Meatless Monday: Sesame Eggplant With Tofu

Vegetarians don't survive solely on tofu, but when we do eat it, it's flavorful, delicious and not at all boring.
By: Michelle Buffardi
Related To:
Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Some people assume that vegetarians eat nothing but tofu. Tofu and plain lettuce. Maybe some vegetarians chow down on bean curd all day long, but for me, it's one meatless protein that I do eat along with beans and nuts and dairy and all of that good stuff. But contrary to the belief of many, I did not stop eating meat so I could subsist on tofu alone.

That said, I do like tofu if it's prepared properly. Tofu isn't difficult to cook, but on its own it doesn't taste great (it doesn't taste like anything, actually), but it does absorb the flavors of spices, sauces or marinades quite well. You can add it to a stir-fry and it will take on the flavors of soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add it to a Thai or Indian curry and it will soak up the richly-flavored sauce. You can fry it to a crisp, French-fry-style, or slather it with barbecue sauce. Add tofu to soup and it will absorb the flavors of the broth and add interesting texture to your bowl.

Emeril's Sesame Eggplant With Tofu is a good recipe for those new to cooking with tofu -- it's quick and easy (ready in 30 minutes) and calls for simple, easy-to-find ingredients like garlic, sesame seeds and crushed red pepper that are just flavorful enough to make the tofu stand out (read: not be boring). But this one's not just for beginners; old pros will appreciate it as well as meat-loving friends who fear tofu. Next time someone makes an "oh-you-must-eat-a-lot-of-tofu" comment, give them a bowl of this and tell them, "I just eat amazing food made without meat."

Serves: 4

Total time: 30 minutes

1/2 cup peanut oil
2 pounds Japanese or Italian eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
1/2 pound firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 green onions, bottoms minced and tops sliced, reserved separately
2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dark Asian sesame oil

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large nonstick saute pan. When it is hot, add 1/2 of the eggplant and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Cook until the eggplant is nicely browned and softened, stirring as necessary to promote even browning, about 5 minutes. Add half of the green onion bottoms, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, and 1/2 tablespoon of the sesame oil. Toss to combine. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Directions

Repeat with the remaining ingredients plus the tofu.

Combine both batches in the same pan, add the green onion tops, and heat briefly until warmed through, 1 minute. Serve immediately.

More Meatless Tofu Recipes:
Keep Reading

Next Up

Meatless Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Fill bell peppers with brown rice, mashed potatoes and spices for an Indian twist on traditional stuffed peppers.

Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetables With Tofu

Don't be tempted by the drive-through; make a meatless dinner in 15 minutes instead: Indian-spiced grilled vegetables with tofu.

Meatless Monday: Easy Sesame Noodles

A combination of peanut butter, soy sauce and sesame oil gives regular old spaghetti an Asian flair in this quick and easy recipe for sesame noodles.

Meatless Monday: Red Lentil Salad

Turn quick-cooking, inexpensive and protein-packed lentils into an easy dinner salad.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Thai Sweet Potato-Ginger Soup

Bobby Deen's Spicy Thai Sweet Potato-Ginger Soup will taste amazing for dinner tonight, but once the flavors meld overnight, it will taste even better for lunch tomorrow.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Pot Pie

The Meatless Monday cure for the rainy-day blues: Aida Mollenkamp's Vegetarian Pot Pie.

Meatless Monday: Panzanella

David Rocco's panzanella, a Tuscan tomato and bread salad, is so satisfying, you won't miss the meat at all on this Meatless Monday.

Meatless Monday: Grilled Vegetables

Grill up a bunch of vegetables tonight and eat like a king for the rest of the week; use the veggies to make pasta dishes, omelets, burritos, sandwiches and pizza.

On TV

Holy & Hungry

7:30am | 6:30c

Holy & Hungry

8:30am | 7:30c

Holy & Hungry

9:30am | 8:30c

Cheap Eats

10am | 9c

Cheap Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Cheap Eats

11am | 10c

Cheap Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Eats

12pm | 11c

Unique Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Eats

1pm | 12c

Unique Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Carnival Eats

6:30pm | 5:30c

Carnival Eats

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Carnival Eats

8pm | 7c

Carnival Eats

8:30pm | 7:30c

Carnival Eats

9:30pm | 8:30c

Carnival Eats

10pm | 9c

Carnival Eats

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Carnival Eats

12am | 11c

Carnival Eats

12:30am | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1am | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30am | 12:30c

Carnival Eats

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

Cheap Eats

New Episodes Wednesdays 10|9c

So Much Pretty Food Here