Meatless dinner series: week two

Tofu can be the centerpiece of a flavorful, protein-rich main dish. Try this recipe.

Last week, we introduced the first of our alternative-protein Meatless Dinnerseries. For those of us who are suffering from chicken and salmon fatigue, Lauren Blake, R.D., proposes a series of flavorful and filling main dishes that supply a healthy dose of protein from more surprising sources. Below, our second installment:

Contrary to its reputation for being a bit meh, tofu picks up all the spices and flavors that surround it, which is part of the reason it’s a staple in Asian cuisine. This recipe gives tofu a crusting of sesame seeds, providing a crunchy texture and extra health benefits: A tablespoon of sesame seeds contains a quarter of your daily calcium needs, a mineral crucial for healthy bones, of course, but also your heart, muscles and nerves. Give this dish extra crunch and depth of flavor by toasting sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes.

Sesame-Crusted Tofu With Greens and Thai Peanut Sauce
Serves 2 to 4

For the tofu:
1 block extra-firm, water-packed tofu, pressed and sliced into 3 pieces
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of half a lime
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 inch knob ginger, diced
1/3 cup sesame seeds

For the greens:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch red kale, chopped
1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped
4 tablespoons scallions, thinly sliced

For the Thai peanut sauce:
3 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small clove garlic
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons Thai chili paste
1 tablespoon almond milk

Tofu:In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, juice, garlic and ginger. Place sesame seeds in a shallow bowl and, working one at a time, submerge tofu slices in olive oil mixture and dredge in sesame seeds. In a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and cook tofu golden brown, flipping once, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside. Greens:In same large frying pan, heat oil; sauté greens until slightly wilted, 5 minutes. Remove greens from pan and toss with remaining marinade. Thai peanut sauce:In a blender, blend soy sauce, vinegar, oil, garlic, peanut butter, chili paste and almond milk. To serve:Arrange tofu, halved, over greens, with dipping sauce and garnished with scallions.

Recipe by Lauren Blake, RD

Week One: Moroccan-Spiced Lentil Stuffed Peppers