An Ode to Vegetarians

A Stir Fry for Everyone


I have a lot of friends who are getting on the vegetarian/vegan bandwagon. I give them props. Some are doing it because of the whole animal rights thing and others think this will help them lose weight. If they stay away from too much rice, bread and pasta, they’re actually right! Either way, this is homage to them. I actually enjoy vegetarian dishes, but find, as an athlete who does something physical almost every day, it doesn’t provide me with enough protein. It CAN be awfully yummy, though.
There are a bunch of different kinds of vegetarian/vegans, evidently. Ovo-lacto vegetarians don’t consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood, but do eat eggs and milk. A semi-vegetarian also consumes chicken and fish, but not red meat or pork. Then there’s the ovo OR lacto vegetarian who will eat one or the other, but not both.

My head hurts already.

 At the far end of the spectrum are the vegans. They’re the strictest sub-category of vegetarians. Vegans do not consume any animal products or by-products. Some go as far as not even consuming honey and yeast. Guaranteed they’re not reading this column, anyway. They wouldn’t be able to make any of the recipes. All kidding aside, I do respect their convictions.

Back to the food! I was fooling around with some veggies I had gotten from the Farmer’s Market and decided to try a stir fry with some extra-firm tofu I had in the freezer instead of chicken.  One of the many things I love about stir frying is the fact that you can use almost any vegetable, as long as you have a good sauce to go with it.  This week’s fare at the farmer’s market was a real treat. There was not only regular sized bok choy, but baby bok choy.  I prefer this size as it’s easier to cut and tends to be less tough, even after cooking. The carrots were beautiful and I got some purple ones and yellow ones. Did you know that carrots didn’t start out being orange? I learned this from a new foodie site that talks about the history of food.  It’s It has some interesting food facts.

Not only do I prefer cooking fresh vegetables and produce, I like making my own sauce, as well. Don’t YOU like to know what goes in your food? Of course, I have no idea how to make Hoisin sauce from scratch, but heck, I do the best I can.

As for the tofu, feel free to substitute white meat chicken or raw shrimp, instead.

Black Bean and Tofu Stir Fry

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 8
Nutritional Facts per serving:
Calories: 302                  Sodium: 601 gr           Fat: 9 gr                                                                               
Carbohydrates: 41 gr    Saturated Fat: 1 gr      Fiber: 12 gr
Cholesterol: 0               Protein: 16 gr
This dish is very low on the Glycemic Index and is a great source of fiber, folate and manganese. It’s also got a ton of vitamin A and C. Yes, the sodium is a bit high because of the low sodium soy sauce. As long as your blood pressure isn’t sky high, don’t worry about it. Just make sure you drink a ton of water the next day and you’ll get rid of any potential bloat.
½ C Hoisin sauce
3 tbsps low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsps rice wine vinegar
3 tbsps sesame oil
1 tbsp hot sauce or to taste (I like Sriracha)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 tbsps fresh ginger, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 brick (about 1 lb) extra firm tofu, cut in 1” squares
2 C thinly sliced carrots
1 large onion
6 baby bok choy (or 2 large), chopped
8 oz snow peas
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
2 cans black beans, low sodium or rinse well.

In a small bowl, mix hoisin, soy, vinegar, sesame oil and hot sauce. Set aside. In a wok or large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat, sauté ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add tofu. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion. Sauté another 3 minutes. Add carrot, snow peas and red pepper. Sauté 4 minutes. Add bok choy. Cook 4 minutes more. Add beans and sauce. Stir and heat through-3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.

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  • Snooth User: abodek
    929349 17

    Seriously, you feature a stir fry as the recipe? Stir fry and tofu is something we made more than 20 years ago. There are so many more interesting ingredients and recipes now. Even new ways of preparing tofu. I have been a vegetarian for 22 years, never did care for tofu stir fried

    Sep 10, 2011 at 8:50 AM

  • Snooth User: Rona Lewis
    359096 115

    Abodek, I see your point and appreciate your point of view. However, I write recipes for all levels. There are actually people who read who aren't as good a cook as you are. Heck, everyone's gotta start someplace, right? Perhaps my next entry, an Ethiopian-inspired cucumber and mango salad would be more up your alley. Thanks for your feedback. I always like to know what the readers think!

    Sep 12, 2011 at 5:26 PM

  • I'm new to vegetarian eating. I am not strict about it and do have whatever a host is serving me and sometimes I have meat or cheese at a restaurant. I do try to eat vegan most of the time though....This is a great recipe fo me as I am just learning. So thanks!

    Oct 17, 2011 at 1:10 PM

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