As my post last Thursday hinted, I’ve been on an Asian kick lately. Over the past week, I’ve cooked up plant-based takes on traditional Asian foods such as Mu Shu Veggies, Kung Pao Tempeh, and Teriyaki Tofu, courtesy of the 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East. Needless to say, I’ve been burning through ingredients such as soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and ginger as if they were going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight.
In the midst of all that, the sight of some neglected produce in my kitchen one night – namely, collards and a lone tomato – gave me some inspiration. As did the container of almond butter in my fridge that hadn’t seen daylight in weeks. I have no idea if my creation even remotely qualifies as Asian, but it’s got soy sauce (in this case, tamari, which was on sale at Whole Foods), sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, so it’s a place to start.
For the collards, I recommend chiffonading them. It’s my go-to way to prepare collards and means you stack the leaves like sheets of paper on top of each other, roll the stack tightly, and slice the roll real thin. (One of these days, I’ll do a demo video for ya.) This way, the collards end up in thin strips and cook faster. After I chop the collards, I wash them in my trusty salad spinner. When it comes to greens, I typically find it easier to chop-then-wash. Personal preference. For the tomato, I used a plum tomato because it is less juicy than a regular tomato.
I served this over quinoa and it worked well. Don’t forget to squeeze some lime juice over the top once you’ve got it served up as the lime adds brightness to the dish and complements the nutty flavor.
Time: 35 minutes
1 t sesame oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 t ginger, minced
1 plum tomato, chopped
2 cups collards, chopped
1/4 t salt
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/2 of a 14-oz block of extra-firm tofu, diced to 1/2-inch pieces
1 T tamari (or soy sauce)
3 T almond butter
1 T mirin
2 t rice vinegar
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 lime, cut into 2 quarters
1. Heat the sesame oil in a medium fry pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger, turn the heat down to medium, and saute for about 4 minutes or until the onion is soft, stirring frequently.
2. Add the tomato, collards, salt, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes; the collards will start to cook down. Add the tofu and tamari and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. In a small bowl, combine the almond butter, mirin, rice vinegar, and 1-2 T of water. Stir to dissolve the almond butter. Add this sauce to the collard mixture, stir, and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
4. Taste the collards; they should be tender enough to enjoy. If you want them softer, stir and cook them a little longer. Adjust seasoning if desired. Serve over quinoa or rice and top with lime wedges and cilantro.
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