Read below for the Vegetarian Mapo Tofu with Spinach recipe from Tracy, Dana, Lori & Corky Pollan’s new cookbook, Mostly Plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian Recipes from the Pollan Family
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons fermented black beans
3 dried red chile peppers (½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
1 tablespoon chile bean sauce (toban djan)
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups sliced stemmed shitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground Sichuan peppercorns (if not available, use ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper)
1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
One 14-ounce package soft organic tofu (if not available, use medium-firm; do not use silken), drained between paper towels and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water
2 ½ cups firmly packed baby spinach
4 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
cooked noodles or rice of your choice, for serving
1. In a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the fermented black beans, chile peppers, and chile bean sauce. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Add the ginger and garlic and stir. Add the mushrooms, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and Sichuan peppercorns and mix well. Add the broth and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
2. Carefully add the tofu and gently mix with a wooden spoon. While stirring, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture and stir to incorporate. Add the spinach and stir, then add the scallion whites and cook for 3 minutes more, or until the sauce is thick and glossy.
3. Place a serving of cooked noodles or rice into individual serving bowls, ladle the tofu on top, garnish with the scallion greens, and serve.
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