I’m going to be honest. I don’t love leafy greens. Spinach and lettuce are my friends, but the rest of them? Ehhh. Putting aside the fact that other greens don’t taste great, there’s also the issue of how they’re um, not the easiest to digest (if you don’t catch my drift, please see this video [and apologies in advance for the crudeness]). But seriously. What schmuck wants to down a bowl of raw collards when you can eat a veggie burger and a baked sweet potato and smear on some ketchup? That option is also quick and relatively healthy, isn’t it?
Since transitioning to a nearly dairy-free diet over the past few years, I’ve been fooling myself into thinking that I now eat a lot healthier with my new “plant-based” diet. Major air quotes here. This diet of mine usually includes things like Tofurkey deli slices and Vegan Corn Dogs. Delicious, yes, but I’m pretty sure they are the farthest thing from plant-based foods. (Unless you want to count genetically modified corn and soy derivatives as veggies. No? Darn.)
What I’m learning though, is that making vegetables (and leafy greens in particular) palatable is just a matter of having the right seasonings and spices on hand. Or in this case, peanut butter. Peanut butter always makes things better.
Next time you’re in the frozen section of the grocery store buying veggie burgers or other frozen meals, consider taking a loop around the produce section and picking up something new. I know. You’ve tried that before and it ends up sitting in your fridge until it rots and becomes unidentifiable mush. But this time, think of it as a creative challenge against your former self and see if you can turn it into something tasty. Throw it in a pan with some concoction of carbs and proteins from your pantry, and you’ll likely end up with a cheaper, healthier meal than the frozen pizza you were going to buy.
This recipe is just one example of how to do that. Collard greens, you are no longer my foe.
Easy Collard Greens, Tofu, and Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce
1 package firm or extra firm tofu
¼ cup shelled edamame
1 packet of soba noodles
1 bunch of washed and chopped collard greens
For Peanut Sauce:
¼ cup peanut butter
¼ cup water
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
First prep your tofu. Grab paper or dish towels and something heavy to press and drain your tofu. Or if you’re lucky enough to own a Tofu XPress, use that. It’s on my wish list this Christmas… family/friends, please consider this a not so subtle hint : ) Just kidding?
Meanwhile, boil soba noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and set aside.
Next work on the sauce. Blend peanut butter, water, rice vinegar and soy sauce. If you find this sauce too watery, add an additional ½ teaspoon of peanut butter until you reach your desired consistency and taste along the way. Feel free to add a little sriracha for some heat.
In a deep pot, heat a little olive oil and sauté the chopped greens. Cover the pot and let the greens steam and wilt down for a few minutes. Once wilted and cooked, pour about half the peanut sauce over the greens and stir to combine. Set aside.
Cut the drained/pressed tofu into 1-inch blocks and place onto a nonstick pan on medium heat. Allow the tofu to get golden brown, and then carefully flip each piece over until each side has browned. This is a little meticulous, but the tofu will get nice and crispy. It should take about 10 minutes.
Once the tofu has browned on each side, pour the remaining peanut sauce into the pan and quickly mix so that the sauce sticks to the tofu and coats it. Yum.
Drop the edamame into the pan and sauté for another minute or two.
Assemble your plate: scoop out noodles and dress with a little soy sauce. Top with tofu, edamame, and greens. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.