I have a lot of friends who are getting on the vegetarian/vegan bandwagon. I give them props. Some are doing it because of the whole animal rights thing and others think this will help them lose weight. If they stay away from too much rice, bread and pasta, they’re actually right! Either way, this is homage to them. I actually enjoy vegetarian dishes, but find, as an athlete who does something physical almost every day, it doesn’t provide me with enough protein. It IS awfully yummy, though.
There’s a bunch of different kinds of vegetarian/vegans, evidently. Ovo-lacto vegetarians don’t consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood, but do eat eggs and milk. A semi-vegetarian also consumes chicken and fish, but not red meat or pork. Then there’s the ovo OR lacto vegetarian who will eat one or the other, but not both.
My head hurts already.
At the far end of the spectrum are the vegans. They’re the strictest sub-category of vegetarians. Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. Some go as far as not even consuming honey and yeast. Guaranteed they’re not reading this column, anyway. They wouldn’t be able to make any of the recipes. All kidding aside, I do respect their convictions.
Back to the food! I was fooling around with some veggies I had gotten from the Farmer’s Market and decided to try a stir fry with some extra-firm tofu I had in the freezer instead of chicken. One of the many things I love about stir frying is the fact that you can use almost any vegetable, as long as you have a good sauce to go with it. This week’s fare at the farmer’s market was a real treat. There was not only regular sized bok choy, but baby bok choy. I prefer this size as it’s easier to cut and tends to be less tough, even after cooking. The carrots were beautiful and I got some purple ones and yellow ones. Did you know that carrots didn’t start out being orange? I learned this from a new foodie site that talks about the history of food. It’s www.shepaused4thought.com. It has some interesting food facts.
Not only do I prefer cooking fresh vegetables and produce, I like making my own sauce, as well. Don’t YOU like to know what goes in your food? Of course, I have no idea how to make Hoisin sauce from scratch, but heck, I do the best I can.
As for the tofu, feel free to substitute white meat chicken or raw shrimp, instead.
Black Bean and Tofu Stir Fry
- ½ C Hoisin sauce
- 3 tbsps low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsps rice wine vinegar
- 3 tbsps sesame oil
- 1 tbsp hot sauce or to taste (I like Sriracha)
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 4 tbsps fresh ginger, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 brick (about 1 lb) extra firm tofu, cut in 1” squares
- 2 C thinly sliced carrots
- 1 large onion
- 6 baby bok choy (or 2 large), chopped
- 8 oz snow peas
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 2 cans black beans, low sodium or rinse well.
- In a small bowl, mix hoisin, soy, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce. Set aside. In a wok or large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add tofu. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion. Sauté another 3 minutes. Add carrot, snow peas and red pepper. Sauté 4 minutes. Add bok choy. Cook 4 minutes more. Add beans and sauce. Stir and heat through-3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.