Go-To Tofu Stir Fry

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies. Did you know tofu is delicious? For years Alex and I veered away from tofu because we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, tofu right out of the container is a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest plant-based dinners you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned. First off: is tofu healthy? We get this question a lot, because there have been some tofu rumors out there in the rumor mill. Here’s our two-cents: Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.

Tofu stir fry

Did you know tofu is delicious? For years Alex and I veered away from tofu because we weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Of course, tofu right out of the container is a colorless, flavorless goo. But cook it up right and it’s one of the tastiest plant-based dinners you can have. This healthy vegan protein is great for incorporating into your meal prep repertoire. Want to fall in love with it? Come taste this tofu stir fry. It’s got the most flavor-packed stir fry sauce that works with any veggie, and the tofu is crisped on the outside and perfectly seasoned.

First off: is tofu healthy?

We get this question a lot, because there have been some tofu rumors out there in the rumor mill. Here’s our two-cents: Tofu is part of a healthy diet. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. Learn more about tofu here: Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

How to make a tofu stir fry: the basic steps

Even better than being healthy: tofu can be completely delicious if you cook it correctly! Here’s what to know about the elements of making this basic tofu stir fry:

  • Make the stir fry sauce. This sauce is SO good! You’re going to love the flavor and the thick body of the sauce.
  • Chop the veggies. This is where much of the prep time will come in. We’ve used only a few veggies so you don’t have to spend hours chopping.
  • Cook the tofu. The main idea is to cut it into small squares, then pan fry for 5 minutes per side.
  • Stir fry the veggies. Add the veggies for 6 minutes. Then add the tofu and sauce and turn off the heat! The sauce will heat and thicken using the residual heat. If you have the heat too high, the sauce will evaporate.
Tofu stir fry

Guess what: you don’t have to press the tofu!

Did you notice something was missing? Pressing the tofu! If you’ve made other tofu recipes, they may have called for wrapping the tofu in a towel and placing a heavy object on top for 30 minutes. The theory is that this extracts more water, helping the tofu to get crispier. But really: who has the time for that?

This tofu stir fry works for weeknight dinners because you don’t have to spend the time pressing it before cooking. Just pat it dry with a towel and you’re ready to cook.

What’s in this delicious stir fry sauce

Did we talk up this stir fry sauce enough? Let’s just spend a little more time there. You can use this sauce for any stir fry that’s intended for 4 servings. You can also easily make the sauce in advance! Whip it up and store in a covered jar or container until you’re ready to cook. It saves a few minutes: which can be crucial on a weeknight. Here’s what’s in this sauce:

  • Soy sauce
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sugar
  • Miso
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic powder
Tofu stir fry

Other veggies to use in a tofu stir fry

You can use lots of other vegetables in this tofu stir fry! We chose broccoli, red and orange bell pepper, and shiitake mushrooms because they have beautiful colors, lots of nutrients, and a similar cooking time. Here’s a cheat sheet for other vegetables you might want to add to show the timing for each one:

Vegetables that take 6 to 7 minutes to stir fry:

Vegetables that take 3 to 5 minutes to stir fry:

  • Cabbage, thinly sliced
  • Snap peas
  • Bok choy, chopped
  • Zucchini or summer squash
  • Edamame, frozen and shelled

Vegetables that take 1 minute to stir fry:

  • Garlic, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Green onion, thinly sliced (or use as a garnish)
Tofu stir fry

What to serve with this tofu stir fry

Lastly, let’s talk about how to serve this tofu stir fry! This makes a fantastic healthy vegan dinner idea or easy vegetarian meal. You’ll want to serve with some sort of whole grain to make it more filling. Here are some options:

  • Rice: The easiest and most traditional option for a stir fry. Go to How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice.
  • Quinoa: When we want to mix things up, quinoa is a fun grain to serve with a stir fry. Go to How to Make Quinoa or Instant Pot Quinoa.
  • Cauliflower Rice: Don’t want to eat a whole grain? Try cauliflower rice! Take 1 head of cauliflower and chop it into large florets. Place half of the florets into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fully chopped and the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. Remove the “rice” to a bowl and process the remainder of the cauliflower.
Tofu stir fry

This tofu stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Tofu stir fry

Go-To Tofu Stir Fry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tasty tofu stir fry recipe is our go-to for healthy plant based dinners! It’s got the best stir fry sauce, and you can use any veggies.


