Vegan roasted broccoli and tofu with creamy peanut sauce
You know how the last time I posted I explained how things had been so busy, I wasn’t able to post much? Well, that’s still true…but I just can’t not share this recipe. We’ve made it twice now, and I’m already planning a third time. Chef F has devoured it, and that is something. While he’s still an adventurous fruit-and-veggie-saurus, at five nearing six he’s leaning more toward fruitopia and is more particular about his produce. His preference is lots of raw and crunchy crudites, so I really can’t complain, but it can be taxing on my meal planning tendencies toward grilled, baked and stewed. All good, though. He keeps me in check and in the raw.
This recipe was inspired by a roasted broccoli dish at a restaurant called Campfire in San Diego, where my sister and her husband treated us to a feast for the senses. At the outset, the menu didn’t look necessarily straightforward, and therefore not as immediately enticing as it turned out to be. It was divided in a somewhat unconventional way, with sides designed to be shared, but not in the obvious layering of family-style dishes we’re comfortable with when it comes to Asian food. This dish…it was just roasted broccoli with peanut sauce. But oh so elevated roasted broccoli. We could have eaten bowls of it. Indeed, we shoveled it in. Trust me, no one wanted to be in the same room with each other for a bit afterward until digestion could be completed and everything settled. But let’s move on…
When we got home to Colorado, I couldn’t get that roasted broccoli out of my mind. I had to try to recreate it—knowing, of course, that I couldn’t and wouldn’t. First of all, the secret isn’t JUST in the sauce, at least not in the Campfire version. There was a good amount of oil I wasn’t going to use but was willing to devour at the restaurant. At home, it was just a liberal coating of cooking spray. And, I needed a full dinner out of it. Turns out, those requirements led to one of those rare occasions when you love the copy even more than the original!
This dish is so easy to prepare, and easy to alter. Just spread your tofu cubes and chopped broccoli in an even layer on a roasting pan and cook while you prepare the sauce. At home, the secret IS totally in the sauce. Coconut milk and peanut butter, some Thai curry paste and fresh lime juice…these quickly meld to the creamiest, smoothest sauce that is just right on the spice for all of us (though you can go ahead and add more heat with no fear). That’s all—here is where I would normally go off on a loosely linked tangent about what’s going on in life, but that’s for another day, or maybe even just a journal. For now, I just hope you enjoy this bit of simple bliss, and let me know the change-ups you choose! More ‘soon’. :)
Roasted broccoli and tofu with peanut sauce
1 ½ pounds broccoli, chopped
14oz pack extra firm tofu, cut in 3/4″ cubes
olive oil or cooking spray
cooked rice for serving
For the peanut sauce:
1 can light coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, salted (nuts and salt only, or nuts only with a pinch of salt added to taste)
1 tablespoon lime juice
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Spread tofu and broccoli on a roasting pan in a single layer and coat liberally with cooking spray. Bake for 30 minutes or until broccoli is done.
While tofu and broccoli are roasting, prepare the sauce: Place coconut milk, water, and red curry paste into a large skillet on medium heat. Simmer for 3 minutes or until it starts bubbling on the edges. Add the peanut butter and lime juice. Simmer for another 6-7 minutes stirring often.
To serve, divide tofu and broccoli in bowls (if desired, over rice), and generously top with sauce.