I strongly believe that everything tastes better in bowls. I think it’s just so fun to load up a bowl and mix all the good flavors together, but the most important ingredient in the bowls is a good sauce. Sauces maximize flavors while adding juiciness, color, and texture. The beauty of sauces is that you can put the same vegetables, rice, and protein in a bowl every day, but a sauce can transform it into a completely different meal and experience!
One of my favorite sauces is Thai Peanut Sauce. This sauce is super fun and versatile, it can be used as a dip for vegetables but also to marinate proteins, or used as a dressing. Here are the steps for how to make it and one of my favorite recipes to use it:
What you’ll need for Thai Peanut Sauce:
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil or olive oils
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (about half a lime)
How to make it a meal:
The main components of building a bowl require protein sources, carbs, vegetables, and most importantly, sauce. We got the sauce figured out, but you can choose between plenty of options for carbs like rice, quinoa, noodles, pasta, potatoes, to name a few. I also cut corners and used frozen stir fry veggies to save time and money. For protein, I typically cook primarily with chicken, but I’ve been trying to switch up protein sources and tofu is a great option. I figured that tofu would pair really well with the Thai Peanut Sauce because it has the ability to soak up lots of sauce and flavors. But what is tofu exactly? Tofu is a vegetarian protein made from soybean curds, which is made when a coagulant is added to soybeans to form a curd – kind of like making cheese. Tofu is a complete plant protein, meaning that it has all the essential amino acids, but also is rich in fiber and potassium, magnesium, and iron. It is also a great source of calcium if made with the calcium sulfate coagulant.
Ingredients for Thai Peanut Stir Fry:
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu
- Spicy Peanut Sauce
- 8 ounces of rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
- 16 oz stir fry frozen veggies
- Green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds, and extra lime juice for topping
- Cut the tofu into slices and make sure to remove excess moisture by gently patting each side with a clean paper towel.
- Next, spread the sauce with a basting brush or pastry brush evenly on both sides of the tofu slice and tofu at 400 F for 15 minutes on each side.
- In the meantime, cook the noodles per package, once done rinse in cold water, and set them aside.
- At the same time, in a large skillet on medium heat, add the oil, garlic, and ginger and cook until fragrant ~ 2 minutes. Then add the frozen stir fry veggies and cook until ready.
- Mix the vegetables, noodles, and leftover sauce together, add a few slices of tofu and garnish with green onion, cilantro, sesame seeds, and a splash of extra lime juice. Enjoy!
Other ways to make it a meal:
- Thai Chicken Wrap: on a tortilla, layer on coleslaw mix, matchstick carrots, roasted peanuts, cilantro, cooked chicken (or protein of choice) and pour a little of the peanut sauce over the mixture. Roll the contents tightly with a tortilla and enjoy!
- Asian Salad: on a bed of romaine lettuce, purple cabbage, and matchstick carrots, add cooked edamame, almond slivers, baked chicken, and top with crunchy chow mein noodles and a generous drizzle of Spicy Peanut Sauce.