Ingredients

For the stir fry sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

For the tofu stir fry

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh broccoli, stem on (about 3 large heads or 6 heaping cups florets)*
  • 1 red bell pepper (or half red and half orange)
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 14-ounces firm or extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Sesame seeds

Instructions

  1. Start the rice: If serving with rice, start the rice.
  2. Make the sauce: Whisk together the stir fry sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, or make the sauce in advance and refrigerate until cooking.
  3. Chop the veggies: Chop the broccoli into florets. Thinly slice the pepper. Remove the shiitake stems and thinly slice them, if using. Thinly slice the green onion. Peel and grate the ginger.
  4. Cook the tofu: Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces (1-inch squares, 3/8-inch thick and pat it dry with a towel. Add the oil to a large non-stick pan and add the tofu cubes and a few pinches kosher salt. Turn on the heat to medium-high. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom.
  5. Flip the tofu: Briefly remove the pan from the heat to reduce spitting. Flip the tofu with chopsticks (the easiest method!) or tongs. Return the heat to medium-high and cook 5 to 6 minutes until browned. Remove the tofu to a bowl and set it aside.
  6. Stir fry the veggies: Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet. Add the broccoli, pepper, and shiitake mushrooms and two pinches salt and cook 6 to 7 minutes until just starting to brown on edges, stirring occasionally. In the last minute, add 1 tablespoon water and allow the vegetables to steam.
  7. Turn down the heat to low. Add the green onion and ginger and cook 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Add the tofu and sauce and stir until the sauce thickens. Serve immediately. Store leftovers up to 3 days refrigerated.

  • Category: Stir Fry
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Tofu stir fry

More easy vegan dinner ideas

Love eating plant based? Here are a few more vegan dinner ideas to add to your repertoire:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

Hello, new favorite! I think of this Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet kind of like “jambalaya light”. It has similar flavors and ingredients as jambalaya, but it’s a slightly scaled back, simplified version, perfect for quick weeknight dinner. And the best part? The leftovers are SO GOOD. So feel free to add this tasty skillet […]

The post Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Hello, new favorite! I think of this Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet kind of like “jambalaya light”. It has similar flavors and ingredients as jambalaya, but it’s a slightly scaled back, simplified version, perfect for quick weeknight dinner. And the best part? The leftovers are SO GOOD. So feel free to add this tasty skillet to your meal prep rotation!

Cajun Sausage and Rice in the skillet with a wooden spoon and lid half on

What Kind of Sausage Do I Use?

To make this skillet meal taste the best, try to find Andouille sausage, which is a smoked pork sausage commonly used in Louisiana cooking. If you can’t find any in your area (I’m not sure how readily available this is outside the southern U.S.), you can use any smoked sausage in its place. If you want to go so far as to special order some to get the full experience, check out the selection from Cajungrocer.com

Is Cajun Sausage and Rice Spicy?

It can be, depending on the ingredients you use. I used a “medium” heat Andouille sausage, which had a good amount of spicy heat, as well as a little cayenne pepper in my Cajun seasoning blend. If you want to make this dish mild, make sure to get a non-spicy smoked sausage, and you can skip the cayenne pepper in the spices listed in the recipe. 

Can I Use Store Bought Cajun Seasoning?

The recipe below includes a half batch of my homemade Cajun seasoning, minus the salt because the other ingredients in the skillet contained enough salt that I didn’t need to add more. The total amount of spices used is about 1 tablespoon. If you’d like to use a store bought Cajun seasoning blend, first check to see how much salt it contains. Many store bought Cajun seasoning blends contain a lot of salt and are used more like a seasoning salt, or table seasoning, and probably will not work well for this recipe. If the blend you have is mostly just herbs and spices, I would use about 1 Tbsp for this recipe.

Can I Use Brown Rice?

Brown rice requires more liquid and a much longer cook time than white rice, so you will need to take these into account if you attempt to substitute brown rice for the white rice in this recipe. While I haven’t tested a brown rice version, I would probably add at least another cup of chicken broth and increase the simmer time to closer to 40 minutes.

Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

 
Side view of a skillet full of Cajun Sausage and Rice

Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

This easy Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet is the perfect easy and filling weeknight dinner, packed with plenty of smoky-spicy flavor!
Total Cost $7.21 recipe / $1.80 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 547.75kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. Andouille sausage* $3.99
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1 bell pepper $0.89
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 1 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 cup long grain white rice $0.62
  • 1.5 cups chicken broth $0.20
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20

Instructions

  • Slice the sausage into ¼-½ inch thick slices. Add the sausage and cooking oil to a deep skillet or Dutch oven and sauté over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. Don't worry if the sausage begins to brown on the bottom of the skillet. That's extra flavor that will cook into the rice later.
  • While the sausage is cooking, dice the bell pepper. Once the sausage is browned, add the bell pepper to the skillet and continue to sauté for about one more minute.
  • Add the spices (smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper) to the skillet with the sausage and bell pepper and continue to sauté for one minute more to toast the spices.
  • Add the fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juices), rice, and chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.
  • Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the skillet simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the skillet from the heat and let it rest, with the lid on, for an additional 5 minutes.
  • After the skillet has rested, remove the lid, and fold the sausage and rice to redistribute the rice and sausage throughout. Top with sliced green onions and serve!

Notes

*If you can not find Andouille in your area, use any smoked pork sausage.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 547.75kcal | Carbohydrates: 50.8g | Protein: 22.23g | Fat: 28.8g | Sodium: 1328.93mg | Fiber: 4.15g

Overhead view of a bowl full of Cajun Sausage and Rice with a black fork in the side

How to Make Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet – Step by Step Photos

Andouille sausage package

This is the Andouille sausage that I used. Andouille may not be readily available in all areas, so if you can’t find any, just try to get a smoked pork sausage of some sort instead. You really want that smoky flavor!

Sautéed Andouille in the skillet

Slice the Andouille into medallions and add to a skillet with a tablespoon of cooking oil. Sauté over medium heat until the sausage is well browned. Don’t worry if the bottom of the skillet turns brown. That’s just extra flavor that will soak into the rice later!

Bell pepper and spices added to the skillet

While the sausage is browning, dice one bell pepper. Add it to the skillet and continue to sauté for about a minute. Then add the Cajun seasoning: 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper. Continue to sauté the spices for another minute.

Tomatoes, rice, and broth added to the skillet

Next, add one 15oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup long grain white rice, and 1.5 cups chicken broth to the skillet. Stir to combine and dissolve those browned bits off the bottom of the skillet.

Skillet ready to simmer

Once everything is combined, place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let the skillet simmer for 20 minutes. (Pictured: before simmering)

Simmered sausage and rice skillet

After simmering for 20 minutes, remove it from the heat and let it rest for an additional five minutes (with the lid on). After resting, it will look like the photo above.

Stirred Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet

Fold everything together to redistribute the sausage, rice, and bell peppers. OMG it looks so good at this point I just want to dive in!

Finished Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet with green onions

Top the skillet with sliced green onions and serve! It’s rich, spicy, smoky, and all around DELICIOUS.

The post Cajun Sausage and Rice Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Classic Tuna Salad

With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in […]

The post Classic Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

With so many people going back to work but without the luxury of being able to use their break room microwaves or refrigerators, classic cold lunches like tuna salad are making a comeback! So let’s talk about tuna salad a bit, shall we? Tuna salad doesn’t have to be the gloppy mess you find in a cafeteria. I’ve got a classic tuna salad recipe below, a few tips for making a good tuna salad with plenty of flavor and texture, plus a few modifications to make it your own. So let’s go get it!

Tuna salad on a piece of bread with baby greens, a second piece of bread on the side.

What Makes a Good Tuna Salad?

I think tuna salad gets a bad rap for being gloopy, bland, and smelly. But it doesn’t have to be (well, I’m not sure I can do much about the smell). To make a good tuna salad you want to use good tuna, make a dressing that has flavor dynamic, and add in some crunchies to give the salad some texture, something to chew on. No more bland mush.

What Type of Tuna to Use:

There are several canned tuna varieties to choose from, depending on your needs. “Chunk light tuna” is probably the most common and one of the less expensive options. Chunk light is smaller pieces and may appear a little shredded. “Solid albicore” is more expensive, but you’ll get nice big solid chunks of fish that will give your tuna salad more texture, and it can be a little less smelly. For more canned tuna language defined, check out Tuna Terms You Need to Know from Cooks Illustrated (they have great photos, too).

As for whether you should get your tuna packed in oil or water, that is a personal choice. Oil pack will give you a richer tuna salad, while water pack will give you a less caloric tuna salad. I find oil pack to be messy and difficult to drain, so I choose water pack for that reason alone.

Tuna Salad Dressing:

To give my tuna salad dressing flavor, I make sure to add in a little lemon juice to brighten it up and cut through the heaviness of the mayonnaise. I add a couple sliced green onions to add a little savory layer of flavor, and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper for a pop of flavor. They’re small additions that add up to a big difference in flavor.

Add Texture:

There are several things you can add to your tuna salad to add texture (and flavor). I like to add celery and walnuts. They each have their own “brand” of crunch that really adds to the interest of the tuna salad as you chew (mushy is boring). Here are some other ingredients you can add in to your tuna salad for texture:

  • sunflower seeds
  • shredded carrots
  • pickle relish
  • shredded radish 
  • olives
  • capers
  • dried cranberries
  • white beans
  • hard boiled eggs

How to Serve Tuna Salad

The recipe below is for the tuna salad only (not the sandwich fixings) because there are several ways you can serve tuna salad. We’re all familiar with the classic tuna salad sandwich, which is often built on toast with lettuce. You could also serve your tuna salad sans-bread, over a bed of greens, as an actual salad. Sometimes I eat it with just some crackers or celery for dipping, or you can stuff it into a pita or tortilla as a wrap. Lots of options, all delicious!

Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

 
Classic tuna salad in a bowl with bread and lettuce on the sides

Classic Tuna Salad

Say goodbye to gloopy, bland tuna salad and hello to a delicious tuna salad packed with flavor and texture! Perfect for brown bag lunches.
Total Cost $5.20 recipe / $1.30 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 462.38kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 12oz. cans chunk light tuna in water $3.98
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 2 ribs) $0.35
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts $0.30
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.12
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise* $0.40
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Drain the canned tuna well. Finely dice the celery, chop the walnuts, and slice the green onions.
  • Combine the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Serve as a sandwich, salad over a bed of greens, or with crackers and vegetables for dipping. Refrigerate up to four days.

Notes

*I like my tuna salad a little on the "dry" side. Add more mayonnaise if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 462.38kcal | Carbohydrates: 2.85g | Protein: 41.98g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 1215.78mg | Fiber: 4.55g

A classic tuna salad sandwich front view with sandwich fixings in the background

How to Make Classic Tuna Salad – Step by Step Photos

Classic Tuna Salad ingredients in a bowl

Drain two 12oz. cans of chunk light tuna in water. Finely dice about one cup of celery, chop 1/4 cup walnuts, and slice two green onions. Add the tuna, celery, walnuts, green onions to a bowl with ½ cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Stirred tuna salad in the bowl

Stir the ingredients to combine, then serve, or refrigerate up to four days. I do like my tuna salad a little bit dry, so if you prefer you can always add an extra tablespoon or two of mayonnaise to make it a little “softer.”

Tuna salad sandwich next to a tray with sandwich fixings

Serve your tuna salad as a sandwich, a salad (over a bed of greens), with crackers and vegetables for dipping, or stuffed into a pita or tortilla/wrap!

The post Classic Tuna Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Beef Taco Skillet

Sometimes I just throw random leftovers into a pot or skillet and just see how it turns out. 😜 But you can’t really go wrong with the ingredients that I used this time around. This Beef Taco Skillet isn’t that novel of a concept, but it was quite tasty and has a lot of room […]

The post Beef Taco Skillet appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sometimes I just throw random leftovers into a pot or skillet and just see how it turns out. 😜 But you can’t really go wrong with the ingredients that I used this time around. This Beef Taco Skillet isn’t that novel of a concept, but it was quite tasty and has a lot of room for customization, so I thought it would be the perfect “easy fix” meal to share. So tuck this Beef Taco Skillet Recipe into your bookmarks, because I think you’ll get great use out of it!

Beef Taco Skillet viewed from above, bowl of green onions on the side

I had a half pound of ground beef in my freezer, a pint of grape tomatoes that I bought for something else and never got around to using, the ever present half bunch of green onions in my fridge, and a bag of tortilla chips. They all went into the skillet with my homemade taco seasoning, a little cheese on top (I always seem to have random partial blocks of cheese in my fridge, too), and I had an incredibly easy and tasty dinner. 

Don’t the Chips Get Soft?

