat when The H isn't home"
"My family and friends' worst nightmare"
"How to make your friends and coworkers think you've truly gone 'round the twist"

Two of the most commonly-feared and misunderstood foods in the same dish? By choice? Awww, yeah. :) That's the kind of stuff this eating machine is made of!

I've been meaning to make this recipe from Katie at Health for the Whole Self for ages now (ok, more like the month-and-a-half since she blogged about it). Today I finally got my chance. Despite a few minor setbacks in the process, the end result was remarkable. I love having a meal that tastes like it cooked for a long time but that really was fast and easy to assemble.

Caramelized Tofu with Brussels Sprouts and Pecans
from Health for the Whole Self (via several other sources)
serves 2 generously

8oz extra firm tofu, drained, pressed to remove extra liquid, and cut into 1-inch strips
Sea salt
2 tsp olive or peanut oil, divided
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
1/3 cup chopped pecans
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb Brussels sprouts, cut into ribbons

1. Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add tofu and a pinch of salt and cook 5 minutes or until golden brown.

2. Add garlic and pecans; cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Stir in sugar and cook for another 2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro, pour into a bowl and set aside to keep warm.

5. Add remaining oil to the skillet and saute the shredded sprouts 3-5 minutes or until just browning at the edges. Add a dash of salt to taste.

6. Divide browned sprouts between two plates; top with tofu-pecan mixture. Serve hot.

My quantities of tofu and sprouts were increased (12oz and 10oz respectively) because I needed to use them up. I substituted sucanat for the brown sugar (2 tablespoons instead of the 3 called for) and used the rest of my dried ground coriander instead of fresh cilantro.

The tofu I used was the kind in a Tetra-Pak box, and even though it said "extra firm" it was not. Even after pressing. It all but fell apart when I tried to brown the second side. I'll try the plastic-boxed refrigerated kind next time.

I was also trying to start dinner at the same time (slow-cooker beef curry over brown rice) and in the process of keeping track of both entrees, managed to cut my left index finger and burn my right hand with hot oil. If I hadn't had to take time out to cool the burn and stop the bleeding (at two separate times, mind you) this would have come together even more quickly than it did. Encouragingly, the tofu stayed hot and my sprouts didn't wilt too much despite being kept warm in the skillet while I first-aided myself. I wish you a safer venture if and when you choose to make this colorful, tasty vegetarian meal!


  1. Silken tofu is an entirely different consistency than the type of tofu you probably need for this dish. Although it comes in firm & extra-firm varieties, it doens't have the same type of stir-frying or grilling capabilities as the refrigerated "regular" kind. Hth.

  2. You learn something new every day... thanks!

  3. Mmmm....That looks good! I love both tofu and brussel sprouts!

  4. I love both these foods - but no one else around me does! I save b.sprouts, tempeh, tofu, and other creations for when I know I am going to be eating alone, too :) I am pretty new to tofu, but have had good luck with the 365 brand from Whole Foods.