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BSI Challenge: Caramelized Tofu Over Brussels Sprouts

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Despite my affinity for vegan and vegetarian meals, I’ve never been a huge fan of tofu.  There are, however, a few tofu dishes that I really love and this one holds the #1 spot.  Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has such amazing vegetarian, whole food dishes, and everything I’ve tried from her website I’ve loved.  Not surprisingly, my second favorite tofu dish is also from her blog, the Garam Masala Tofu Scramble (I prefer to make mine with leeks in place of the fennel).

This one is a wonderful balance of savory and sweet, with the tofu crispy on the outside and the sweet pecans adding nutty crunch.  The slightly bitter edge of the brussels sprouts is offset by the brown sugar and garlic and the different flavors come together in complete harmony.

I’m submitting this recipe it to the lovely Sophia of Burp and Slurp for the BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient) challenge (she chose brussels sprouts).  Check the link if you’re interested in joining in the brussels sprouts fun!

(My apologies for the harsh picture–my eyes are watering just from looking at it a few seconds–but it’s the only one I have. It was one of the first food pictures I took and never took another after the first time I made the dish.  I will update the pic as soon as I make it again.)

Caramelized Tofu
recipe from 101cookbooks.com

7 – 8 ounces extra-firm tofu cut into thin 1-inch segments (see photo)
a couple pinches of fine-grain sea salt
a couple splashes of olive or peanut oil
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons fine-grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 lb. brussels sprouts, washed and cut into 1/8-inch wide ribbons

Cook the tofu strips in large hot skillet (or pot) with a bit of salt and a splash of oil. Saute until slightly golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and pecans, and cook for another minute. Stir in sugar. Cook for another couple of minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Scrape the tofu out onto a plate and set aside while you cook the brussels sprouts.

In the same pan (no need to wash), add a touch more oil, another pinch of salt, and dial the heat up to medium-high. When the pan is nice and hot stir in the shredded brussels sprouts. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring a couple times (but not too often) until you get some golden bits, and the rest of the sprouts are bright and delicious.

Serves 2 – 3 as a main, 4 as a side

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