A Heaping TBSP of Life

~ presenting a slightly currated collection of all things edible ~

Zesty Cuke and Tofu Bowl

Do you ever just see an ingredient in the grocery store or at the farmers’ market, and buy it?  Not because it’s on your list, or you had a sudden inspiration of what to do with it, but because, – well-, because it just looks like fun?

That was me the other day in Cub Foods.  I saw this adorable little six pack of mini cucumbers, and figured I’d find something to do with them later (even if that something was dunking them in ranch dressing and eating the entire pack in one sitting…)  They sat in my fridge for about three days, while I fought to find some inspiration, until I realized they were starting to look a little wrinkly – I knew I needed to act!  I sliced them up on a bias, poured a half empty bag of shredded carrots over them, and decided it kind of looked like a slaw.  So I added some vinegar – rice wine – a splash of mirin, some salt, pepper and garlic – and suddenly I had some kind of Asian fusion bowl happening.

Despite calling it Asian fusion, I’m pretty sure this bowl is mostly American, seeing as it came out of my head, and I’ve never seen anything like it at any Asian restaurant!  But it has some Asian flavors (Rice wine?  Garlic Chili Paste?) so we’re going with Asian fusion.  Plus it sounds much more legit than thoughts-in-an-American-girl’s-head-that-sounded-like-they’d-taste-good…just sayin’.

I know at first glance, the ingredient list probably looks a bit insane.  I promise it’s not actually that bad.  Most of it is just spices that you probably already have on hand.  The few (like Mirin and Coconut Aminos) that you might not, I’ve suggested substitutes for so you don’t have to make any special trips!  I tend to try and keep my bowls vegan whenever possible, but if you don’t care, normal mayo and honey work just as good as vegan mayo and mirin!

If you can’t find mini cukes you could easily get a normal sized Persian cucumber and slice it up thin.  You’d probably want to slice those slices into a few pieces then as well though so that you’re not getting massive slices of cucumber!  I picture a julienne being just about the right size!

I actually did hold the tofu in these bowl for the hubby and gave him shredded chicken that I had in the fridge (which I drizzled with a bit of the marinade from the tofu) and I used Quorn soy-free ‘chik’n’ breasts for William’s bowl (also drizzled with a bit of marinade!)  One recipe, three ways! 🙂

Zesty Cuke and Tofu Bowl
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 Servings
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Rice
  • 1 Avocado, pitted and sliced
Carrot-Cuke Slaw
  • 2/3 Cup Shredded Carrots
  • 3 Mini Cukes, or 1/2 of a Persian Cuke
  • 2 Tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Mirin (or Honey)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice Powder
Pan-Fried Tofu
  • 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic-Chili Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Mirin (or Honey)
Sriracha-Lime Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Mayo (I like vegan ones!)
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 2 tsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Mirin (or Honey)
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
Zesty Spice Blend
  • 1 tsp Chili Flakes
  • 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp Lime Zest
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice Blend
  1. Put the rice and 1.5 cups of water into a medium saucepan, cover and bring to a low simmer.  Cook until rice is tender, about 20 - 25 minutes.

Make the Slaw
  1. Meanwhile, slice the cucumbers on a bias and mix with the carrots.  In a smaller bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Pour over the carrots and cukes and use your hand or a large spoon to combine.  Set aside.

Cook the Tofu
  1. Slice the tofu into aprox. 1/2" squares.  Heat the olive oil in a 10" or 12" skillet until shimmering over medium heat and add the tofu blocks.  Let them cook for about 5 minutes or until one side is browned and then turn and repeat, browning the other sides, adjusting heat as necessary until all sides have a bit of color on them.

  2. whisk together the remaining ingredients, and then pour over the tofu blocks.  Gently stir to cover the tofu, and simmer over medium low heat until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the tofu has an even coating.

Make Sriracha-Lime Sauce
  1. Whisk all the ingredients together and add a few drops of water if necessary to make the dressing pour-able.

Combine the Spices
  1. In a small bowl combine all the spices and mix together.

Assemble Bowl
  1. Take a scoop of rice and place it in the bottom of two bowls (and slightly up the side if you want it to look extra pretty!)

  2. Arrange half of the avocado, 1/3 cup of the carrot cucumber mixture, and 1/2 of the tofu in each bowl as well. (you may have a bit of these ingredients left over...save them for another bowl tomorrow!)

  3. Drizzle the bowls with the Sriracha-Lime sauce, and then sprinkle with the spice blend.  Bon Appetite!

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