I have sprouts on the brain, apparently.
If you follow along on Instagram you'll know that one of my most recent posts was these Parmesan Brussels that rock my world and make for a really yummy weeknight side dish. You also might remember that last year we made Momofuku's Brussels with Fish Sauce Vinaigrette at the recommendation of my friend Emily, which was one of my favorite recipes of the entire year.
So "one of my favorite," in fact, that I decided to turn them into a full meal because the vinaigrette is just so delicious. It has a fish sauce base (I use this one because I see it everywhere but people also like the Red Boat brand), which is admittedly funky, but really delicious once the sauce comes together, and not fishy at all. The punchy tangy/sweet/umami flavor of the vinaigrette soaks into the crispy tofu and Brussels, and all is right with the world.
There are a few components to this dish, and they're all really simple. We'll make the dressing, sear some tofu in a pan, broil the Brussels, and toss all of that together with some fresh herbs and serve it over rice. For make-ahead purposes, you can 100% make the tofu and dressing in advance, then cook rice and Brussels last minute and mix everything together to serve.
This method of cooking tofu is one that I use at least once per week - I get the tofu really crispy and then toss it with whatever sauce I'm feeling that night and some veggies. Rice or noodles, dinner, done. Start with a nonstick skillet and some olive oil in the bottom of the pan over medium heat. Cut the tofu into cubes and add them to the skillet when the oil is hot.
Now, the trick here is patience, which is why I start the tofu first in this dish. We'll let the tofu start to sizzle and dry out a bit for maybe 10 minutes without disturbing it. Check the tofu every few minutes, and when the bottom side is golden brown, flip the tofu and repeat until it's super crispy on all sides. Sometimes I go really bonkers and sear all six sides of each cube, sometimes I only flip once or twice and life goes on.
While the tofu is working, make the vinaigrette. I sometimes use a fresh hot pepper like a jalapeno or fresno pepper, but this time I didn't have one so I used a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and everything was fine. I also rinse and chop the herbs during this time and set them aside, and start the rice (and set a timer because this is when someone is probably screaming at me to TURN THE TV ON NOW and yes I let them get away with it I'm only one woman and I like my tofu to be really well tended to).
So now we have vinaigrette done, tofu crisping, herbs prepped, and this is a great time to preheat the broiler to high and trim the Brussels. I scatter them on a baking sheet with some olive oil, no salt because the fish sauce vinaigrette has plenty of flavor.
Broil the Brussels sprouts on high about 6 inches away from the broiler for 5 minutes or until they're nice and crispy on the tops but not mushy at all. The extra crunchy leaves are my favorite - don't toss those out when you're trimming the sprouts!
When the tofu is crispy to your liking and the Brussels sprouts are broiled, toss everything in the skillet with the tofu with a few tablespoons of the dressing and most of the herbs.
Turn the heat to low if the pan was off or if you made the tofu in advance, just to warm everything through but not to cook the Brussels sprouts anymore. Taste a sprout and add more of the vinaigrette if you'd like; it should be coating the tofu and Brussels but not overly saucy at all.
Now we serve! Brown rice for your health, tofu and Brussels with herbs for your ... health also ..., extra herbs and vinaigrette for sprinkling and drizzling.
I LOVE this. The crispy tofu and Brussels with the super sharp herbs and dressing are so good, and chewy brown rice ties the whole thing together with a very rustic bow.
One of those dinners that loves you right back, you know? It feels similar to our absolute favorite crispy tofu with peanut sauce dinner BUT different enough that you could have them both in the same week no problem.
Crispy Tofu Rice Bowls with Brussels Sprouts
- 1 block tofu cut into cubes
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts trimmed and halved or quartered if very large
- olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves and stems thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cup brown rice cooked to package directions
Fish Sauce Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup fish sauce (Add more for extra salt depending on your brand)
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 lime juiced
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or one thinly sliced fresh chile)
- I like to start the rice and set a timer, then crisp the tofu. Preheat a nonstick skillet to medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Add the tofu and let crisp, undisturbed, for about 7 minutes on each side until crispy and golden on all sides.
- Meanwhile, make the fish sauce vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake to dissolve the sugar. Taste, and add more fish sauce to your preference.
- Broil the sprouts. Preheat the broiler to high and arrange the Brussels on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Broil the sprouts for 5 minutes or until crispy and dark at the edges.
- Finish the dish by adding the Brussels sprouts to the tofu skillet with a few tablespoons of the dressing and most of the herbs (Save some for sprinkling). Toss together and taste; add more dressing to coat the Brussels sprouts and tofu evenly.
- Serve the tofu mixture over rice topped with fresh herbs and more vinaigrette for drizzling at the table. Enjoy!