Now I know what you’re thinking – Peanut butter and tofu? Yuck! So maybe you’re not into tofu, but really why not? If it’s a texture issue then I totally understand. If it’s a flavor issue, that is a whole other story – tofu can be any flavor you want! If you can’t get over the idea of eating tofu and peanut butter together than fine. Just think of this dish as a Thai peanut sauce served over your favorite meat and veggies.
The first time I remember making the original version of this dish I was headed to a concert in Yellow Springs with my sister, Chelsea. I don’t remember what concert or how long ago it was, but I do remember the warm feeling of summertime happiness and the delicious peanut butter noodles with veggies that would be our picnic dinner.
Now thanks to Sam’s love for peanut butter and my wonderful influence exposing him to so many new foods, (Tofu! Who would have thought?) this recipe has morphed into one of our go-to dinners. We cook up a pot of brown rice and serve it up with this peanut buttery comfort food. The best part – this recipe is totally adaptable. Use whatever veggies you want, sub out cooked chicken for the tofu, and even switch out honey for the brown sugar if you so choose. Whatever you may change, maybe you’ll find this dish makes it into your menu rotation.
Peanut Butter Tofu Stir Fry
Adapted from Ellie Krieger
1 14-oz package extra firm tofu
your choice of veggies (asparagus, onions, bell pepper, mushroom, carrots, snow peas, broccoli)
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (or crunchy if you’re into that)
1/4 – 1/3 cup soy sauce (to taste, depending on saltiness of PB)
1/3 – 1/2 cup warm water (again, to taste and depending on consistency of PB)
2 T. rice wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
2 T. brown sugar
1 inch fresh ginger (or more) minced or grated
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
To start, prep your veggies by chopping them into even sizes. We used asparagus, carrots, and mushrooms though we used to always use onions and red bell peppers. Keep in mind the texture of the vegetables when choosing what size to cut. For example carrots are crunchier than mushrooms so they will take longer to cook. If you are using both carrots and mushrooms, consider cutting the carrots smaller, add them to the pan to saute first, or enjoy the extra crunch!
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with a splash of canola oil. When hot, add veggies and cook, stirring every now and then until almost to your desired tenderness. They will cook longer when the tofu and sauce is added so unless you like soggy veggies, don’t cook them too long. You can add them one at a time if you need one to cook longer or add them all at once.
While the veggies are cooking, drain, lightly squeeze and cube your tofu.
Prepare the sauce by mixing peanut butter, soy sauce, water (start with the minimum and add more later if needed), vinegar, brown sugar, fresh ginger, lime juice, and crushed red pepper flakes. When the veggies are cooked to your liking, add cubed tofu and cook for a few minutes, stirring every now and then, until the tofu is warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Turn down the heat to a simmer and stir in your peanut butter sauce. Cook for just a few minutes, just long enough that the sauce starts to bubble. If it is too thick add additional water, carefully stirring it in so as not to splash. Remove from heat and serve over rice.