Tender chunks of caramelized winter squash are served up with crispy pan-fried tofu, drenched in a gingery Asian-inspired glaze and served with peanuts atop a bed of rice to make this cozy fall dinner.
Notice I didn’t mention what kind of squash? Yeah, that was on purpose. See, squash is awesome. It just doesn’t have much in the way of curb appeal. It’s delicious. Cute, in it’s own way, which is something more of a pottery barn home-decor way than a “Imma eat that” way. And it’s called squash, which is just a bad way to name something you want people to eat, if you ask me.
Case in point: on a recent trip to the supermarket I noticed a ten-or-so year old boy giving my husband the evil eye as we strolled down the aisle towards him. As we approached, the boy asked my husband what that was in the basket he was carrying. Butternut squash was the answer, and butternut, mind you, is the most appetizingly named squash of all squashes. Still, the boy’s look of disgust intensified, he responded with “Eeeeeeewww,” and huffily walked off, rather offended by our choice of produce.
It’s okay, I probably would’ve reacted the same way at that age, and I was the kid that liked vegetables.
A reader suggested something like “candy from the ground” might be a more appropriate name. I’m all for that.
For this recipe, I used kabocha squash. So now you know at least part of the reason I didn’t mention that in the title. I feared if I did nobody would want to make it. The other reason is that it doesn’t have to be kabocha. I have trouble locating kabocha squash, and I live in a town that’s relatively good for that sort of thing. If you’ve got a natural foods store, farmer’s market, or better yet, an Asian market, please go get your hands on one of these guys. It’s sweet and tender and super easy to prep. Otherwise, feel free to sub your favorite winter sqaush. Butternut, pumpkin, delicata…whatever you feel like. The gingery cider glaze is incredible and you kind of can’t go wrong.
Gingery Cider-Glazed Tofu & Caramelized Squash with Peanuts
- 1 medium kabocha squash about 1 1/2 lbs., seeded and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil divided
- 1/3 cup apple cider
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. Asian chili paste or to taste, optional
- 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 lb. extra firm tofu drained, pressed at least 15 minutes and cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2 scallions chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
- cooked rice for serving
- Preheat oven to 400°. Toss squash cubes with 1 tablespoon of oil and arrange in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet or in roasting pan. Bake until tender, 30-35 minutes.
- When squash is just finished baking, whisk cider, soy sauce or tamari, maple syrup, chili paste, cider vinegar, ginger, garlic and cornstarch together in a small bowl.
- Coat a medium skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add tofu. Cook about 10 minutes, flipping once or twice, until browned on multiple sides. Add squash and sauce mixture to skillet. Cook just until sauce thickens and coats tofu and squash, about 1-2 minutes.
- Divide rice into bowls and top with squash and tofu mixture. Sprinkle with scallions and peanuts. Serve.