Savory Rhubarb and Tofu Two Ways

I’m used to cooked rhubarb in cobblers, crisps and crumbles, but it also shines when treated as a savory ingredient, like in Naz Deravian’s khoresh rivas, a vegetarian version of the great stew of comforting spring often made with lamb. Here, the rhubarb cooks on a bed of beans simmered with fried parsley and mint, becoming soft and tender in the steam from the pan, but retaining its glorious color and flavor.

It’s not a quick dish – it takes a while to prepare and fry the parsley and mint, and to fry the onions and simmer the beans. But the result is stunning, more like a Statement Bean, a Celebration Bean, a Party Bean! And if you’re using dried beans instead of canned, you can use two cups of this cooking water to add even more depth to the braising.

If you want a quicker meal and love the slightly sweet and salty flavors of sautéed tomatoes and eggs, I want to introduce you to Hetty McKinnon’s Tofu and Tomato Egg Soup.

The soup is quick and you make it by seasoning a can of crushed tomatoes with fried green onions and ginger, ketchup and sesame oil. While the cut tofu is floating in it, drizzle it with beaten eggs. That’s substantial enough for a hearty end-of-day meal that’s warm and cozy and full of protein. However, if you happen to work from home, this could be a great make-your-own lunch on a dreary day (it comes together in just 15 minutes).

Here’s another great lunch: fried tofu with mixed grains. Samin Nosrat, who wrote about how she regularly does this in a coworking space, recently told me that this is still her favorite way to cook tofu. The dish is so simple and the ingredient list so short that you might be suspicious at first! But soaking semi-firm tofu in liquid amino acids and then frying it in coconut oil boosts its flavor and makes the most of its creamy texture. For something so basic, it’s surprisingly luxurious.

Go to the recipe.

In case you missed it, earlier this week The Veggie hosted its first virtual event (watch the playback here). New York Times Food editor Emily Weinstein and author and chef Samin Nosrat joined me to talk about the joys of vegetarian home cooking. Readers tuned in to ask questions, and I mentioned a few books as we chatted:

  • “Classic Indian Vegetarian Cuisine” by Julie Sahni. It happened when a reader wanted to know why his homemade saag paneer didn’t live up to restaurant versions. Sahni’s version is less about cream and butter, which restaurants often rely on, and more about the texture and seasoning of greens, with the luxury coming from the fried paneer itself (although you can drizzle with ghee everywhere if you want more butter).

  • “East: 120 Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Beijing” by Meera Sodha. This is a really good collection of recipes from one of my favorite cooks and recipe writers. The curries and noodle dishes are particularly rewarding, and I also love how Sodha has quick ideas for cooking from staples.

  • “Veggie Burgers Every Way” by Lukas Volger. It happened because a reader was on a veggie-burger journey, learning how to make one that could stand up to the grill. There are so many things to think about: drying the ingredients as much as possible before making the pancake, playing with the size and the binder. This is the book for anyone looking to experiment and achieve something very specific with their patties, but it’s also a great general resource for ideas.

Thanks for reading The Veggie. Quick note: Last week, my editor Tanya Sichynsky stepped in to answer questions from readers, including one about how to avoid nightshades, and accidentally pointed to a potato gnocchi recipe (a nightshade) .

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