Weeknight Wonders: Szechuan Green Beans and Tofu Stir Fry

We have embraced our empty nest status and continue to focus on creating a less hurried lifestyle (still a struggle) and rising to the challenges of cooking for two.
Until recently, I was not sure what I felt about tofu.  Tofu is essentially mashed soybean curd.  Does that sound appetizing to me?  No, it does not.  A great substitute for meat?  I think not!  There is no comparison to the texture or flavor of meat.   So what is it about tofu that finally made me think seriously about it as a real food ingredient?  Well, you have to look at tofu, as just that, tofu. 
Tofu is a healthy ingredient loaded with calcium, iron and other micro-nutrients.   A good addition to healthy eating and it is a good source of protein.  More importantly, tofu can be marinated to add any flavor, and that is a plus.
This quickly prepared weeknight meal was pretty good and it improved tofu’s standing with me.  The extra spice provided by the Szechuan sauce made this recipe worthy of being a keeper.
Szechuan and Green Bean and Tofu Stir Fry
Serves 4
Recipe from Eating Well

1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu, drained
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 cups green beans, trimmed and cut in half
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup water, divided
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
Whisk 1/4 cup of water, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper and 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Cut tofu into 1/2-3/4-inch cubes and pat dry.  Toss the tofu in a bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons corn starch to coat.
Heat one tablespoon of oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and spread across the surface of the pan.  Let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.  Gently turn and stir.  Continue cooking and occasionally stirring, until light brown and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes more.  Transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan.  Add green beans, garlic, and ginger; cook stirring constantly for 1 minute.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup water, cover, and cook until the beans are crisp tender, 2 to 4 minutes.  Stir the reserved soy sauce mixture and pour it over the green beans.  Cook, stirring until thickened, about 1 minute.  Add the tofu and cook, stirring until heated through about 1 minute more.


18 thoughts on “Weeknight Wonders: Szechuan Green Beans and Tofu Stir Fry

  1. Totally agree about tofu!! I love it, but can totally get why people are not into it…. It does sound gross and the texture is totally weird. But this dish looks so flavorful and awesome, I bet it could convince any tofu-hater to give it a try :)Sues


  2. I must say that tofu still scares me a bit. Well, maybe 'scares me' isn't the right term, but it just doesn't sound appetizing. Granted, I think tofu has gotten a bad reputation, but still. This sounds amazing, though, and I could totally see this showing up for a weeknight dinner! Yum!


  3. Velva, I have a weird love of tofu and I love this recipe! I'm not sure I knew it was as healthy as you mentioned, but now I love it more. Will have to make this really soon. Thank you for sharing! Glad you are settling in to your empty nest and cooking for two after having a crew around is definitely a learning experience! I am one of a family of 7 (5 kids, 2 parents) My mom lives alone now and still cooks for an army. LOL


  4. This dish does sound good but it will take a lot to convince both of us that tofu is tasty! I have tried it several ways and it has not won a place in our kitchen yet!!! Have a gra week Diane


  5. I've eaten tofu when I'm out but have never cooked with it myself. I must admit I have kind of mixed feelings about it. But when used in the right recipe, it can be terrific!


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