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Five-Spice Tofu with Barley and Kale

In this superhealthy vegetarian main course, blogger Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen serves sweet-spiced tofu over a warm kale-and-barley salad. "Barley has a nice chew that is delicious with spiced tofu," says Forte. "Quinoa or farro would also work well."

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
  • Salt
  • One 14-ounce block extra-firm tofu, drained on paper towels for 10 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or coconut oil (increases saturated fat to 7 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • 4 scallions, white and tender green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, bottom 6 inches only, peeled and minced
  • 4 1/2 packed cups shredded stemmed Tuscan kale
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro


  1. In a saucepan, cover the barley with 2 cups of water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is just tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil with the sesame oil until shimmering. Add the tofu and five-spice powder and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, 7 minutes. Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and transfer the tofu to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil to the skillet. Add the lemongrass and cook over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Add the kale and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the barley and cook for 1 minute. Add the horseradish, tamari and vinegar and cook, stirring, until the pan is nearly dry, about 2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the barley and kale to a platter. Top with the tofu, toasted coconut, sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve right away.


One Serving: 427 cal, 18 gm fat, 1.9 gm sat fat, 54 gm carb, 12 gm fiber, 18 gm protein.

Suggested Pairing

Rich Pinot Blanc.

Photo © John Kernick Published August 2012

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