quinoa salad with tempeh or tofu

We’re visiting my family this week, and my mom has expressed an aversion to tempeh. Made as Bittman’s recipe intends, with tempeh, his grain salad is tasty, toasty, and dense – but I think it will work well with baked tofu. Tempeh does have a strong flavor, which can be reduced in all recipes by steaming it for 20 minutes before using it.  Over time, most people I know acquire the taste for it, and it’s worth it.

2 1/2 cps cooked quinoa or other small-kernal grain or 1 cup raw (wash it well to get off the natural saponins that can make your stomach upset)
2 tb peanut or vegetable oil (if using tofu, use a tsp or two of oil instead)
4 oz (about a cup) tempeh, crumbled – or 4 oz tofu, diced
1 tb minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tb slivered garlic
1 cp bean sprouts, optional
1 cp chopped tomatoes, optional
2 tb rice vinegar
1 tb dark sesame oil
1 tb or more soy sauce
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cp chopped scallion for garnish
1/4 cp chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish

(1) If you are substituting tofu, toss it with a tsp of the peanut or veg oil and a tsp of soy sauce, and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
1. Cook the quinoa by following the directions here. Drain in a strainer and rinse.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, put the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the tempeh and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for another minute or two, then add the optional bean sprouts and tomatoes. Stir and turn off the heat. Stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, and soy sauce and transfer to a bowl.
3. When the quinoa is dry and cooled, toss it with the tempeh mixture. Taste and add salt if necessary and a generous sprinkle of black pepper. The salad can rest for an hour or so at this point if you aren’t ready to eat it yet. Garnish with scallion and cilantro and serve.

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