Simple Spicy Green Beans and Tofu

Two  months ago, Steven and I bought a house. We’d been looking for for something old, with lots of character, in the country(ish).

We bought an early ’70s midcentury-inspired, contemporary-as-all-heck house in the suburbs. And we love it.

What I love perhaps most of all is having a beautiful backyard where I can garden and my pups can hang out. My wonderful parents came down to help us move, and my dad built us two raised garden beds. He also brought plants galore and taught me all about the best ways to transplant various little plantlings. (It pays to have a master gardener who spends most of his free time at a greenhouse for a dad!) We planted relatively late in the season and had a little deer-eating-all-the-baby-tomatoes incident, but things are finally starting to pick up out there. I have more basil than I know what to do with, and everything is coming in beautifully. I love it. Just look at these sweet filius blue peppers — aren’t they cute?!

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Cutest lil peppers that you ever did see.

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I also love living a mile from a wonderful weekend farmers’ market. On Saturday mornings, I walk over to the market to stock up on lush fresh veg and fruit, then treat myself to a cold-brew coffee from Brewing Good Coffee Co., a local craft coffee roaster that just happens to be run by vegans. (Their motto is “Drink coffee. Save animals.” Done.) By the time I get home, I’m extra sweaty from being weighed down by all that veggie goodness, but at least I’m caffeinated!

This Saturday, I picked up a big ol’ carton of green beans and knew I had to gobble them up right away. They starred in a spicy dish alongside some tofu and hot peppers from the garden (not the ones in the photo above). I finished everything off with a nice spicy sauce and served over brown rice. Yes, this recipe is super simple — in fact, it’s barely a recipe at all. But this time of year, when all this gorgeous produce is in its prime, I like meals that are simple enough to let the veggies shine. Plus, who wants to spend hours in the kitchen when the sun is shining and you’ve got a backyard calling your name?! :)

Green beans and tofu star in this simple, spicy vegan dinner.

Simple Spicy Green Beans & Tofu
Serves 2-3

  • 1 T coconut oil
  • 1 T freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small purple cayenne hot peppers, diced OR 1-2 t dried red pepper flakes*
  • 2 T low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 lb green beans, chopped or snapped into roughly 1″ pieces

Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the ginger, garlic, and pepper/pepper flakes. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the garlic starts to brown, then add the tofu.

Cook the tofu over medium-low for 7-10 minutes, turning every few minutes, until the cubes start to get crispy and golden. Keep the heat on medium-low so the tofu doesn’t burn.

Add the green beans to the saucepan and cover. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.

Remove the lid and pour in the sauce. Stir to coat, and cook for another minute or two until the sauce is absorbed. Serve immediately over brown rice.

*You can really use any fresh hot pepper you’d like — I just happened to have two of these little guys ripe and ready to go.

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What’s your favorite easy summer veg-forward dinner?

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies.

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Easy Cheesy Broccoli & Brown Rice Bake

Well! Hello. For once, my extended absence wasn’t due to good ol’ fashioned laziness. No, this time a minor apartment flood situation kept me from blogging. Our upstairs neighbor’s sprinklers went off, and they leaked straight through her floors and into our living room. S and I rushed home from work and found that though the damage wasn’t terrible—nothing major was damaged, and our furniture is all fine—our ceiling was not in good shape. That same night, a cleanup crew tore up our floor (apparently the water could damage the laminate) and pulled down our ceiling. They left us with about seven industrial-strength fans, two huge dehumidifiers (complete with tubes snaking to our sink to drain the water), and strict instructions not to open the windows, no matter how hot it got.

Kitchen floor and fansa

Our poor kitchen in total disarray!

Well. It got hot. Like, 95˚ hot. That heat, combined with the lack of flooring/ceiling and the constant loudness of the fans and dehydrators, sent us scurrying to S’s mom’s house, where we stayed for nearly a week. Now, about two weeks out, the fans are gone, the water is gone… and our ceilings and floors are still gone.

Ceiling

So industrial chic.

We’re anxiously waiting for a contractor to come out and assess the damage and set up a time to fix things. We’ve mostly been holed up in our bedroom and in the kitchen for now, crossing our fingers that things are resolved soon. (It’s a tricky situation involving two insurance companies, two landlords, and us basically reduced to twiddling our thumbs while we wait.)

BUT. In the hopes of restoring some normalcy, we’ve gotten back to cooking. Our first night back in the apartment, I was determined to make something easy and nourishing. This brown rice and broccoli bake is exactly that. It’s easy as can be, especially if you cook the brown rice in advance. Lots of broccoli-rice dishes require pre-blanching the broccoli or sautéing garlic and onions, but I was in no mood for that many steps when I made this dinner. No, this dish is just about as simple as it gets. You pretty much just mix brown rice and broccoli in a casserole dish and stir it up with a basic cheesy sauce. Easy peasy.

Easy Cheesy Brown Rice & Broccoli Bake

Easy Cheesy Broccoli & Brown Rice Bake
Serves three

  • One large head broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 3 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (and an optional additional 1/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • A few shakes or twists black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons Earth Balance (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

Prepare a small* casserole or baking dish by spraying it with oil. Add the brown rice and broccoli florets directly to the dish and stir to combine.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the almond milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper and whisk until combined. Pour about 3/4 of the sauce over the rice and broccoli mixture, reserving about 1/4. Stir gently so that the mixture is coated. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and stir. Dot with the Earth Balance. If the casserole is looking dry, add the additional 1/4 cup almond milk. Return to oven (uncovered), and bake for another 10 minutes, then remove from oven and pour the remaining sauce over the top. Eat!

*I use a vintage Pyrex casserole dish that’s about 11.5″ x 6.5″ . That’s not exactly a standard size, but it seems to be a 1.5 quart dish.

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I’ve made this dish twice since we’ve returned to the apartment. It’s comforting and homey—just what I need when my actual home is torn up. Here’s to hoping we get things figured out soon!

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies.