Tofu Bento Bowls

10 Jun

A light dinner for a warm summer night.

A vegetarian take on the Japanese bento box, the containers with separate compartments usually used for  lunch to-go.

Vegetarian Times Magazine is a great resource for healthy vegetarian meals. This Tofu Bento Bowl, along with the Hearty Grain Soup With Beans and Greens and the Peanut Butter Banana Bread With Chocolate Chips are some of my favorite recipes that I tend to make over and over.

Finally, I felt satisfied with my skillet tofu skills. The secret? I drained and patted the tofu until it was nice and dry, which, as so many tofu experts preach, is the best way to ensure a great tofu product. No excess water to interfere with the heat and the sauce that flavor the tofu. I also tried not to turn the tofu very often; I just let it get nice and brown and flipped it only once or twice.

Tofu Bento Bowls

serves 6, adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine (october 2006 issue)

For some crazy reason, I did not have hot chili-garlic sauce (I know, I need to get on that asap). I omitted the chili-garlic sauce and instead used a combo of a spicy chili sesame oil and a regular dark toasted sesame oil. I also sprinkled a few red chili flakes into the mix for an added kick. 

I also used lime instead of lemon because that was what I had on-hand. 

You could also omit the yogurt in the recipe to make this a vegan meal. And if you use a gluten-free soy sauce, this could be a gluten-free meal! Boom.

Spicy Tofu

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup hot chili-garlic sauce

2 Tbsp. dark sesame oil

14-oz. extra firm tofu, cubed

5 green onions, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt

2 Tbsp. lemon juice


1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger

1 tsp. hot chili-garlic sauce

2 cups cooked brown rice

4 1/2 cups mixed baby greens

2 carrots, peeled into ribbons

1 cucumber, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 avocado, peeled and sliced

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

To make the Spicy Tofu: First, drain and pat your tofu dry. Wrap it in paper towel and put a skillet on top to ensure that the tofu dries out. Change the paper towel a few times.

While the tofu is drying, whisk together the soy sauce, chili-garlic sauce (if using), and sesame oil in a bowl. Cube the tofu and add it to the sauce mixture. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Let the pan get hot. Add the tofu in one layer and cook it for about 10 minutes, or until browned, turning occasionally. Save the remaining sauce. Cool the tofu.

Add the green onions, yogurt, and lemon juice to the remaining sauce. Toss it with the tofu.

To make the Salad: Whisk together the soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and chili-sauce in a bowl (I added some more scallions to the dressing). Mound the rice into bowls. Top with greens. Add the carrot ribbons, cucumber slices, avocado, and tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with the sauce.

Nutrition Info Per Serving: 297 calories, 12g protein, 15.5g total fat (2g sat. fat), 30g carbohydrates, 0mg cholesterol, 858mg sodium, 6g fiber, 3g sugar


One Response to “Tofu Bento Bowls”


  1. Pineapple Not-So-Fried-Rice « Figsinmybelly - June 15, 2012

    […] were calling on me this week, I’ve been craving tofu like a maniac (see my previous post on Tofu Bento Bowls). And now that I finally realize how important it is to drain and press the tofu (see recipe […]

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