OKAY, I’m calling it California because it reminds me of California. When I was there. And I ate food there.
Truthfully, I can’t stop thinking about the food in California! We had dinner at (fine, a chain. but I didn’t know it at the time) True Food Kitchen, and it was soul-punchingly delicious. I ordered a vegan grain bowl with flash-fried tofu, crispy blanched snow peas, miso-glazed sweet potatoes, charred onion and HEMP SEED. And then I fainted at the table after one bite, and the ambulance people came and slapped me in the face and I woke up and kept eating.
Obviously I had to recreate it for you.
The food, not the story.
But I took a slightly different route.
It’s not one pan by any stretch, but it is SO SO SO worth it if you’re looking to blow out your vegetarian/vegan night.
Sorry I said blow out just now.
The tofu! It’s extra firm, and heavily pan seared. I used to be soooo impatient and bored to caskets with tofu. I mean, it’s so blah. But I figured out exactly how to do it so that Aaron doesn’t draw up divorce papers, and the tiny gremlins in my home think they’re sponge chips. And everyone is gleeful.
You have to pat the tofu dry first, and caaarefully cut it into little chunks. Some may crumble, but you’re still a good person. Get a good amount of olive oil in a pan and sear those babies for like, THREE MINUTES on one side. Let ’em sit. Don’t touch them or try and flip or scooch them around. After three minutes, flip and sear ANOTHER three. Maybe four! You have to get them good and browned and crispy before life can go on. And season well with salt! Tofu without salt is like a bad hair day. Just get back in bed already.
You’ll dust the sweet potatoes with turmeric, olive oil and salt, and roast for like 45 minutes. Along side the taters you’ll roast a red onion. Or CHAR IT. Like TFK did. I got mine dark and crispy. But you do you. If you want softer onions, I’ll be okay.
So here’s something to know. I boiled the grains for abouuuut 40 minutes, THEN transferred them to the pan for a little bit of crisping. You totally don’t have to do that. I’m not sure I even noticed that much crispiness. Just drain them and call it good.
Oh! Boil the snow peas in the boiling water before you add the grains for a couple of minutes to soften and make greens pop. Boom.
It’s just . . . unbelievable.
It’s one of those meals that is beyond balanced. Everything just SINGS together. Crispy and cool meets warm and creamy and meets grainy and seasoned meets charred and complex meets YOUR NEW LIFE.
And it’s vegetarian! Even VEGAN.
But seriously, feel free to sub in chicken if tofu makes you stabby.
Aaron gushed a river. The kids obsessed over the tofu (sponge chips!), sweet potatoes and avocado.
And me? I fainted after the first bite, and had to have ambulance people slap me in the face.
Make make make make make make make make make make make make make make make.
True Food Kitchen can EAT THIS. Hahaha! Oh.