Seared Tofu with Bean Sprouts, Peppers and Sesame Orange Sauce

Tofu used to be a four letter word to me. It all started way back (I really don’t care to think of how many years it’s actually been) when my parents thought it would be a good idea to forego cows milk and replace it with what we called tofu milk.


Just the thought of it makes my stomach churn. You see this was far before Silk came along and actually made soy milk taste good. The stuff my parents bought came in powder form that had to be reconstituted with water. Seems simple enough, but the problem was that no matter how much the mixture was blended, stirred, or thrown against the wall (in my imagination only, of course), it still had a gritty texture as it went down. Not to mention it tasted horrible.

I still remember sitting at the table, nose plugged, trying to choke the stuff down.

My gracious parents finally decided this stuff wasn’t worth it and we went back to dairy. I didn’t look at or consider any form of soy palatable for goodness knows how many years.

I’m still not a huge soy milk fan, but tofu I can do. When I realized that it is basically a blank canvas for whatever flavor you want to fill it with, I started to enjoy it. I cook mostly vegetarian at home and rarely cook beef, so when I saw this weeks Food Matters Project Recipe– Seared Bean Sprouts with Beef and Sesame Orange Sauce– I knew right away that I would substitute tofu for the beef. Click on the link to see if any of my fellow project participants did the same thing! For the original recipe head on over to this weeks host’s site, Dominica of Wine Food Love.

I followed the recipe exactly, except subbing tofu for the beef, and adding in some sliced sweet peppers along with the bean sprouts to give the dish an extra pop of colour and nutrition. I served it on top a bed of rice noodles and spooned the extra orange-soy sauce from the pan over top.

The dish was superb! The orange-soy sauce brought everything together (actually making my husband swoon) and made for a wonderful “agro dolce” one dish meal. Mark Bittman, you have yet to disappoint.

Cheers to trying new things and getting over childhood dislikes!


  1. Gorgeous pictures… love the red bell peppers, it sure adds a gorgeous color to the dish. This made me swoon too!

  2. Looks delicious! I still can’t do tofu- I think it’s a texture thing (but one of these days I’m hoping!)

  3. I’m still getting used to tofu, but I’m pretty sure the orange sauce from this recipe would make anything taste good so I’ll definitely be trying a vegetarian version of this dish. Beautiful photos!

  4. love the colors!

  5. Cecelia Ritchey says:

    Looks absolutely delicious Jenn. Shall try this one for sure. Oh & by the way I really liked the tofu milk, I still do like different brands of it also. xoxo Mom

  6. Not gonna lie, I still haven’t come around to soy milk, though Silk’s Almond Milk is my most favorite beverage in the world lately. but tofu…I’ve always loved. And rice noodles…I kinda wish I’d served my stir fry with them now!

  7. I have to be honest & say that I’ve never tried tofu…but if I came to dinner and you served me this, I’d happily eat every bite! The sesame orange sauce sounds superb.

    • Just have to tell you that we went to Dean & Deluca for lunch yesterday while in Napa Valley. While waiting to order a salad, they were sampling their offerings, so I gave the crispy tofu in a sweet & sour sauce a try. I loved it so much that we ordered a container to go with our lunch. I’m now a believer! :)

  8. I almost used tofu in mine as well– next time I will! Looks beautiful!

  9. I am loving all these Mark Bittman recipes too! It is so fun to expand from the usual and try something new. They have all been delicious!

  10. The red bell peppers are a beautiful addition! Your parents sound interesting and awesome :)

  11. Looks fantastic and the pics are beautiful!

  12. Madelyn says:

    What a lovely looking dish! Sounds wonderful too! I shall look up the recipe and make it! Thanks for all the great ideas! You are the artist! Yeah for tofu!!

  13. Wow that looks sooooo delicious! I don’t blame you for not liking the “tofu milk” in the beginning….it doesn’t sound very appealing :) I love that this made your husband “swoon”–so cute!

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