Spicy Tofu and Spelt Berries

I guess it’s about time we talk about it.  I mean, it’s right around the corner and those red hearts everywhere are pretty hard to miss.  Valentine’s Day, anyone?
There’s the crowd that celebrates it all crazy-like.  Sending roses to their loved ones, themselves, and their dog.  Then there’s the group that gets angry about this holiday.  You know, the ones who listen to Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughtta Know” on repeat and burn photos.  Not that I would know, or anything.
In recent years though I’ve met more people that celebrate Valentine’s Day in moderation.  Doing small, sweet gestures for others or themselves.  I like the simplicity in that.

Speaking of simplicity, I’ve been trying to incorporate different grains into my diet lately.  Spelt berries are one of my favorites and they seem to be popping up everywhere. They’re a little hard to describe to someone who’s never had them before.  The best I can say is they’re similar to brown rice, but with a nuttier taste and and chewier texture. You can find them in the bulk section of most health food stores. 

This salad is inspired by the one that’s served in the deli at PCC Natural Markets and it’s curbed my hunger many times.  This recipe makes a batch for 6 which always leaves me with plenty of leftovers for lunch.  If all goes as planned, this might even end up as my Valentine’s Day dinner.  Delicious, healthy, and super simple.  Just the way I like it. 

 Spicy Tofu and Spelt Berries
From PCC Natural Markets and adapted from the Veg-Feasting Cookbook

Serves 6.

1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 blocks of firm tofu, cut into cubes
1.5 cups spelt berries
1/4 head of purple cabbage, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 carrots, grated
3 green onions, chopped
3 Tbs fresh parsley
cayenne pepper to taste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

I like to press the tofu beforehand to make it firmer and drain some of the watery liquid.  I usually place it on a plate and put another plate on top of it with some weight on it (a few cookbooks stacked up always seem to work nicely).  Let the tofu drain for about 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, olive oil, rice vinegar, cayenne, ginger, and garlic to make a sauce.  Place the tofu cubes in a 9×13-inch casserole dish, pour half the sauce over the tofu, and bake for 20 minutes, then let cool.

Meanwhile, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan, add the spelt berries, stir, cover, and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes.  Drain the berries, then place them in a large bowl and toss with the remaining sauce.  Add the cooled tofu, then add the cabbage, carrot, parsley, green onions, and salt and pepper to taste.

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  1. says

    Everything in moderation, right? Including on Valentine’s. Feel exactly the way you do. Have also recently tried spelt berries – they’re amazing, aren’t they? And in combination with the tofu? Absolutely glorious. Nicely done.

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