Tempting tofu with peanut sauce

Tofu can be boring, or it can be good. It’s like life: It’s what you make of it. I usually throw some sautéed tofu in a quinoa dish with vegetables and spicy sauce, but a couple weeks ago I was browsing online and found this recipe for Seared Tofu with Spicy Peanut Sauce. It looked like an easy way to try something new, so I bookmarked it.

This recipe was easier to make than I had anticipated. It only took about 15 minutes from start to finish, and was great by itself for lunch. I only had chunky peanut butter in my cupboard, which made my sauce turn out a little thinner than it would have had I used creamy peanut butter like the recipe called for. I really liked the acidity from the vinegar. It added a nice burst of flavor to the dish.

While I’m not vegetarian or vegan, I do enjoy tofu as a way to mix up the protein in my diet. This recipe was great for that, and something I can make again.

1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu, cut into strips a little less than 1/2-inch thick
1/4 cup smooth, unsalted, natural peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
2 tablespoons vegetable or grapeseed oil

Lay out tofu strips in a single layer on a paper towel or clean dish towel. Put another clean paper towel or dish towel on top and pat well all over to remove surface moisture.

Make the peanut sauce by placing peanut butter and vinegar into a bowl and mashing with a fork until thoroughly mixed. Whisk in honey, soy sauce, and chili flakes until smooth. Set aside.

Heat a skillet or sauté pan over high heat. When pan is hot, add 2 tablespoons oil with a high smoke point. Make sure oil is covering pan and add tofu in a single layer, with room between each piece.

Cook tofu on one side until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for about another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve warm with peanut sauce available for dipping or toss with stir-fried vegetables and serve over brown rice with peanut sauce drizzle for a complete meal.

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