Happy Earth day!
Did you know that Earth day this year is Saturday, April 22? I’ve seen a few events around town to celebrate and the national March for Science was also planned on Earth day, which I think is pretty great. It’s an interesting day in the sense that every day should be earth day. We should always celebrate the planet that we are able to live on and grow what we need for delicious and nutritious meals.
Unfortunately, food waste is a huge issue in this country. One that I find myself thinking about often when I’m in the kitchen. As of 2013, the National Resources Defense Council reported that approximately 40 percent of food in the United States goes to waste. Food waste is costly to our wallets and our environment, not to mention that many people still experience food insecurity while others are wasting.
I am the first to admit that I do occasionally throw food away. Perfectly good food that just went forgotten or unused. Something that I planned to cook for dinner one night when we ended up eating out. Though this still happens on occasion, I do my best to make use of all the food that I by. I especially hate to waste any of the delicious local produce I get in my CSA each Saturday! To combat this I do my best to use up every last bit of produce in my fridge, which sometimes forces me to get creative.
This simple tofu and vegetable stir-fry is a great way to use up any extra produce you have on hand. I used broccoli and spinach, but any vegetables would work- carrots, cabbage, parsnip, brussels sprouts, anything! While I served my stir-fry with rice I also think it would be great with some white or sweet potatoes, another ingredient I sometimes have to salvage from the bring of death by trash can. Cauliflower rice would be delicious as well if you’re trying to keep it low carb. The idea is to truly make use of what you have, and a delicious sauce can improve just about anything. The peanut-lime sauce is packed with flavor from peanut butter, fresh lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a kick of heat from Sriracha.
Another Earth day trick for you is to try out composting. About two years ago, I went out and bought a little canister with a lid that lives in our kitchen. When I’m cooking I use a small “scrap bowl” and put any peels, such as potato and garlic, or bits that I won’t be using, like the end of the onion. When I’m done cooking, or the bowl is full, I just add it to my compost canister, which I empty in our backyard. Using the compost been has resulted in a dramatic reduction in food waste in our house. Food waste is not just whole unused ingredients, but those scraps too!
I hope you can make use of these Earth day suggestions and celebrate our earth every day.
- 1 15 oz. package tofu
- 1 c broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1.5 c fresh spinach
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼" ginger root, peeled and minced
- 1 large green onion, sliced
- 1 T olive oil
- ¼ c natural peanut butter
- 2 T fresh lime juice
- 2 T soy sauce or tamari
- 3 T coconut milk
- ½ t toasted sesame oil
- 1 t Sriracha or to taste
- Cut the tofu into 3 thick slices and dry using a towel, paper towel, or tofu press for at least 10 minutes (this is important for crispy tofu). Cut the slices into ½" cubes.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, I used cast iron. Add the garlic and the ginger, cook until just fragrant about 1 minute. Add the tofu and allow to cook for about 4 minutes before stirring to ensure it is well-browned. Cook for about 3 minutes more until the tofu is browned on both sides.
- While the tofu cooks prepare the sauce by mixing all ingredients together, stirring well.
- Add the broccoli and ¾ of the sauce to the skillet. Stirring well to coat. Cook until the broccoli is tender, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach and ¾ of the green onion, cook until the spinach is just wilted, about 2 minutes.
- To serve, drizzle the remaining sauce and sprinkle the remaining green onion atop the stir-fry. Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, or potatoes if desired.
Information from NRDC (2013). https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf