Cafe Sunflower, on our way out of town, where we all enjoyed their sweet & sour "chicken" dish.
The idea was fresh in my mind, but I wanted to do it without a meat substitute or any breading/frying. That said, I'm sure it would be just as yummy if you wanted to substitute some of the Gardein "chicken" tenders for the tofu.
I will not lie and say that this is the easiest dish I've ever prepared, but it was worth the effort and still came together in just over an hour. There's plenty of work to be done while the rice is cooking! That said, I did get skip the side salad. I make a huge salad for lunch and we'd been snacking on the veggie tray all day, so I let myself be lazy.
Sweet & Sour Veggies with Tofu
5 cups cooked brown rice
1 package of extra-firm tofu
4 cups broccoli florets, chopped (about one bunch)
5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 cups pineapple, chopped (about half a cored pineapple)
For the sauce:
1 cup water
1/2 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1. Cook rice according to directions (make enough to yield about 5 cups of cooked rice).
2. While the rice is cooking, make the sauce by whisking together all ingredients except for the cornstarch.
3. Drain and press the tofu, then slice into very thin strips. Place in the sauce to marinate while you chop the veggies. Also, go ahead and preheat the over to 425 degrees.
4. Slice the carrots, and steam for 10-15 minutes (they'll need a good head start on the broccoli) while you're chopping the broccoli & pineapple.
5. Using a slotted spoon, retrieve the tofu slices from the marinade. Place them in a glass baking dish, and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Then, flip the slices over and broil for an additional 10 minutes or so, watching carefully that they don't burn (you're going for nice and brown).
6. While the rice is cooking, carrots are steaming and tofu is baking, place the pineapple pieces in the sauce to marinate. Add the broccoli into the steamer, and cook until both the broccoli and carrots are tender.
7. When the veggies are done cooking, place them in a large saucepan and add the pineapple/sauce mixture, reserving about 1/4 cup of sauce. Mix the 2 tablespoons of arrowroot or cornstarch with the reserved sauce until dissolved, then pour into the saucepan with the veggies and sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
8. Onto each plate, serve a scoop of rice topped with the veggies/sauce and tofu.
I've never made anything resembling a sweet and sour dish before, so I was very happy with how it turned out. The pineapple made it very sweet, so next time, I'm going to try substituting 1/2 cup pureed pineapple for the agave.
Big Sprout - 5 sprouts
Little Sprout - 3.5 sprouts (she didn't like the pineapple)
Mama Sprout - 4.5 sprouts
Daddy Sprout - 5 sprouts