As good a night as any

October 26, 2011

After last night’s not so creative meal, I was itching to try something new.  Something that had my own spin, ya know? Give this whole “creating” thing a go. Tonight was as good a night as any.  Figuratively, because – well, why wait?  And literally, because the plan for tonight was salmon for the boy and tofu for me.  I know I know, “ewwww Tofu, scary”.  The great thing about tofu (besides the fact that I actually ENJOY it) is that it’s a relatively easy way to try out flavors that you think might be interesting.  So, I knew that I was having tofu/salmon and veggies and some rice.  But what I couldn’t figure out is what kind of sauce I wanted.  While browsing one of my favorite blogs, I found the recipe for Emily’s Four-Ingredient Healthy Peanut Sauce (& Tofu Marinade) – see the recipe here (I also prepped her veggie lasagna tonight to eat tomorrow, yum!). See??

  the recipe replaces ricotta with a tofu/spinach mix

This stuff is seriously lick the spoon worthy, i’m amazed I had enough for the lasagna.  I’m so excited to pop this puppy in the oven tomorrow, especially with a run AND lifting circuit on the to do list.

But I digress… in the spirit of my wanting to both try something new AND be creative, I decided to play with the recipe and ended up with what appears to be an Asian/Mexican(ish?) fusion dish, Roasted Tofu (or salmon) with a Chipotle Peanut Sauce,  Word.

Before I get to the recipe though, I wanted to look at little bit at one of my major ingredients tonight…

Peanuts.  I think nut butters can get a bit of a bad rap, with the fat content and calories.  But what about the peanuts themselves – in non butter format?  First things first – peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they’re a legume – which puts them in with the beans, equally delicious and nutritious.  Fun fact?  Depending on where you are in the world, your peanut may be called a goober.  But what about nutrition?  Turns out these little guys have a ton of monounsaturated fats.  Before you go screaming for the hills, this is the good fat, one that’s emphasized in a heart happy Mediterranean diet.  On top of that, peanuts pack a punch with a healthy dose of Vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and resveratrol (and yes, for those who think this looks familiar, you’re right – it’s the same anti-oxidant found in red wine).  And speaking of anti-oxidants, peanuts are pretty equal to some of their fruit counterparts (think blackberries & strawberries) when it comes to levels of anti-oxidants.  All of these help to make peanuts a healthy treat, in moderation.  So, I feel pretty good about my peanut sauce, and because I don’t want the peanut flavor to be overpowering, I’m only using a small amount of raw peanuts (unsalted) for my sauce.   Served with my healthy tofu (or salmon) over a mix of lentils (a nutritional powerhouse!) and brown rice, with roasted poblano pepper and corn, I feel like I’m getting a good mix of fiber, healthy heart happy fats, protein and grains.

And so, without further ado I give to you…dinner!

 

 Chipotle Peanut Sauce (Original recipe in Italices)

Peanuts (I used unsalted cocktail peanuts),  a scant 3/4 cup or heavy 1/2 cup.  Depends on the consistency you want and the flavor.

Rice Vinegar – 1 tbsp

Sesame oil – 1 tbsp

Soy sauce – 2 tbsp

Water – to preferred consistency

Chipotle powder – about 1/2 tbsp (my powder was pretty strong and this gave it a serious kick, but the honey and ginger really helped to tone that down)

Minced ginger – 1 tbsp

Honey – 1 – 1.5 tbsp (to taste)

 

This sauce is super easy to make, chuck the ingredients into a food processor and watch the magic happen!  Once you have the consistency you want – you’re done!  I served it at room temp over some PERFECTLY DONE roasted tofu (crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside) and my rice/lentil/roasted veggie combo.  I even sprinkled it with sesame seeds at the end to make it look pretty :)

This dish had just the right amount of kick to it with the chipotle in the peanut sauce and the roasted poblano pepper and it was a fun twist on a pretty standard sauce. I’m thinking maybe next time I’ll try it with just lentils or some barley.

Sure, this dish may have earned me a serious eye-roll from the boy when he walked in, but sometimes you just need to have fun in the kitchen and create something that’s tasty, different, healthy and yes…pretty.  And honestly, isn’t tonight as good a night as any?

xo

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