Pan-Seared Tofu with Wilted Greens

I am a conscious consumer of soy. I enjoy the flavor, especially of fermented soy (Hello, miso!), and I don’t mind the texture of pressed tofu.  I think it’s kind of meaty – but not too meaty. I also don’t mind TVP, although I don’t use it – ever; I love chocolate soy milk (I think it tastes like Kahlua!); and, while I have yet to try temphe, I’ve had a package in the freezer forever. One of these days I’ll get around to using it in something. Least we forget the soy bean itself – perfect steamed in its pod or added to a salad. Yum. Edamame!

When I’m in the mood for soy, though, it’s usually for tofu.  (I use miso so often I don’t consider it a special occasion.) Typically, I press it for a couple of days before I use it to get as much water out of it as possible. Then, I cut it in thirds through the thickness and cut the pieces into tiny blocks. I have a favorite way to cook it, which is based on this recipe. Lately, I’ve been added pan-seared tofu to a bed of wilted greens cooked with leeks. Amazingly simple and delicious!

Pan-Seared Tofu with Wilted Greens

1 pkg extra firm tofu, pressed cubed

1 T sesame oil

2 T soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos, or coconut aminos)

1 lb greens, chopped (I love spinach or chard)

3 sm/1 lg leek, sliced

Press and cut the tofu into bite-sized chunks.

Heat a large skillet until hot. Add sesame oil. Once smoking, add tofu chunks. Do not move! Reduce heat to medium and  allow tofu to sit and pan-sear until a crust forms on the outside of the chunks. Then, turn each piece over (tongs help with this). After turning, immediately add the soy sauce. Allow tofu to sit and caramelize. Remove tofu chunks once sufficiently crunchy and delicious.

In the same pan, add a tiny bit more sesame oil (or a splash of broth or water), a splash more soy sauce if desired, and the greens and leeks. You may have to add the greens in batches until it wilts and makes room for more. Alternately, put a lid on the pan to aid in wilting of the greens. Once wilted, remove from pan. Place on large plate and top with pan-seared tofu chucks.

This whole process takes maybe 15 minutes and is packed with macro and micro nutrients.


Sesame Oil: I use sesame oil because it’s very flavorful. A little goes a long way! I’ve read you should keep your sesame oil in the fridge, so I do, but it congeals, so I have to let it sit out for a few minutes and warm up before I use it. FYI if you’re new to sesame oil.

Tofu: I know a lot of people aren’t comfortable with tofu, or experience gastrointestinal issues when they eat soy. I’ve found a little whole soy here and there doesn’t seem too extreme, and if I use sprouted tofu, I don’t have digestive issues. Again, I don’t eat tofu very often (maybe once a month – if that), but when I do, I use extra firm and sprouted. Remember to look for a brand that clearly states non-GMO and organic. Just organic doesn’t mean non-GMO and vise versa. And, since soy is one of the mostly highly genetically modified foods, don’t assume your soy is non-GMO and/or organic if it isn’t clearly labeled as such!

Soy Sauce: I typically use low sodium soy sauce or tamari. If you’re gluten-free, make sure your tamari clearly says it’s gluten-free.

Greens: Use your favorite! I love chard, and you can’t go wrong with spinach. But any green will work. Load up your pan! Greens are amazingly good for you. Indulge!

Leeks: Clean your leeks well. They’re grown in sandy soil, and the layers hide grit. Slice and dice your leeks before you clean them to remove the grit. Just soak the leeks in a tub of water, and you’re all set. You can also use green onions. I’ve done so successfully.


I’m sharing this recipe at Diet, Dessert and Dog’s Wellness Weekends.

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Tofu Two Ways | Veggie V's Vegan Adventure

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