Take a Break from Leftovers with Szechuan Brussels Sprouts!
Happy Post Thanksgiving Week! I know, it’s always hard to get back to work and life after the long weekend. After the weeks of dreaming of the tastes of the Holiday, we had our big day.
The day has its familiar arc. All the lists, all the shopping and planning over the week finally come to fruition on one busy day. I usually wake up thinking about the timing of it all, going over my plans and doing my mental checklist. Do what can be done ahead, think about oven space, try to sneak in a nap and a shower before the meal. Then, the last minute press to get everything on the table, hot and on time.
The meal itself is the peak of the day, the high point before the descent into table clearing, leftover packing, and dishwashing. That can be a s fun as you make it, and of course, you have those great leftovers.
But once you get tired of eating stuffing sandwiches and figuring out how to make leftovers into mashed potato cakes and soup, your palate wants a little kick. I know I crave something anti-Thanksgiving in tone. Spicy, laced with soy sauce, ginger and garlic. No sage or sweet potatoes. I want Szechuan.
Since I had some lovely brussels sprouts in the crisper, I thought it would be fun to match their sweet, cabbagey flavor with some tangy black bean sauce. Especially since we had maple roasted sprouts on Thanksgiving, these needed to have a different identity. So, I stirred up a sauce with lots of umami boosters, tamari, black bean sauce, toasted sesame oil. I had some Wildwood sprouted tofu, the tofu so firm you don’t need to press. It’s easily cubed, and the cubes don’t break up, even in a relatively low-oil stir-fry.
So, if you are craving a break from gravy and green bean casserole, give this a try.
Time to slap those sleepy tastebuds back to life. The Holiday can’t last forever.
Szechuan Tofu and Brussels Sprouts on Whole Wheat or Brown Rice Angelhair
1 pound extra firm tofu ( I used Wildwood) cut in small cubes
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely julienned
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons palm sugar or other sweetener
2 tablespoons black bean sauce (check to make sure it’s gf if needed)
2 tablespoons wheat free tamari
2 tablespoons Shao Xing rice wine or dry sherry
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons canola or other neutral, high heat oil
1 pound whole wheat angelhair pasta (or gf pasta or noodles)
chopped toasted cashews, if desired
Put on a pot of water to boil the pasta or noodles. Prep the tofu, put in one pile, prep the vegetables, put in another pile. Chop the ginger and garlic and put in a cup. In another cup, stir the palm sugar or sweetener, black bean sauce, tamari, rice wine and sesame oil.
Heat a wok over high heat. Drizzle in the canola oil and tilt the pan to coat. Add the tofu and start stirring. Add the red pepper flakes and stir fry the tofu until it starts to brown, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetables and keep stirring, let it sit for a few seconds to get nice browned spots on the sprouts. Cook the pasta while stirring. Drain and toss with a few drops of sesame oil.
When the veggies are crisp tender, stir in the ginger and garlic, stir, and then add the black bean mixture and stir. Spread the hot noodles on a platter and top with hot tofu, and sprinkle with chopped cashews if using. Serve hot.