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Leafy Chinese Tofu {vegan, gluten free}

Bright flavors of green spinach and soy sauce today bestow a tasty pizzazz on this pan-fried tofu. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve over quinoa brown rice–it’s a complete meal! That easy. Leafy Chinese tofu—simple and savory—I’m hungry just thinking about it.

Leafy Chinese Tofu

“This is mighty healthy,” Robbie would say. Sure this Asian feast is healthful, but it’s also one of my favorite easy dinners. I’ve certainly been cooking it for a long time! The recipe comes from a dog-eared paperback cookbook I’ve had since the days of yore.

Leafy Chinese Tofu

Dinner in one hour? No problem. Start rice and quinoa in pot. Press extra water from tofu. Heat skillet, sauté tofu. Clean spinach. Toast sesame seeds. Wilt spinach. With tamari. Serve with love. Vegan and gluten free. Plant protein.

The cookbook I’ve had forever, Diet for a Small Planet, fueled my newfound vegetarian leanings when I was a college student. In this book, author Frances Moore Lappé teaches how plant-based and meat-centered diets affect our food systems, as well as how to get plenty of protein without meat.

Leafy Chinese Tofu

cookbook for Leafy Chinese Tofu recipe

I treasure my old yellowed cookbook for the memories it holds. I suppose I could order a brand new 20th anniversary revised edition, to replace my copy that’s held together with clear contact paper. But like blue jeans and cast iron skillets, my worn cookbook got better with age.

Can old favorite recipes get better over time? Absolutely! Way back in the 70’s, author Lappé instructed, “Serve over brown rice.” Nowadays, to accompany leafy Chinese tofu, I mix half red quinoa into basmati brown rice. You get the nuttiness of brown rice, plus quinoa nutrients. Protein count, eye appeal and flavor and nutrition… better than ever. I’m sure Ms. Lappé will approve.

red quinoa and rice for Leafy Chinese Tofu

Leafy Chinese Tofu recipe notes:

  • Unless you lived in the South American Andes, quinoa wasn’t even on the radar when Diet for a Small Planet was first published in 1971.
  • The protein in this recipe comes from sesame seeds and tofu, plus a bed of brown rice and red quinoa.
  •  1 cup of cooked brown rice has 5 grams of protein; 1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams
  •  Vegans: Quite a few recipes in the book include cheese, yogurt and eggs.

Wishing you a fabulous week–get in the kitchen and cook something delicious!

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4 comments

  • Judy Lujan

    This is a favorite of mine, too. But it’s not Chinese. I live and work in China where I was stunned to discover that people don’t eat spinach and tofu together. Folks at the vegetable market (where I buy my spinach AND my tofu) always assure me that it will make me sick if I eat them together. I always assure them that it never has yet and I’ve been eating them together for 40 years! Reply · 3 January, 2015

    • Letty

      Thanks for the note Judy. Good thing we’ve never been sick from eating tofu and spinach together!
      I wonder–do they cook bok choy with tofu? Reply · 3 January, 2015

  • My husband brought that dog-eared paperback into our marriage, and I always liked it! Reply · 18 January, 2015

    • Letty

      I also have the companion paperback which is literally falling apart–more great recipes. Recipes for a Small Planet by Ellen Buchman Ewald. Reply · 18 January, 2015

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