Clean Eating Broccoli and Tofu or Local Beef

Our clean eating rendition of a Chinese classic, broccoli tofu, is made without refined sugar or excess salt.

The other day I was thinking about how long it's been since I cooked broccoli. I was talking to a friend and realizing that most of my meals have been focused on greens from other sources like kale or spinach.

I've never really enjoyed broccoli. To me it doesn't have much flavor and takes effort to make. One dish I love that includes broccoli can be found at most Chinese restaurants -- broccoli tofu (or beef). It's a dish I haven't had in a long time -- I don't eat out as often as I once did -- but leaves a flavor impression.

Since I've been making more Chinese inspired dishes like dumplings and Chee Cheong Fun successfully -- matching the authentic flavor -- I felt comfortable taking on broccoli and tofu.

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Ginger and garlic -- two anti-inflammatory foods -- play heavily in most of the Chinese inspired dishes I make. Soy sauce and roasted sesame oil are big partners to that pair. I've also been using more black strap molasses and maple syrup. I have to say, adding these two ingredients adds so much dimension to flavoring of homemade Chinese food that they have become a part of my essential tool kit for food inspired by the region. 

I did a quick google search to see what recipes were out there for what you might consider a basic dish. Minimalist Baker has a General Tso Tofu recipe that uses a lot of the foods I like. Genius Kitchen has another take on the classic General Tso's Broccoli + Protein theme.

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Because the food makers from the Treatmo iOS marketplace have basically awakened my cooking skills that were dormant for many years, I'm always inspired to incorporate heathy swaps into recipes to make them healthier, more local and tastier.

Here in this recipe I used Purinton Maple syrup -- this farm fresh syrup adds much more complexity to the sauce in this dish than basic sugar or even basic maple syrup. It's wood fired and farm fresh from a small family farm in Vermont.

I also added black strap molasses for a deeper dimension. The choices played out well.

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Recipe for Broccoli Tofu or Beef

  • Two heads of broccoli cut into bite size florets
  • Steak sliced into 2 1/2 inch strips (I used local beef)
  • 1 container tofu (Extra Firm, Organic)

Dry out your tofu -- drain water and place uncovered in the fridge while you're prepping the ingredients, or wrap in a clean linen towel and place a book or heavy pot on top to squeeze out excess liquid.

Directions

The fastest and easiest plan of attack is to prep ingredients ahead of time and place in separate bowls to scoop from as you go. The below ingredients are for both the marinade for your tofu or beef and sauce for your sauté pan when ready to cook. If you want to allow your protein to marinate overnight, it will be even tastier.

  • 5 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons of roasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Maple Syrup (I used Purinton Maple) 
  • 4 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 4 Tbsps diced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1 bunch (or about five) green onions (using whole onion)
  • 1 Tsp chili
  • 1 Tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp black strap molasses
  • 1 cup chili lime leaf roasted cashews (from nuts + nuts on Treatmo)

Marinade

In a bowl, whisk together your liquid ingredients including

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup

Taste and adjust to your level of sweetness. It can get too sweet, which may not be to everyone's liking. 

Next, whisk in

  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp ginger
  • 2 Tbsp garlic

Add your tofu or steak into the sauce, or both, and gently combine so the tofu doesn't break apart. Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the saturate your protein.

Cooking The Protein

Turn a stove element on medium heat. Place a sauté pan on the stove and add one tablespoon of vegetable oil, my preference is sunflower oil as it has a high smoke point, is neutral, and a healthy alternative. Add your tofu or beef and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Flipping occasionally. Your tofu should be silky and pillowy when done and all of the sauce absorbed or evaporated. 

Remove your protein and sauce and return to bowl. 

Next, to the pan add 

  • 1 Tsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil

Toss in your green onions, remaining garlic, one teaspoon of chili and red pepper flakes, and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Heat, then add your broccoli. Sprinkle on a tablespoon of cornstarch (to thicken the sauce) and toss for 3-5 minutes or until the broccoli starts to turn bright green. Then add your protein choice and combine!

Remove from heat and stir in your cup of cashews -- this is an amazing flavor and health addition. Shop nuts + nuts and maple syrup on Treatmo.

Download the Treatmo App on iTunes for convenience shopping of local natural food.