Lemongrass Corn Saute With Grilled Tofu and Quinoa


This is one of those 30-minute meal-in-a-bowl dishes that is both light and satisfying, and you can easily customize the main ingredients or the flavors to suit your mood or your vegetable drawer. For this version I made it with Thai flavors (lemongrass, ginger, garlic, lime zest, juice & leaves), but not typical Thai vegetables (corn, cherry tomatoes, summer squash), and served it over quinoa. That kind of fusion can be kind of risky, you could end up with scary vegetarian mish-mosh, but we won’t let that happen now, will we?

Lemongrass Corn Saute With Grilled Tofu and Quinoa
Serves 6 as a whole meal
Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten free

2 cups quinoa
4 T. canola oil
2 pounds extra-firm tofu, each pound cut into 8 slabs
1/2 red onion, minced
1 or 2 stalks of lemongrass (see tip below)
1" ginger, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
2 or more small hot green chili peppers, minced (optional)
2 medium yellow summer squash or zucchini, 1/2" dice
zest of one lime
1 yellow bell pepper, 1/2" dice
5 ears sweet corn, removed from cob (see tip below)
juice of 2 limes
1.5 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
3 green onions, white parts only, sliced fine
kosher salt
black pepper

Corn tip: to neatly remove corn from the cob, use this tip from Rick Bayless. Put a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl, stand the husked ear of corn on the small bowl, holding it from the top, and using a sharp knife slice along the cob from top to  bottom. The larger bowl will catch all the kernels and keep them from becoming dog or baby food under foot.

Lemongrass tip – remove all but the bottom nearly-white portion, and a piece at the end too. Remove the outer layers so you have only fairly tender stalk. Put the remaining piece on your cutting board and address it lovingly but firmly with the bottom of a saucepan or the side of a cleaver several times, until it is rather flattened. Now mince it. Good.

  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer to remove natural bitter coating, then bring to a boil in a covered saucepan with 3.5 c. water. Reduce to a simmer and cook about 15 minutes, until tender and the water is absorbed.
  2. Prepare all of the other ingredients first, because cooking will go fast and you won’t have time for chopping.
  3. Brush the tofu with a little oil and grill on a grill pan or skillet, about 1 minute to each side until nicely browned, season with salt and pepper, reserve.
  4. Heat a wok or a large skillet to very hot, then add the remaining canola oil and all of the aromatics (onions, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, lime leaves and chili peppers if using). Add the squash and lime zest, saute for 1 minute, add the bell pepper, saute for 30 seconds, add the corn, saute until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add lime juice and salt to taste, and turn off the heat. Adjust seasoning and lime juice as needed! Remove the lime leaves.
  5. To serve, put a scoop of quinoa in each bowl, arrange 3 slabs of tofu on the side, top the quinoa with the vegetables, then garnish with a handful of cherry tomatoes, some green onions, a grind of fresh black pepper, and a few flakes of sea salt. Offer hot sauce at the table.


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Posted by Michael Natkin on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 in Kid Friendly, Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan or Modifiable.

8 Responses to “Lemongrass Corn Saute With Grilled Tofu and Quinoa”

  1. Reply
    Snacky Pants
    August 1, 2007 at 11:56 pm #

    Well, more like 50 minutes, but it was really yummy!

  2. Reply
    August 3, 2007 at 12:30 am #

    Wow that looks yummy! How do you get the perfect grill marks? And what brand of tofu? Color me jealous.

    I have good luck with grilling tofu and having it taste good, but not so much with it being picture-worthy…

    Though maybe it’ll be OK if I just title my dish “Scrambled Tofu with Lemongrass Corn Saute and…”

  3. Reply
    Michael Natkin
    August 4, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    I usually end up with Island Spring or the Whole Foods house brand of tofu. The keys are to buy *extra firm*, make sure to get the latest expiration date possible, and dry each slice before oiling it and grilling.

  4. Reply
    August 8, 2007 at 9:39 am #

    Looks delicious and very summery! Very nice. 🙂

  5. Reply
    July 4, 2009 at 10:09 am #

    This is actually the perfect thing for all the veggies I have in my fridge+ what I bought two days back. I am lucky that I found it with the terms quinoa lemongrass and an eye for color pics!! thanks for reading my mind several days before my mind thought of a lemongrass based dish!!

  6. Reply
    February 15, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    I don’t get to use quinoa enough even though I love it. It’s such a cute little grain. 🙂 This recipe was really beautiful, tasty, and super easy to make. Thanks again for another really yummy recipe to add to my collection!

  7. Reply
    August 12, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    Fantastic! Just did the dishes and already thinking about making again. 🙂 Used part patty-pan squash, cooked quinoa in mushroom broth. Pan-fried the tofu which was not quite as good, but mixed it in with the vegs and was great–another herbivoracious success, thanks!

  8. Reply
    August 13, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    PS. The tip on rinsing the quinoa really did help, thanks. Ate leftovers for lunch today and two people asked for the recipe, it smelled so good!

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