March 17, 2014

Meatless Mondays Birthday Edition: Coconut Tofu with Mango Sauce and Pink Rice "Stirfry"

As promised last week, I've revised the recipes from my dad's birthday dinner, and I am so happy to share them with you today! I feel like I've been coaxing spring with my eats of late, but this one is full-on summer.

I came up with these recipes on a night that I was craving coconut. J and I have been making buddha bowls constantly. I wanted to break out of that and make something a little bit different, something that wouldn't make me think of winter. I wasn't in the mood for comfort food, I wanted a tropical escape.

We don't eat tofu that often–yep, you read that correctly, vegans can survive happily without tofu–, but we had picked some up at the store the week before. When I saw it in the fridge, I thought, “Coconut-crusted tofu!” After deciding on tofu and coconut, the rest came together quickly. I had a couple of ripe mangoes and a can of coconut milk in the fridge. Saucy perfection! Alongside the tofu, I served pink rice with sauteed red pepper and peas, a splash of lime juice, salty coconut aminos, fragrant cilantro and spicy scallions. I chilled the rice and served it at room temperature. It was fresh and flavorful and made the perfect companion to the tofu. 

Cooking Tip:

For the best results with creative meals, it really pays to have a well-stocked fridge and pantry. When you surround yourself with luscious produce of every color and condiments and spices that will enhance any meal, inspiration comes easily.

If I was going for the antithesis of winter, I think I nailed it. As soon as it took my first bite, I knew I'd have to make this again for my dad's party. And when I got rave reviews from all of the party-goers, I knew I'd have to perfect it for the blog.

These recipes are scrumptious and picky eater approved. They'll be perfect for picnics (when it finally gets warm enough here to have picnics!), and both dishes would be great to bring along to your next potluck. Whether you eat meatless on Mondays or everyday, give these recipes a spin, and see just how delicious vegan life can be. 

Coconut Tofu with Mango Sauce and Pink Rice “Stirfry”
serves 6

For the Coconut-Crusted Tofu:

-2 blocks of tofu, pressed and cut into triangles. (will make 32 pieces)
-1 cup corn meal
-1 cup coconut flakes
-1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
-3/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning
-1/4 tsp salt
-unsweetened almond milk for dredging

For the Pink Rice “Stirfry”:
-1 1/2 cups pink rice
-3 cups water
-1/2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
-1 cup diced red bell pepper
-1/2 cup frozen green peas
-1/4 cup scallions
-1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
-1 Tbsp coconut aminos
-juice of 2 limes
-1/4 tsp Old Bay seasoning

For the Mango Dipping Sauce:
-1 1/2 cups mango, chopped
-1/3 cup coconut cream*
-2 tsp brown rice vinegar
-2 tsp coconut aminos
-juice of 1 lime
-2-3 Tbsp coconut water, to thin
-red pepper flakes to taste


For the pink rice stir-fry:
-Bring to a boil 1 1/2 cups of pink rice and 3 cups of water. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes.
-In a saute pan on medium heat, melt 1/2 Tbsp of coconut oil. Saute the peppers and peas until they soften and their colors grow bright, then put them in a large mixing bowl.
-Once the rice has finished cooking, add to the bowl.
-Chop cilantro and scallions and place in the mixing bowl. Add in aminos, lime juice, Old Bay, and remaining 1 Tbsp of melted coconut oil. Stir well to combine.
-Chill in the refrigerator until no longer hot. If it is still slightly warm, that's ok. I served it at room temperature.

For the tofu:
-Press the tofu.
-While the tofu is pressing, get out a large cookie sheet and line it with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
-After the tofu has been pressed, cut it into triangles.
-Mix the corn meal, coconut flakes, sugar, Old Bay, and salt together in a bowl.
-Pour 1/2 to 1/3 cup of almond milk in another smaller bowl.
-Dip one triangle of tofu at a time into the milk, let the excess drip off, and
then toss it in the coconut breading mixture until all sides are evenly coated.
-Once they are all breaded, bake for 25 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15 minutes.

For the mango sauce:
-Add all of the mango sauce ingredients to a blender, and blend until completely smooth. If the sauce looks too thin, add more coconut water a tablespoon at a time. If it's too thick, add more cream a tablespoon at a time.

*For the coconut cream, put a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. (tip: I always have a can in my fridge which saves me from having to plan too far ahead) The coconut cream will separate from the water; the fat rises to the top. Reserve the water in the can to thin out the mango sauce.

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