Posted by: conradvisionquest | March 1, 2010

Quinoa, Tofu, and Peanut Sauce, OH MY!

Like many people out there, I have alot of preconceptions, most of them negative, about tofu.  If you told me last year that I would be making a tofu recipe in my own kitchen, I would have laughed at you with my infamous evil laugh, and said “Just grill me a steak!” 

Transforming my diet into something more compassionate has really brought to light all the little messages that we get about food from when we are little.  I can hear those voices talking to me as I go through the process of veganizing my diet.  Things like, “But vegans are weird, hippies, radical!” and “Why make things more difficult for yourself?  It’s so much easier to just go with the crowd” and “Tofu? Why don’t you just join PETA and get it overwith.  Here’s your bucket of mock blood to spill on people.”  Why do I feel that if I start to eat vegan that it will change me into the stereotype?  It’s very interesting to experience and become aware of all these voices in my head.  All the reasons (excuses) why I have not done this before are being put under the microscope, and I am examining them accordingly.

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa")

I mentioned in a previous post about this cooking video that I watched, and on it they made this tofu stir fry recipe.  I decided I would give it a try.

I made it last night, and unfortunately, all my preconceptions about tofu were not too far off the mark.  I was mainly put off by the texture.  This morning I did a little further research and read about some things I can do differently that might make it better for me.  I will try freezing and squeezing the tofu next time, which they say firms it up and makes the texture more meat-like.  However, the man liked this recipe and didn’t mind the tofu.

I also was so excited to try quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) for the first time.  It’s a grain like rice, but with much more protein.  It looks like itty bitty beads that turn transluscent when cooked.  It has a nice earthy flavor, but again, the texture of it was a little too “mushy” for me.  It really needs to be mixed in with the other ingredients, and I had it more on the side.  I will not write it off, however, and will try it again in other recipes.  This would probably be a nice addition to homemade soup.  And I love saying “quinoa!”

But the recipe wasn’t a total flop.  The peanut sauce was AMAZING!  I will definitely be making it again to use in a veggie stir fry.  And it was so simple!  Here it is…

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed
1/4-inch thick piece fresh ginger, minced (careful with the ginger, it’s potent stuff!)
3 or 4 teaspoons peanut butter
5 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

Put a small amount of water in a sauce pan and add the ginger and garlic (I used a little olive oil, too). Cook for a minute or two, then stir in the peanut butter and then the water. Stir until smooth. Add the lemon juice, tamari/soy sauce, non-dairy milk, and stir well. Keep on very low heat until ready to serve, stirring well before pouring on any recipe of vegetable loveliness. Goes great with any veggie stir fry or makes a wonderful dipping sauce!

I also mentioned the Vegan Freak and Vegetarian Food for Thought podcasts in a previous post.  I wanted to point them out again, because the more I listen to them the more I like them. They discuss a wide variety of topics that are perfect for someone like me or any vegan just starting out.  My favorite ones so far are “Top 10 Tips for Eating Vegetarian in Social Situations,” “Transitioning to a Vegan Diet,” “Replacing Eggs in Cooking,” “Common Responses to Vegetarianism”… the list goes on and on.  It’s really helping me to find my way in all this, and assert myself with this new lifestyle.

Anyhoo, that’s it for today. Try the peanut sauce and listen to some podcasts. Then let me know what you think.



  1. Yeah!!! I can’t seem to find a way to like Tofu either!! I have tried it in MANY, MANY ways, and the ending result is still the same. BLAH!!! So, I just eat lots of beans and Setai is also better.

    • yeah, i tried the freeze and squeeze trick, and it was still the same. i can see how a “tofu scramble” recipe might be good, as it has the same consistency as scrambled eggs. eric has liked it though, which is weird. next up to try is tempeh, which is less processed and seems “harder!” i’ll let you know how that goes…

  2. I’ve had awesome tofu at restaurants and tried many times to duplicate it… and many times failed. I’ve started cubing and baking the tofu for about half an hour before adding it to the stir fry. It helps give it a slightly crispy outside instead of just being mush. I’ve also heard it helps to toss it in cornstarch, but I usually end up with more cornstarch on me and the kitchen counter than on the tofu.

    Good luck! I really enjoyed reading your blobg and look forward to exploring it more. My 6-year-old is vegetarian (his choice, based on wanting to save the pandas!). While I’m proud of his decision, he does have a bit of prejudice against meat-eaters. I’m sure it’s an age thing, but I’m definitely going to use some of your words to remind him that nobody’s perfect!


    • thanks for those tips, becky! i have one more block of tofu in my freezer, so maybe i will try baking it next time. here’s a book that i’ve heard is good for parents with vegetarian kids:
      good luck with your son!

      • I had a “duh” moment over the weekend when I finally figured out that my favorite restaurant fries its tofu. I had tried frying it in the wok with no success (it always crumbled), so it didn’t even occur to me to try pan frying it! Granted, it’s not the healthiest way to eat it, but I figure tofu has enough healthiness to make up for it!

  3. re: mushy quinoa
    Did you try toasting the dry quinoa before you cooked it? This will give the grains more bite, like risotto.

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