An Asian-inspired crispy tofu bowl with brown rice, roasted broccoli, and a dangerously delicious sauce. The perfect balance of chewy, crunchy, and rich!
We all have that one meal we turn to over and over whenever we want to make dinner but don’t want to think about making dinner – i.e. something we can cook on autopilot.
For me, it’s this crispy tofu bowl with brown rice, roasted broccoli, and peanut sauce. I know I refer to a lot of my recipes as “weeknight dinner go-to’s” (see: udon salad, massaman curry, mushroom tacos) but this bowl is really, truly the one recipe I make the most. And although it’s comprised of 4 separate elements, it takes only 45 minutes to make.
How to Make This Crispy Tofu Bowl
You start this recipe by preheating your oven and pressing the tofu (which takes about 15 minutes). While those two do their thing, you get your rice simmering in water. Then you chop up the broccoli, toss it on a baking sheet, and get it roasting.
After the rice and broccoli are taken care of, you slice up and season your tofu. And while the tofu sears in a skillet, you stir together the peanut sauce (no blender needed!). Before you know it, you’re on the couch catching up on SNL with your delicious crispy tofu bowl.
How to Make the Best Roasted Broccoli
There are a few rules to follow when making this perfectly-charred, flavorful broccoli that can convert even the biggest vegetable skeptics. The first is to roast at a high temperature: 425ºF (or 218ºC, for my friends across the pond). This ensures your broccoli will cook quickly, while maintaining a slight crunch (nobody likes mushy broccoli…).
The second is not to over-crowd the baking sheet. Veggies should always be roasted in a single layer, which helps them caramelize (and develop umami) instead of steaming. I like to roast my vegetables to the point of charring, which creates a really intense nutty flavor.
Although this recipe calls for broccoli, you can use this technique for lots of other veg, like cauliflower, Brussels, and sweet potatoes. Any of these would be delicious in this crispy tofu bowl (a.k.a. “Buddha bowl”).
How to Make Crispy Tofu
Pan-searing is one of the easiest and fastest routes to delicious tofu. One key to getting it crispy is to press it before cooking (i.e. weigh it down with something heavy, like a couple of cans from your pantry). This eliminates excess moisture and helps it develop a nice brown crust.
The second key is not to fuss with it too much while it’s searing. Be patient and resist the urge to move or flip it more than necessary – you’ll be rewarded with crispy, chewy, golden brown tofu.
How to Meal Prep This Recipe
Another great benefit of this tofu bowl recipe is that it’s entirely meal prep-able. The rice, roasted broccoli, tofu, and peanut sauce can all be cooked in advance and assembled into lunches or dinners as needed. (Everything will keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days.)
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An Asian-inspired crispy tofu bowl with brown rice, roasted broccoli, and creamy peanut sauce. Quick, simple, and delicious!
For the Bowls
- One 14-ounce block extra firm tofu
- 1 cup short-grain brown rice, rinsed
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli (about one large bunch), stalks and florets cut into bite-size pieces (See note)
- About 4 tablespoons avocado, organic canola, or refined coconut oil, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Cilantro, basil, or scallions, for garnishing
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnishing
For the Sauce
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 to 4 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Drain the tofu and place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for 15 to 30 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water.
- Place the rice in a small pot with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add 2 cups boiling water, cover tightly with a lid, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes (do not stir). Let stand covered until ready to serve.
- Place the broccoli on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Toss to coat and roast until browned, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through cooking.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the garlic, paprika, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
- Undo the tofu contraption and slice the tofu into 8 slabs; cut each slab on a diagonal, creating 16 triangles total. Arrange the triangles in an even layer on the cutting board and sprinkle with half of the spice blend.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat and add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom. Arrange the tofu in the skillet in a single layer seasoned side down. Season the other side with the remaining spice blend. Fry the tofu until the underside is golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Gently flip the triangles and cook the other side for 5 to 7 minutes more.
- Lastly, make the sauce. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients from peanut butter through curry paste and stir with a fork/whisk until smooth. Then add the water and stir until creamy.
- To serve, divide the rice among bowls and top with broccoli, tofu, cilantro, and sesame seeds. Serve with peanut sauce.
Do not toss that broccoli stalk in the trash – it’s edible! Here’s how to prep it: after cutting off the broccoli florets, slice a small piece off of the bottom of the broccoli stalk (just the dry part). Stand the stalk up and run your knife around it to peel off the stalk’s tough outer layer. Then cut the stalk into 1/4-inch-thick slices and roast along with the florets.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 505
- Carbohydrates: 56.6 g
- Fiber: 9.6 g
- Protein: 27.1 g
Keywords: grain bowl, buddha bowl, tofu, peanut sauce