Eat your greens the Moosewood way–with tofu and spice

I first heard of Moosewood Restaurant sometime in the 1980’s when I lived in Fargo and often took cooking classes from Andrea Halgrimson. She spoke highly of the restaurant located in Ithaca, New York that serves natural, healthful food, making it sound exotic, alluring and hippie-ish and very alternative to the common, everyday meals I was preparing and eating for my young family in Fargo, North Dakota.

Visiting Ithaca and eating at least one meal at Moosewood Restaurant has been on my “Must Do” list ever since those cooking classes in Andrea’s kitchen. In the meantime, I’ve been collecting the cookbooks that keep coming from the Moosewood collective.

One of the Moosewood books I’ve used most is “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home: Fast and Easy Recipes for Any Day.” That book holds the recipe for the first Pad Thai I ever prepared in my own kitchen. It’s the only one I will ever make. It is that delicious.

Earlier this summer, a young friend of mine prepared a meatless meal that I was so lucky to be invited to eat. She used a recipe from a cookbook she’d gotten as a gift from a friend, “Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: fresh ideas for the weeknight table.”

I enjoyed every flavorful bite of Scrambled Tofu with Greens & Raspberry Chipotle Sauce. I came home with the a copy of the recipe. Last week, with a 3-pound bag of beet greens from the farmers market in my refrigerator, I knew it was time to pull out the recipe from “Simple Suppers.”

This meal takes little time to prepare. The recipe suggests using kale, chard or collards. I’ve discovered beet greens work spectacularly well. Beet greens are thin, allowing them to wilt quickly. Tofu takes on the flavors of whatever it cooks with. In the original recipe, the greens, onions and garlic offer their deep flavors to the tofu. I added half of a hot yellow banana pepper and some minced garlic chives from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) basket. A smoky sauce of jam and chipotle is served along side. I used some homemade strawberry-blueberry-Grand Marnier jam a friend shared with me. I like the dish spooned over cooked brown rice.

A friend of mine ate at Moosewood Restaurant last week. She sent me an email to tell me she had enjoyed a meal of quinoa and marinated vegetables with a cup of gazpacho. Sounds so healthful, doesn’t it? Not to mention hippie and alluring :) One of these days I’ll get to that restaurant myself.

My husband and I gobbled the scrambled tofu and beet greens right up. It completely vanished before I even thought to take a picture. My bag of beet greens is gone, but I’ll be making the dish again tomorrow with spinach or chard.

Scrambled Tofu with Greens & Berry Chipotle Sauce

(adapted from “Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers: fresh ideas for the weeknight table,” by the Moosewood Collective.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 of a hot banana pepper, seeds removed, chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic chives
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped beet greens
  • 1 (14-ounce) cake extra firm tofu, drained and mashed with a fork
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

For sauce:

  • 1/3 cup berry jam
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotles
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Pour olive oil into a large skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chopped onions, banana pepper and chives. Saute until onions and pepper are tender. Add beet greens and stir to coat with mixture in pan. Cover with tight-fitting lid and steam until greens wilt.

Remove lid from skillet. Increase heat to high and cook off any remaining water in the pan. Add mashed tofu and stir. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Use a spatula to turn over the tofu mixture. Cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, until tofu begins to brown.

While the tofu cooks, make sauce by mixing jam, adobo and water together in a small saucepan. Simmer on low heat until hot and slightly thickened. Add lemon juice.

Serve tofu and greens with warm sauce. Brown rice is a nice accompaniment. Makes 3 or 4 servings.

See and/or purchase the book “Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers” at BetterWorldBooks.

Learn more about Moosewood Restaurant and see some of their recipes at their website:

If you are intrigued with this recipe, you will find my recipe for Brunchschetta, an anytime meal� using beet greens with bacon and a poached egg on toast in my column this week. Click here to get to the recipe.



3 thoughts on “Eat your greens the Moosewood way–with tofu and spice

    • Oh, come on, Dean. At least give it a try before you throw up! Just like I used to tell my children, “You might be surprised!” You, too, Dean, may be surprised. Taste buds change as you get older :) Hee, hee.

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