No Meat Zone Recipes: Soyaki Tofu with Carrots and Kale

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I’m signing the lease on a new place today (an adorable cottage downtown), and it’s gotten to be that time: time to eat every random thing left in the fridge and cabinets before moving. By the weekend, I’m sure I’ll be drizzling veganaise over stale Cheerios, but the situation is not yet that dire. I wanted to get a jump start on using up all the random condiments accumulated in the back of the fridge while there was still yummy food left to enhance with said condiments.

First on the proverbial chopping block: a bottle of Soyaki sauce from Trader Joe’s, purchased by either Emily or Amy at least three months ago and deemed too unimportant to pack for their cross-country flights. Trader Joe’s has a fun (and arguably racially insensitive) marketing campaign that involves changing the name “Trader Joe” to reflect the nationality of certain foods. So the label of Trader Joe’s brand tortilla chips, for example, reads “Trader Jose,” while that of a bag of bagels is instead “Baker Josef.” This Soyaki sauce was confused, I guess, because the front label read “Trader Joe San” but the back label read “Trader Ming.” No matter. It was brought to me by Trader Joe San and/or Trader Ming – all the way from Japan or possibly China – and I was by no means going to waste it.

The description on the label said, “a unique teriyaki sauce and marinade for meat, poultry, fish, tofu, and vegetables.” Well, two out of five ain’t bad. I had tofu and vegetables!

Katie and I got to work inventing our dinner. Here’s what we used:

1 block firm, sprouted tofu
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 bunches kale, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce, to taste

I wrote “to taste,” but I just used up all that was left of the Soyaki sauce. That was, after all, the whole point of making this recipe.

I’ve learned my lesson about tofu; I know to grill it on its own before mixing it in with other ingredients. That way you can evenly brown it and not worry about it falling apart all over the place. I cut the tofu into half-inch cubes and cooked it in some olive oil.

Meanwhile, we sautéed the carrots and garlic (also in olive oil in my wok). Once the carrots were cooked, we added the kale. We had to transfer the whole operation to a big pot, since the kale took up so much space at first. Whenever I stir fry things with kale, I’m worried the whole dish is going to be overwhelmed by all that kale. But this time, it cooked down so much that two bunches ended up being about right, in my opinion. Katie disagrees - she recommends using just one bunch - but she is not crazy about kale in general.

Once the tofu had browned itself evenly, we added it in with the veggies and poured the rest of the Soyaki sauce over the whole thing.

Here’s what it looked like:

The best part about it was the combination of textures: almonds, carrots, kale, and tofu. Oh, and also that I don’t have to pack up and take to my new apartment the racially ambiguous Soyaki sauce.

Meghan Joyce | Facebook 
Meghan has been a vegan for a few months and blogs about it at She's a PhD student in musicology, an opera singer, and a yoga enthusiast who loves eating and loves the world.

Photo credit: Meghan

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