Rice and Beans and Tofu Fingers

Every vegetarian knows that rice and beans are a complete protein. In addition to being healthy, this meal is cheap, fast and really tasty.

Frying the tofu is probably not the healthiest way you can prepare it, but the rice and beans are delicious by themselves. The tofu gives some more protein and a little crunch to the meal.

Another great work-night meal, the rice and beans mixture stores well in the fridge for heating up the next day. 

I loved chicken fingers growing up! (In fact I still really enjoy Gardein's vegetarian chicken fingers, but more to come on that soon…) These tofu fingers pair really well with the rice and beans because the smokey cumin and coriander flavors are well matched. The texture of the fried tofu provides a nice contrast with the more soupy rice and beans mixture. 

I have experimented with different shapes, but I eventually went with the fingers shape for both convenience and fun! Try different shapes if the rectangles aren't your thing. The fried tofu definitely tastes best if eaten all in one sitting. I have made this dish a million times and have never had any left over tofu, if you catch my drift.

Rice and Beans

2 15 oz cans beans, drained and rinsed (I usually use some combination of black, kidney, pinto, or black-eyed beans)
1 15oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
3-4 cloves garlic crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of cooked rice (or more if you want!)

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add garlic and stir for a minute or so. Add in the drained beans and stir well, lowering heat to warm beans.

Add the cumin,coriander, and cayenne pepper and cook beans on medium-low heat for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to combine. At this point, taste the beans and tomato and adjust the seasonings. Depending on your preferences, you might choose to add some more cumin, coriander, or cayenne.

Simmer on medium-low for a few minutes until some of the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked away and the mixture is thicker. Serve the beans and tomatoes over cooked rice, and top with the "tofu fingers."

Tofu Fingers

1 package (one pound) extra firm tofu, drained, and well pressed of water
salt and pepper
high heat frying oil (canola works fine, but I prefer safflower oil which has a high smoke point and is ideal for high heat frying)

Drain the tofu really well, and wrap it in some paper towels with a weight. This will squeeze as much of the water out of the tofu as possible. Be sure to change the paper towels every so often. You can leave the tofu like this for a while, but if its going to be more than an hour, stick in the fridge while it drains. 

Once the tofu is really well drained, cut the tofu into log like rectangles.

Dust the tofu with cumin, coriander and salt, and rotate so each side is well coated. Don't worry if all the spices don't stick to the tofu (they won't), but try to make sure each side is coated.

Heat enough oil to coat the bottom of a medium skillet on high. Like any high heat frying, make sure you have your kitchen fan and/or window ready to vent! When the oil is hot (water drops you put in sizzle) add the tofu fingers one at a time, taking care to not spill the oil and burn yourself!

Turn the tofu every few minutes, so that each side cooks evenly. The tofu is done when it is golden brown on each side. Remove the tofu from the pan and drain on some paper towels. Salt the tofu while it is still hot. Serve on top of the rice and beans.