“Fried Quinoa” with Soy Marinated Pan-Seared Tofu




As mentioned in my previous post, these past few months have been full of culinary discoveries and experiments for me. Not only have I tried new recipes in Mexico and while traveling across the US, but I also experimented a lot from the comfort of my own kitchen. Most notably, I owe my biggest discovery of them all to one of my roommates, who recently became a vegetarian. Indeed, this eye-opening experience came straight from my stove, to the greatest pleasure of my taste buds. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am talking about tofu! I know… that ecstatic comment probably didn’t make you think about that ingredient. Let me guess, when I say tofu you picture a white block of watery, flavorless, rubbery “stuff”, correct? Cause what is tofu actually? Is it real food? Is it even edible? If these thoughts crossed your mind and/or you cringed at the mere sight of the word, I understand you. In fact, I was there just a couple months ago. I get it, tofu is definitely a controversial ingredient, and one I used to outright dislike. But #givetofuasecondchance!

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I have always requested “no tofu” when ordering at Asian restaurants. Pad Thai, Pad See Ew, and Fried Rice are all dishes (among others) that often come with the golden crumpled blocks of deep fried tofu that I dislike so much. Greasy. Tasteless. Rubbery. Cubes. All characteristics that shaped my definition of this ingredient until now. So when my roommate asked me if I wanted to help her cook a big stir-fry with noodles, veggies and tofu, I was initially skeptical. Tofu? You sure? Do we really have to? The answer was yes, and I am grateful today for not having the choice back then. While I still wasn’t convinced, she assured me that soy sauce-marinated tofu was delicious seared in a wok, and left until the edges caramelized. Regardless, I figured the cubes would be large enough for me to take them out if I needed to. As I couldn’t possibly deprive a vegetarian of her protein intake, I reluctantly agreed.

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You can probably guess the end of the story because I otherwise wouldn’t post about it… but the stir-fry was delicious! Noodles, veggies and tofu included. Each cube was packed with flavor from the soy marinade, their edges were crispy and savory. I loved each bite and even went for seconds. Turns out the secret to delicious tofu is to buy the extra-firm one, and press it until all the water comes out prior to cooking. This “fried rice-style” quinoa features pan-fried tofu at its best. No golden deep fried tofu in this recipe! #givetofuasecondchance

So while I still cringe at the sight of “silken tofu”, still leave the mushy cubes at the bottom of my miso soup, and still request “no tofu” at Asian restaurants, I have discovered a whole new range of possibilities for this ingredient. My newfound appreciation for it extends to soy-based products like fake “chicken” strips or meatless “ground beef,” which will be featured in some of my future posts. Stay tuned, and bon appétit!


Total time:  30 minutes


  • 3 oz. extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa (or 1/2 cup pre-cooked)
  • 3-4 baby broccoli sprigs
  • 1/4 red pepper
  • 1/4 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce + more to taste
  • 1 tbsp white rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Sriracha (optional)


  1. To cook the quinoa, cover the grains with 1/2 cup water in a saucepan or rice cooker, and let it simmer for the time indicated on the packaging (or until the water has been absorbed).
  2. Meanwhile, cut the pressed tofu into cubes and cover with the soy sauce, rice vinegar and sesame oil. Let it marinate while you prepare the rest.
  3. Next up: the vegetables. Mince the onion and roughly chop the pepper and broccoli into small pieces. Heat some olive oil in a pan and toss the veggies in with a good pinch of salt. Let them sweat for a couple minutes.
  4. Then, add the cubed tofu with its marinade and let everything cook on medium-high heat until nicely colored and caramelized (about 15min).
  5. Finally, mix the cooked quinoa in and stir on high heat for a minute. Adjust the seasoning with some more soy sauce to taste.
  6. Serve in a bowl with a squeeze of lime juice and a drizzle of Sriracha. Enjoy!


“Quinoa Sautée, Tofu Grillé à la Sauce Soja” 


Temps Total:  30 minutes


  • 85g de tofu extra ferme, pressé
  • 1/4 tasse de quinoa (or 1/2 tasse de quinoa pré-cuite)
  • 3-4 pousses de broccoli
  • 1/4 poivron rouge
  • 1/4 oignon jaune
  • 2 c.s de sauce soja + plus pour assaisonner
  • 1 c.s de vinaigre de riz
  • 1 c.c d’huile de sésame
  • huile d’olive
  • sel de mer et poivre noir fraichement moulu
  • Sriracha (optionnel)


  1. Pour préparer le quinoa, recouvrez les graines avec 1/2 tasse d’eau dans une casserole ou un rice cooker, et laissez cuire pendant le temps indiqué sur l’emballage (ou jusqu’à absorption de l’eau).
  2. Pendant ce temps, découpez le tofu (pressé) en cubes et recouvrez-le avec la sauce soja, le vinaigre de riz et l’huile de sésame. Laissez marinez le temps de préparer le reste.
  3. Ensuite: les légumes. Emincez l’oignon et coupez le poivron et les broccoli en petits morceaux. Faites chauffer de l’huile dans une poêle et ajoutez les légumes avec une bonne poignée de sel. Laissez le tout suer un moment.
  4. Ajoutez alors les cubes de tofu avec la marinade, et laissez le tout cuire à feu vif jusqu’à bien colorer et caraméliser (environ 15min).
  5. Mélangez enfin le quinoa cuit, sur feu vif et pendant une minute. Goutez et ajuster l’assaisonnement avec plus de sauce soja.
  6. Servez le tout dans un bol avec quelques gouttes de jus de citron vert et un filet de sauce Sriracha. Bon appétit!



4 thoughts on ““Fried Quinoa” with Soy Marinated Pan-Seared Tofu

  1. Yep, tofu can be great but I get why you were skeptical for all those years, bad tofu is REALLY bad! This dish looks fantastic, I shall have to give it a whirl -Kat

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