This is one of our favorite plant based meals to keep in the weekly rotation, and I am so excited to finally bring you this recipe! Here’s the break down a few key components that make this recipe a home run every time!
It’s taken me A LOT of trial and error to figure out the perfect cooking temp and time to achieve crispy tofu. There’s a fine line between not cooked enough and overdone. What I love about this recipe is that the tofu is crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside. And the best part is that I achieve this without coating the tofu in corn starch and using a ton of oil since I cook it in my air fryer (THIS is the air fryer I have and I love it). I’ve also learned the technique to drain the tofu from my favorite vegan cookbook (get it HERE).
If you don’t have access to an air fryer, THIS recipe has great reviews for baking crispy tofu (just be be aware that this recipe does call for using corn starch).
This green sauce by Chef Del Sroufe is AMAZING! It gives you the satisfaction of a cilantro cream sauce without any dairy (and it’s healthy). The key with this stuff is to follow the recipe exactly. Don’t eyeball anything and measure it all – proportions are super important for this sauce. We love this sauce on burrito bowls, but it’s also great on falafels, salads, and even some curry recipes!
Mix Quinoa & Cauliflower Rice
Often I like to mix quinoa and cauliflower rice together when I’m making bowl recipes. I love the hearty and comforting feel from eating quinoa, but it can be easy to eat wayyyyy more than one serving. So I add the cauliflower rice to give me a little more volume for my “grains” without packing on the extra carbs and calories. This is totally optional and not something everyone has to do. Personally, my body doesn’t process carbs great at dinner (so I usually eat most of my carbs during breakfast and lunch), so this is just a way for me to accommodate this.
Toppings Can Vary & Be Store Bought
Another reason I love this recipe is that the topping can vary based upon what you have on hand. Additionally, you can make this an easy weeknight meal by using store bought toppings if you’re trying to cut down cooking time. I always buy pre-made pico de gallo from the store, and sometimes even buy pre-made guacamole. Just check the ingredients and make sure sugar and other preservatives aren’t being used. If you do choose to make your own guacamole and pico de gallo, I would have them made before you start making this recipe.
Alright, now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s do this!
Makes 4 servings
- 2 packs 14oz extra firm tofu*
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2-3 green bell peppers, sliced
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- Frank’s Hot Sauce to taste (optional)
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped
- pico de gallo (homemade or store bought)
- guacamole (THIS is our favorite recipe or you can use store bought)
- Green Sauce (THIS is the recipe, remember, follow it exactly)
- 1 cup dried quinoa
- 1 bag frozen cauliflower rice, microwaved or steamed
*we love tofu, so we get 2 packs, but 1 is plenty. If you use one pack, please note the spices listed are for two packs of tofu, so half the measurements.
**You’ll notice the onions and bell peppers are cooked without oil. As part of a whole food plant based diet, minimizing the amount of oil used is important. Since oil is used with the tofu, We are avoiding oil with the onions and peppers. Read more about whole food plant based and oil consumption HERE.
- Slice each 15 oz tofu block lengthwise in half. Cube the tofu so you have 32 pieces when finished (HERE is a video on how to cube tofu if you aren’t sure how to do this, just don’t press it down with the plate at the end)
- Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place the cubed tofu on the lined baking sheet with space between each cube (so none of the tofu is touching one another). Let rest for 20 minutes. This process should extract excess water from the tofu.
- In the meantime, heat a saute pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sliced onion and 1 tablespoon water so the onions do not stick to the pan. Cook onions for 3 minutes until they start to become translucent.
- Add the bell peppers to the pan and bump the heat up to high. Cook the bell peppers and onions together for another 10-12 minutes so they start to brown. Add water as needed to prevent sticking and stir every few minutes.
- Cook quinoa on stove by following cooking directions (most quinoa requires around 15 minutes to cook). Don’t forget to wash the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer before cooking.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees on the “air fry” mode.
- Once the tofu has been sitting for 20 minutes, gently press the tofu with a paper towel to absorb anymore excess water. Be careful not to use too much pressure.
- Remove the paper towel from the baking sheet, and put tofu directly on the baking sheet. Coat the tofu in oil, pepper, salt, cayenne, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Be extremely careful not to crumble the tofu here, it is very fragile (this is why you aren’t tossing it in a bowl, it breaks too easily).
- Place the tofu into a preheated air fryer and ensure none of the tofu is touching one another (this helps keep it crispy). Cook for 12-14 minutes. At the 6 minute mark, shake and toss the tofu to allow for even cooking. You will likely have to do a couple of batches to cook all of the tofu.
- Meanwhile, place the drained black beans in a small pot on low temperature. Add in Frank’s Hot Sauce if you would like. Let the beans heat on the stove until ready to serve. Stir occasionally.
- If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and steam the cauliflower rice (I usually microwave mine for 5 minutes in a glass bowl uncovered).
- This is when I make the Green Sauce in my blender. Remember to measure!
- Time to build your bowl! Mix cooked quinoa and cauliflower rice and place as the base of the bowl. Top with black beans, onions/peppers, crispy tofu, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, and the green sauce! Enjoy!
If you make this bad boy, tag me in your post and I’ll reshare it on my instagram stories! Can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe!
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