Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry + Easy Almond Butter Sauce


I promise to get to the stir fry in a second, but first a little bit of self-reflection never hurt anyone 😉

Let’s talk friends, i.e. the family that you choose for yourself, the tribe you willingly associate yourself with, the group of people who serendipitously come into your life (and sometimes back into your life), a network of people that grows roots and supports you through thick and thin. I’ve been compelled to reflect on my friendships these past few weeks – for a variety of reasons, some incredibly good and some quite unsettling. Luckily for me the unsettling bits did not originate from within my circle, but nevertheless I have been one of the affected bystanders hit with a storm of betrayal and lies. All I can say is that I am one fortunate woman to have the friends that I have. More than fortunate. Blessed, in fact, if I may use this clichĂ©d and worn-out, hashtagged to death remark. But it hasn’t always been like this.

About five years ago I ended a very long term, depleted relationship; and even though its conclusion was far overdue and inevitable, it still left me reeling and feeling lost. At that time I had a couple of genuine friendships and a handful of tenuous ones. As I recovered and adjusted to the aftermath, I engaged in new hobbies, rediscovered forgotten ones and started making connections  with people from all walks of life. In the midst of this flurry of new faces, I found those that have now solidified into friendships that I deeply treasure. I’m not gonna lie, it wasn’t easy for me at first. Over a decade since high school graduation (where I was a shy and reserved creature) I wasn’t sure HOW to make friends. Sounds ridiculous, right? But I wager that many adults just aren’t sure how to navigate the friend-making landscape. It gets a bit more complicated once you’re past the point of playing in the school yard, where a short recess spent kicking a ball around or playing hopscotch leads into the best-friends-forever realm. In any case, I guess somehow I figured it out. Five years later I am surrounded by people that make me a better person. And that’s the ultimate jackpot right there. The friendships that I have made over the last few years, as well as those that have endured the growing up years, have shown me how to be a more caring, empathetic, authentic, giving, loving, generous person. I am still learning and VERY much a work in progress. But as I reflect on the me pre-big-life-changing-breakup to the current me, it still astonishes me how much I have changed. And entirely (mostly) for the better. And all because of my tribe. I mean these people who willingly spend time with me are selflessly taking care of sick family members, raising smart and kind children, organizing care packages for those in need of a pick-me-up or some extra TLC, volunteering in their communities, reaching out to those who are isolated, and tirelessly setting an example of what a good human being should look like. It is impossible for some of that not to rub off on me. Like glitter off a princess Barbie, that stuff really sticks! And so I am grateful, and thankful, and blessed, and indebted to the universe for my friends. How did  I ever get so lucky.

And now for a clever segue to this stir fry. Well, I guess just like my friendships, this dish is uncomplicated, nourishing, deeply satisfying and rich in flavour. Kind of proud of what I just did there. Okay, please don’t leave. I promise I’m done now.

This recipe is a more formalized version of something that I have  been cooking for years – except that in the past I would just throw a bunch of dashes of this and that straight into the pan and somehow it would turn out. But people want numbers and proportions and so I nailed it down for you!


It really is a pretty simple and versatile recipe. Sub in whatever veggies you like  – mushrooms, peppers and baby corn would work beautifully. But I am partial to the sponge-like quality of broccoli which tends to hoard the tasty sauce within its abundant tendrils. Whatever veggies you choose, add the ones that cook longer first, a few minutes ahead of the others. You can easily make the almond butter sauce nut-free by subbing in tahini. If you like garlic, add some of that in along with the ginger – I’m  not a garlic-hater, but I choose to do the least amount of chopping per any recipe I make. I am chopping averse. Or maybe I just like quick recipes. 

Please let me know if you make this!! You could even just make the sauce and slather it onto whatever food you please. Like friendships, this sauce makes life better…okay, here’s the recipe finally. Who lets me write anyway?


Simple Veggie and Tofu Stir Fry + Almond Butter Sauce

Serves 3-4

Prep Time 15-20 minutes

Cook Time  20 minutes

Ingredients for Stir Fry:

1 block of extra firm tofu, cubed

1 Tablespoon coconut oil, or other neutral tasting oil

1-2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger, to taste

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons tamari

1 bunch of broccoli or cauliflower, trimmed and cut into bite-sized florets

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into desired shape

2 zucchini, sliced into desired shape

Ingredients for Almond Butter Sauce:

4 Tablespoons roasted almond butter (may be substitutes with natural peanut butter, or tahini for a nut-free version)

4 Tablespoons freshly boiled water

2 Tablespoons tamari sauce

3 Tablespoons natural rice vinegar

1 teaspoon maple or agave syrup

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)


1. In a large non-stick sauté pan or wok, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add cubed tofu and cook, stirring often, until golden brown on most sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan onto a plate.

2. Reduce heat to medium and to the same pan add minced ginger, 2 Tablespoons tamari sauce, 2 Tablespoons water and broccoli or cauliflower. Stir well and cook 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and zucchini and cook 5 more minutes.

3. While vegetables are cooking, in a medium bowl whisk almond butter and freshly boiled water with a fork until smooth, add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until combined. Adjust to taste.

4. Add almond butter sauce to the vegetables and stir to combine. Add tofu back to the pan, stir and cook 1-2 more minutes until flavours meld together. Enjoy!


Brunch Success: Tofu Scramble Wrap with Greens and Zingy Avocado

I arrived at my sister’s house for our family brunch and was immediately greeted with bacony, eggy aromas that were so very familiar
and so very delicious (I didn’t start this whole veg thing because I hated these tastes, after all!)

