If you give me an assortment of ingredients and tell me to make dinner, you’ll likely be eating one of two cuisines, broadly interpreted. I’ll cook greens in tons of olive oil, with lightly sautéed garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes (let’s call that Italian) and serve them with pasta or eggs or bread. Or, I’ll stir-fry beef or chicken or tofu in a mixture of sugar, fish sauce, and soy sauce (let’s deem that Thai) and put it on top of rice. Standard stuff, easy, and delicious – but hardly experimental.
So, I’m grateful to my cookbook shelf, where chefs and home cooks take these ingredients I already use and put them together in ways beyond these two fallbacks.
These miso-balsamic tofu rice bowls owe their tastiness to Anna Jones, author of A Modern Way to Cook to Anna. She take soy sauce and balsamic vinegar, which I never would have mixed together, and turns them into a marinade. Mixed together in equal parts, with olive oil for richness and maple syrup for sweetness, the sauces turn into a zippy but simple seasoning for chicken or tofu. The balsamic is sweet and just a little tangy; the soy is full of umami. And since the marinade doesn’t have garlic or onion, it’s even simpler to throw together, and it has the kind of staying power where you can eat the resulting tofu or chicken again and again without the flavors becoming cloying, which sometimes happens when a marinade is really strong.
This time, I poured the marinade on tofu. I’ve been cooking under the broiler recently, and here I use it to get crispy brown edges on the tofu.
With steamed string beans, thinly cut carrots, a handful of washed lettuce from the CSA, a tahini sauce that’s as quick to whisk together as the marinade (and also includes a touch of balsamic vinegar!), and a handful of rice: the tofu becomes a filling, healthful, and colorful bowl.
- For the tofu
- 1 tablespoon Pompeian’s Organic Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 14 ounces firm tofu, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces and pressed between kitchen towels to remove moisture
- For the sauce
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 teaspoon miso
- 1 teaspoon Pompeian’s Organic Balsamic Vinegar
- juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- For the bowls
- A few handfuls of washed lettuce or arugula
- 2 carrots, washed and julienned
- Steamed green beans or another green veggie
- 4 cups of cooked white rice or another favorite grain
- Handful pumpkin or sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat the broiler. Put your oven rack on the second-to-top slot.
- In a large bowl, mix together the marinade ingredients. Add the tofu slices and very gently toss together. Let this sit while the broiler heats up.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing by stirring together all the ingredients. No need for a food processor – just add a teaspoon or two of hot water if it seems too thick to stir. Prep all the veggies you need, and cook the rice or grains if you need. ([url href=”https://biggirlssmallkitchen.com/2011/03/how-to-master-grains.html”]Here[/url] are some notes about cooking grains.)
- When the broiler’s ready, arrange the tofu in a single layer and put it in the oven. Watching carefully to be sure it doesn’t burn, cook for about 5 minutes a side, until the edges are browned and the tofu is firm.
- For each bowl, place about 1 cup of rice and arrange two pieces of tofu and some lettuce, carrots, and green beans on top. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and top with seeds. Serve more dressing on the side.
This post is part of Pompeian’s #TrendingintheKitchen campaign. Pomeeian’s organic balsamic vinegar is perfect for salad dressings and marinades. It’s made in Modena, Italy from organic grapes, which are cooked slowly and then aged in barrels. Thank you to Pompeian for sponsoring my words! All thoughts and opinions are my own.