These Thai Tofu Lunch Bowls will make your work week so easy! Having something already prepared makes a healthy lunch option easy.
I love a meal that I can prep for lunch or dinner and use the leftovers for lunches for the week. When I make this recipe, I make a double batch. Between my hungry hubby, the boys and I, we eat one batch for dinner, then I pack the rest for my lunches. For the boys, I serve them a deconstructed version of the items that they like. They do not like salad at this point, so doing it this way works for us.
What is black rice?
Black rice is also known as forbidden rice. In ancient China it was called forbidden rice because it was so nutritious and unique, it was forbidden for all but royalty. Black rice gets it dark color from a pigment called anthocyanin, which is a potent antioxidant. It has a mild nutty flavor and is satisfyingly chewy. Black rice is a great source of iron and has many health benefits.
How to press and make tofu
If you have never pressed tofu before, don’t be intimidated! After you open the container and drain the water and press it gently with a kitchen towel. Next grab a fresh towel and wrap the tofu in the towel. Set a heavy pan on top of the tofu and add a few cans for more weight. This will help drain the excess water from the tofu.
For crisp tofu and to prevent sticking, use a non-stick pan for the tofu. A great option is to use cast iron. I have tried to pan fry tofu in stainless steel and it did not work well. Pre-heat your pan to medium heat and add two teaspoon of oil. Cut the tofu in 1/2 centimeter thick slices. Add tofu to the pan and sprinkle black pepper on it. Spread out the tofu so the pieces are not touching. Pan fry a few minutes until golden and flip. Cook the other side until golden.
My favorite storage containers
You will need four 4 cup containers to store your salads and four small containers for dressing. My square Pyrex containers are pretty old and I haven’t been able to find them anywhere as a set. I have also bought several sets of these 4.5 cup containers. You get 5 of them and I really love how the lids snap on. Check them out here. I use 4 oz. glass jars for the dressing. They are the perfect size and great for meal prep and to store leftovers and really come in handy. The small glass jars are sold in 4 packs and 12 packs on Amazon.
The dressing is similar to a peanut butter sauce. Initially, it will seem runny like a vinaigrette. However, once it sets in the fridge, it thickens up.
More lunch bowl recipes to try!
If you are worry you may get bored with your lunches, don’t worry! Next week you can try one of my other lunch bowl recipes. My Easy Mediterranean Lunch Bowls get rave reviews! I suggest you check that recipe out and they only take 20 minutes to make! You can also try these Roasted Veggie Lunch Bowls, Tex-Mex Lunch Bowls, Harvest Veggie Lunch Bowls and Ramen Veggie Lunch Bowls.
Thai Tofu Lunch Bowls
- 1 cup black rice
- 1 (14 ounce) package extra-firm tofu drained and pressed
- 2 hearts of romaine, washed and chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and julienned
- 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 4-6 teaspoons avocado oil
- Water (for cooking rice)
- Black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup natural peanut butter (just peanuts and salt)
- ¼ cup and 1 tablespoon Tamari (or soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 ½ tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced or grated
- ¼ teaspoon dried red pepper (optional)
- Cook rice per package instructions. I cook it in an instant pot for 22 minutes, high pressure with 1 ½ cups of water and I let it release for 10 minutes. After the rice is done, fluff it with a fork.
- If you have not drained and pressed tofu yet, drain the water and press gently with a kitchen towel or paper towel. After pressing, set on a fresh dry towel. For best results (crispier tofu), place another towel on top of the tofu. Add a heavy pan on top with a few cans from the pantry. Let sit until you are ready to pan fry. This is a step you can do earlier in the day so that things are ready when you need them. The tofu will still crisp up and will be delicious if you skip this step, but you still must drain the water and press it some with your hands.
- Chop all your veggies. Next slice tofu in small bite size pieces that are ½ centimeter thick.
- In a non-stick pan, add 2 teaspoons of oil and turn the heat up to medium. Once the pan is heated, add the sliced tofu to the pan. Make sure they are separated and not touching. Add black pepper and cook until both sides are slightly browned and crisp. Add oil as needed to cook the rest of the tofu.
- As the tofu is cooking, add the dressing ingredients to a mini food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Taste the dressing and adjust accordingly. You may like it spicy or more tart.
- Grab 4 four cup containers and evenly divide your ingredients between the bowls. Evenly divide the dressing between four small containers. When ready to eat, top with dressing and enjoy. Store in the fridge in covered containers for up to 5 days.
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