Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tofu & Broccoli with Israeli Couscous

Upon learning that I am a vegetarian, people generally ask me something along the lines of, "Well, if you don't eat meat - then what do you eat?" They scratch their heads with a perplexed look on their face and reveal an ever so commonly held misconception, which goes something like, "I need meat to survive and stay healthy and active." Come to think of it, back in my days as a ravenous carnivore I wondered the very same thing. One of the main reasons I started this blog was to answer that question, and shed a little light on what this vegetarian/vegan prepares on the reg to stay nutritiously hooked up and flavorfully well-fed.

This dish is most definitely a staple of my diet. It is so unbelievably tasty and easy to prepare, as well as being crazy healthy and energizing. I make it again and again and never grow tired of the exciting burst of flavor and the happy tummy it gives me. It is a great one to share with meat eaters, simply because it's friggin' delicious...

The secret weapon here is ginger powder. I'll grate some fresh ginger in the pan if I have it, but the powder gives it just the right amount of zing to create the perfect balance to the sweet, tangy Soyaki and the fire of an Asian chili paste like Sriracha.
Tofu & Broccoli with Israeli Couscous

1 cup Israeli Couscous
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
cooking oil
5 oz. extra firm tofu, cubed
lots of broccoli, chopped into florets
3-4 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tbsp Soyaki or similar sauce/marinade
2 tsp ginger powder or fresh mined ginger
1 tsp Sriracha or other Asian chili paste
pepper to taste

Although this goes great with quinoa, rice, etc., I prefer serving it with Israeli Couscous. In Israel, they call it Ptit Tim (peTeet Teem), and it's damn good. They now carry it at Trader Joe's and I think you can find it in most supermarkets.

Put the dry couscous in a small pot with a tablespoon or so of oil and put it over low to medium heat. Shortly after turning on the flame, add the onion and garlic and let it cook uncovered, stirring frequently so it doesn't stick. When most of the couscous gets toasted and lightly browned, add just enough boiling water to completely cover it and put it over low heat with the pot covered. It should look something like this just before you add the water:

Put the tofu in a separate oiled pan over medium heat and let it cook on one side for about 5 minutes, until nice and crispy on the cooked side. Keep an eye on the couscous - it only takes a few minutes for the water to boil off, and it softens up pretty fast. When the water is gone, turn off heat, stir it up and let it sit, covered.

Flip the tofu so that every piece gets browned on both sides. After the flip, add the broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes to the pan off to one side. Pour the soyaki on top of the broccoli and sprinkle the ginger powder on everything in the pan. By now the pan will be nice and hot - it won't take as long for the tofu to brown on the other side and the broccoli will cook quickly. After just 2 or 3 minutes squirt the Sriracha on top, mix everything together in the pan, and let it cook for another minute or two.

Now, I love me some hot spice - but I don't think this dish needs a whole lot of Sriracha. There is plenty of flavor happening with the ginger and soyaki, and the heat of the chili paste can easily overpower a meal.

Put the cooked Israeli Couscous on a plate and serve the stir-fry over it, topped with some fresh ground black pepper. Sit down to eat and prepare to have your mind blown! If you're feeling super indulgent, drizzle a bit of tahini on top or add some nutritional yeast flakes. Bon appetit - or as they say in Israel, La Breeut!


  1. looks amazing! thanks for sharing!

  2. thanks, Haley! looking very much forward to watching your blog unfold - sounds like a fascinating concept :) CHEERS

  3. Israeli couscous is so good! This dish looks fabulous! Stir fried tofu with veggies is always quick and delicous. Just by throwing in other veggies and/or changing up the sauce a bit makes for a nice change sometimes.
    It's amazing how carnivores think, me being one back in the day. I always tell people that I eat more food now then I did before I was vegan. It's opened up a whole new world in regards to food. It also makes me realize that those who eat meat don't eat a varied diet, most of them anyways, but they don't see it I guess.
    Keep up the great post's I love them!

  4. OMG!! U folks have no idea how faaaaaabulous this is until you taste it. The flavors rock and I was dreaming of it all night after my first sample taste. STOP what you're doing, make a list and get to the store right now! You won't be sorry. Meat? What meat?!

    Hugsies, my funky brotha!

  5. Yeah Nell - tell it like it is!!

    Dreamitvegan - you are right on point about the varied diet. In my omnivore days it was all about stuffing myself to feel full, and most often with meals that left me feeling not so great afterwards. Now I am very conscious of what I eat and am constantly changing things up to keep it interesting and healthy...

  6. Found you through Little House of Veggies - your blog title caught my eye. This looks so delicious, I'm going to make it for my carnivorous husband this week. Luckily, he likes tofu and my stepson loves it. Looking forward to reading through more of your blog.

  7. Does the tofu need to be drained and pressed before it's used in the recipe?

  8. Draining and pressing tofu, while not absolutely necessary, always helps it cook easily and more evenly. Tofu holds a lot of water. I like to wrap it in a dishtowel and put something heavy on top of it while I chop and prepare other things.

  9. My kids love couscous + broccoli + tofu and we eat it all the time. This recipe really steps up my game. Thank you!

  10. Aww, Heather - glad to help! Thanks for stopping by, and best of luck on your healing journey!!