Seared Tofu from Peter Berley’s Vegetarian Cookbook, FRESH FOOD FAST!

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Fresh Food Fast is a collection of mouthwatering seasonal vegetarian menus that can be created in under an hour, from James Beard and IACP award–winning chef Peter Berley, a culinary instructor, family man, and chef with a passion for delicious meals that use seasonal produce and are easy to prepare.





The components of this menu all work well together, but if you just want to make the beans and the salsa and have them with corn chips, that’s fine too.


For the rice:
1 1/2 cups white rice (basmati, jasmine, or sushi), rinsed
3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
For the black beans:
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground (see page 8), or 2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15-ounce) can black beans

For the tofu:
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cut into 4 thick slices
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt

For the salsa:
2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
1 medium tomato, cored, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus additional for garnish
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds, minced
1 1/4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of coarse sea salt or kosher salt

peter berley recipe 1

1. To make the rice, in a small saucepan, bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice and salt, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
2. To prepare the beans, in a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cumin and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the beans with their liquid and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
3. To prepare the tofu, warm a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the tofu to the pan and sprinkle it with salt. Cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side.
4. Meanwhile, make the salsa. In a medium bowl, combine the mangoes, tomato, cilantro, lemon juice, onion, jalapeño, oil, and salt; mix to combine.
5. To serve, spoon some of the beans and rice onto each of 4 plates, and top with the tofu and salsa. Garnish with cilantro.

Peter Berley is the owner of The North Fork Kitchen and Garden, a culinary studio where he teaches intensive workshops on modern food craft and wood-fired bread baking and cooking. The former executive chef of the world-renowned Angelica Kitchen restaurant in New York City, he holds classes at The Institute of Culinary Education and Natural Gourmet Institute. Berley has contributed to Edible Brooklyn, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Natural Health, Cooking Light, and Fine Cooking magazines. His groundbreaking first book, The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, received both the James Beard and IACP Awards. He lives with his family in South Jamesport on the North Fork of Long Island, New York.

If you enjoyed this recipe, try out others by purchasing Fresh Food Fast, now in paperback! To learn more about Peter, check out his website, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter @PeterBerley!

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