Being back in school, and getting a science degree, means taking a lot of lab classes. Unfortunately most of my labs are at really inconvenient times. I have one from 5:00-7:40 and another from 5:30-9:40, so it cuts into dinner time, especially with a 40-minute commute tacked on both ends. So I’ve had to start getting creative about meals, especially around dinner.
This meal is really easy and the various pieces can be prepared in advance so that you can just throw everything together when you get home. It’s super simple and very healthy. Both the kale and the carrot are great sources of Vitamins A and C, the Tofu is an excellent source of Iron, Calcium and Protein, and the Quinoa is very high in Magnesium, Iron and Protein. The garlic in here also helps to fight infections, so eating it is a really good precaution during winter months.
Here’s what you need:
- Package of Extra-Firm tofu
- 2 T each of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil
- 1 T each of fish sauce, rice vinegar
- 3 carrots, peeled, and cut into coins
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 onion, cut in half and then into thin slices, reserve one small piece for the quinoa
- 1 head of kale, removed from stems and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 egg (optional)
- 1 splash of olive oil (optional)
- sriracha or other hot sauce to taste
Here’s what you do:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, drain the tofu, trying to press out any liquid, then wrap the tofu in paper towels, pressing out more of the liquid.
- Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes and place in a small mixing bowl along with 1 T each of fish sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil. Allow to marinate for about 5-10 minutes then transfer to a lightly-oiled glass baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tofu is golden brown in color. Remove from oven. If making ahead of time, allow tofu to cool, then move to a container for refrigerator storage.
- Rinse the quinoa and then put in a pot. Cover with at least 3 inches of water and add in the bay leaf, small piece of onion and some salt. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until quinoa is fully cooked. Drain and remove the bay leaf.
- Meanwhile, heat the rest of the toasted sesame oil in a large frying pan and add in the carrot, onion and garlic. Cook until softened, but still a little firm. Add in the kale, tofu and the rest of the soy sauce. Cook until kale is just wilted and stir in the quinoa.
- In another frying pan, heat a small amount of olive oil and fry the egg. I like to leave the yolk a little runny, but it’s up to you how well-cooked you want it.
- Serve the egg on top of the quinoa-kale mixture and use as much sriracha or hot sauce as you want.