Press and drain 1 package of extra firm tofu. Cut into 1/2″ cubes or slices and brown over medium heat in approximately 3 tablespoons of oil. This should be approximately 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel to drain and cool.
Spiralize two English cucumbers, discarding the core of the cucumber. Dry on a paper towel so the cucumbers stay crisp. If you don’t have a spiralizer, peel the cucumber, then slice in half lengthwise. Scoop out the channel of seeds using a spoon. Slice thinly across, cutting the cucumbers into crescent shapes. Spread across a paper towel to drain.
While everything is drying a bit, stir together 2/3 cup crunchy peanut butter, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil. Keep stirring while adding in 1/4 cup of warm water. The warm water helps melt everything enough to mix it together. If you need a bit more water, add slowly. Separately, you can and should use this sauce for everything. It tastes so good. If you buy unsalted peanut butter because you’re known to share it with the puppy dog in your life, add a bit more soy sauce to taste. If you’re gluten-free, substitute tamari.
Plate the cucumbers, top with sauce then tofu, finish with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Because this doesn’t need to be served warm, it packs well for lunches.
I spent the first 10 years of my life steadfastly avoiding beans because of that stupid rhyme from when we were all kids. I spent the next 15 avoiding beans because I genuinely couldn’t handle the texture. But I’ve learned that if I disguise it in enough other textures, I’m on board.
Dice 1/2 of a red onion and marinate in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. While that’s marinating, cook 1 cup of orzo according to package directions. Rinse. Add to red onion mixture. Drain and rinse two cans of pinto beans, then add to mixture. Add 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 peeled, seeded and diced English cucumber, 1/2 cup of quartered cherry tomatoes, the zest of one small lemon, 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, and 1/2 cup of kalamata olives (optional). Mix all this together. Finally, fold in one cup of crumbled feta.
Serve over spinach and/or arugula if you need more green in this dish. Serve with shredded chicken if you don’t partake in Meatless Mondays!