My stomach grumbled. All I could think was that the meal I was about to prepare for myself better not disappoint as I might just gobble down a very non-veg pumpkin pancake before being aware of my actions.

Well, I would have to say that it turned out good. Very good indeed.



 The taste was bright and the sprouts added a very fresh touch. The zingy avocado spread pulled it all together and I can’t imagine preparing this version without it.



 Tofu Scramble Wrap with Greens and Zingy Avocado

The Engevita yeast (also know as nutritional yeast) adds a savoury note to the scramble, interestingly approximating the tastes you would find on an omnivores breakfast plate. Turmeric, a vibrant burnt-orange hued spice hailing from South Asia, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, adds a golden, egg-like colour. I happened to have come across pea shoots at an organic market the day before making this, but other greens like baby spinach, arugula, cress or such can easily be substituted. The easy to make avocado spread really makes this dish sing.

Adapted from one of my go-to veg cookbooks, Fresh: New Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes from the Award-winning Fresh Restaurants

Servings: 4

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

1 block firm tofu, crumbled

2 Tbsp Engevita yeast

1 tsp dried oregano

pinch of turmeric

Ÿ tsp salt

fresh ground pepper

œ cup water

2 avocados

3 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)

4 whole grain tortillas

2 large handfuls of pea shoots (or other tender greens), tossed with a tiny drizzle of olive oil and a squirt of  lemon juice

1 cup fresh sprouts (I had some home-grown broccoli sprouts, but any will do), optional

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sautee onion until softened and starting to colour. Add the crumbled tofu and stir about for a minute or two.

In a small bowl combine the yeast, oregano, turmeric, salt and pepper with the water and whisk with a fork until smooth. Pour over the tofu and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and let cook until all the liquid has evaporated.

Mash the avocado with the lemon juice, add salt and pepper to taste. Dress the greens.

To assemble, divide the avocado mixture amongst the four tortillas, top with the tofu scramble, sprouts and greens. Roll up and enjoy!


 My brothers feedback: you could fool a meat eater into ingesting tofu with this wrap. I’ll take that as a compliment 🙂

A few other family members tried a bite and conceded they would have some, that is if they weren’t so full already. I am so going to hold them to that!

After I finished the wrap, as I sat around watching my family devour pancakes, I decided I wanted to finish off my meal with something sweet too. I toasted up some Silver Hills Squirrely bread, slathered it with all natural peanut butter, topped with a mountain of fruit and drizzled with maple syrup.


Yum! Feel free to lick the screen. I think this was quite ingenious on my part, wouldn’t you say?

"Pancake" - 2Well, enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I’m off to mope…Sunday afternoons remind me that work is just around the corner.


P.S. Here’s a peek at those home-grown broccoli sprouts I mentioned. Oddly satisfying to have cultivated something delicious and nutritious from a hard, unimpressive, tiny seed.

IMG_1054Anyone want to learn how to sprout??

1st Vegan Challenge…Accepted!

Barely a week into my vegan way of life and I am being faced with a challenge. We often do a family breakfast/brunch on Sundays, a way to reconnect with everyone and hang out with the awesome, fascinating, entertaining kids in the family (two of my nephews and a niece; aged 19mos, almost 2 and 5). Inevitably the gathering ends with three or four consecutive plays of Gangnam Style (I swear we have contributed a large chunk to the billion plus YouTube views that video has garnered.)

This meal 99.9% of the time consists of eggs, bacon and pancakes. My sister, the host of this weeks gathering, BBMed me today wondering what in the world I would be eating. Remember: my sister and bro are eating milk and eggs, so the only component they’re going to have to do without is bacon…not so for me. Essentially the entire meal is verboten as per the vegan manifesto.

I responded by saying that I would bring something vegan and edible. My mom, who had at this point joined the BBM conversation, stated (using no less than three exclamation marks): “just not the tempeh bacon!!!”

Apparently she is still scarred by my (clearly failed) attempt to make a non-meat version of the breakfast staple. This happened almost a year ago. In her kitchen. She claims that to this day she can smell the botched results. It has taken me this long to admit that, yes mom, that whole experiment didn’t fare so well. So there.

Well, my family, you’re in luck. There will be no tempeh bacon resurrection. But I will bring something vegan. Something daring. Something new. I am now considering my many options, but I think I am going to settle on a tofu scramble. I’ve perused a few recipes and if all goes well I envision wrapping it up in a tortilla with some Daiya cheese, veg and other tasty accoutrements..

So stay tuned! Sunday I will reveal my family’s reaction. Good or bad.

Yay for Friday!


BYOL – Bring Your Own Lunch

Happy Tuesday!

Just finished my lunch….I had been thinking about devouring it since about 9:33am. Last night I made sweet potato fries (will post a recipe for that soon) and crispy breaded tofu from one of my new fave vegan blogs, Oh She Glows. Do check it out. Looking at the delectable recipes on this site turned my “maybe I’ll try vegan” to “oh, yes, I can do this”.

Wish I had some pictures to go along with this post but it being winter (and frigid at that), it was to dark for an impromptu photo shoot last night. And I didn’t have a camera at work. Nevermind that my coworkers might think I’ve gone a bit nuts photographing my food. So I’m going to work on this and hope to entice you with some snapshots in the coming posts.

I also had some last bits of a tabbouleh I made on Saturday, as prep for our going-veg-challenge. Will post the recipe tonight, along with a pic. Here’s a little hint of what’s to come: delicious and supercharged with nutrients.

See you later!