This past weekend was the first day of the season for my local farmer’s market and I came home with a basket full of treasures.
For starters, there was a whole assortment of mushrooms including one of my favourites for stir-frying called shimeji.
There was also some tender baby kale.
And a plump block of fresh tofu from our local tofu-maker.
The minute I got home, I threw it all in the skillet with some of the young dandelion greens I’d harvested in the backyard earlier, a little lemon juice, tamari sauce, olive oil, and garlic. It’s so easy I would hardly call it a “recipe” and not something I would normally think of sharing on this blog, except that it was so perfectly delicious and such a celebration of spring. So I thought, it may just be an old stand-by to me, but it may be new to someone else. So here you go!
I grew up on various incarnations of this dish. It was my mom’s go-to speedy stir-fry for lunches or dinners when she was short on time. Sometimes she would use sliced zucchini instead of greens. It’s a light and nutritious meal, and one that pairs well with cooked grains such as rice, quinoa, or kasha. It’s a deceptively simple recipe but the flavours meld together in a bold and beautiful way, each one lending a crucial component. Remove one of the ingredients and the balance of flavors is lost.
A few notes: young dandelion greens add some green bitter punch to this stir-fry and spring is the time to pick them. Even if you only have time to pick a small handful, go ahead and throw them in there, they’re very nutritious and great for your liver.
When choosing tofu for a stir-fry, I recommend a firm tofu (not extra-firm though) made from organic non-GMO soybeans. The fresher the tofu, the better it will taste, so buy a locally-made tofu if it’s available in your area. Silken tofu is great for certain recipes but it can fall apart in a stir-fry, so it’s best to use regular firm tofu which will hold its shape and absorb the flavors well. And finally, I would love to be able to say that if you don’t have tamari (or shoyu soy sauce), don’t sweat it, but this is one area I feel quite strongly about – of course you can use regular soy sauce, but the flavor will be quite different and in my opinion, not nearly as good. Tamari or shoyu soy sauce is available in health food stores or in the Asian food section of most grocery stores and I definitely recommend using them in this recipe. Having said all that, bon appétit!
Zesty Mushroom Tofu Stir Fry with Spring Greens
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 large cloves garlic
- 1 pound mushrooms (any kind)
- 1 pound block of firm organic tofu (not silken tofu)
- 1/2 pound of spring greens (young kale, spinach, dandelion greens, bok choi, etc)
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
- 2 Tbsp tamari sauce (or 3 Tbsp shoyu soy sauce)
- Optional: 1 Tbsp each chopped chives and sesame seeds, for garnish
- Slice the tofu into cubes (about half an inch in size). Place the cubes into a medium-sized bowl and add the lemon juice and tamari, mixing gently to cover the tofu. Allow the cubes to marinate for about 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Slice the mushrooms and finely chop the garlic. Place both in a skillet with the olive oil. Sauté gently over medium heat, until the mushrooms begin to release their juices and soften a bit. Add the marinated tofu, cooking for another 4 or 5 minutes. Meanwhile, roughly chop the greens and add them to the stir fry. Cook for a minute or so, until the greens have wilted but are still vibrant green in color. Taste and add a bit more tamari or lemon juice if it needs it, to suit your taste. Remove from heat.
- Serve over rice, or your favorite cooked grain, or if you prefer, with toast. Sprinkle chopped chives and sesame for garnish.
Yield: 4 servings
Aube Giroux is a food writer and filmmaker who shares her love of cooking on her farm-to-table blog, Kitchen Vignettes.
Aube is a passionate organic gardener and home cook who likes to share the stories of how food gets to our dinner plates. Her work has been shown on television and at international film festivals. Her web series has been nominated for multiple James Beard Awards for Best Video Webcast (On Location). In 2012, she was the recipient of Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog award in the video category.