The tortilla chips soak up all the flavor in the skillet and get kind of soft, kind of like they do in chilaquiles, migas, or tortilla soup. It’s not a bad thing, IMHO. But if you’re not a fan of soft tortilla chips, you can always crush them over top of your skillet just before serving to make this more like a taco salad (minus the salad part). 

Other Topping Ideas

As I mentioned in the intro, this recipe is ripe for customization and you can throw just about any leftover ingredients that you might have on hand into the skillet. Anything that you might like on a taco, taco salad, or in a burrito would be good in this skillet. So check your fridge, freezer, and pantry for any of these items and toss them into the mix:

Can I Use Store Bought Taco Seasoning?

Yes, if you don’t have all the herbs and spices needed for the homemade taco seasoning in the recipe below, simply substitute one packet of store bought taco seasoning.

Can I Substitute the Ground Beef?

Yep, that’s easy, too! You can use any other ground meat (turkey, chicken, pork), or even just do an extra can of beans of you want to keep it vegetarian (extra black beans or pinto beans).

Close up of Beef Taco Skillet with a spatula scooping some out of the side

 
Close up overhead shot of beef taco skillet

Beef Taco Skillet

This Beef Taco Skillet can repurpose your leftover ingredients into a fast, easy, and hearty weeknight dinner.
Total Cost $6.30 recipe / $1.58 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 487.05kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder* $0.30
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02

Skillet Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. ground beef $2.85
  • 1 15oz. can black beans $0.89
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (or one large tomato) $1.49
  • 4 oz. tortilla chips $0.50
  • 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese $0.42
  • 1 green onion $0.11

Instructions

  • Combine the ingredients for the homemade taco seasoning in a small bowl (chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, cayenne, oregano, salt, and pepper).
  • Slice the green onion and cut the grape tomatoes in half (if using one large tomato, cut it into a small dice).
  • Add the ground beef to a skillet and cook over medium until it is fully browned. If you're using a higher fat content beef (20% or higher), drain the excess fat before moving to the next step. If you're using a very lean ground beef (<10% fat) you may need to add a touch of oil to the skillet to keep the beef from sticking.
  • While the beef is cooking, rinse and drain the can of black beans. Add the black beans to the skillet with the prepared taco seasoning. Continue to stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes more, or until heated through.
  • Add the tomatoes to the skillet and continue to cook over medium, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to break down a bit (about three more minutes).
  • Finally, add the tortilla chips and stir to combine with the other ingredients in the skillet.
  • Top the skillet with the shredded cheese, place a lid on top, and let it heat for 1-2 minutes, or just until the cheese is melted. Sprinkle the sliced green onions over top just before serving.

Notes

*chili powder is a blend of spices used to season chili and may be mild or hot depending on the brand. It is not pure ground red chile peppers.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 487.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.88g | Protein: 26.4g | Fat: 20.5g | Sodium: 863.3mg | Fiber: 15.1g

Close up overhead shot of beef taco skillet

How to Make Beef Taco Skillet – Step by Step Photos

taco seasoning spices in a small bowl

Combine the spices for the homemade taco seasoning: 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp ground cumin, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper. You can use a packet of store bought taco seasoning in place of the homemade taco seasoning, if needed.

Sliced green onion and grape tomatoes

Slice a green onion and a pint of grape tomatoes in half. You can use one large tomato in place of the grape tomatoes (I just happened to have those on hand and they needed to be used). If using a large tomato, cut it into a small dice.

browned ground beef in a skillet

Add 1/2 lb. ground beef to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is fully browned. If you’re using a high fat ground beef you’ll want to drain the excess fat off before moving to the next step. If you’re using a really low fat ground beef, you may need to add a little oil to the skillet to keep it from sticking. I used 15% fat beef, which didn’t need any extra oil and didn’t need to be drained.

black beans and taco seasoning added to the skillet

While the beef is cooking, rinse and drain the black beans. Add them to the skillet along with the taco seasoning. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat for a couple more minutes.

tomatoes added to the skillet

Add the tomatoes to the skillet and continue to stir and cook just until the tomatoes begin to break down (about 3 more minutes).

Tortilla chips added to the skillet

Finally, add about 4 oz. tortilla chips (you don’t have to be exact here. I just looked on the label and it said each serving was 1 oz., or about 12 chips, so I estimated). Stir the chips into the skillet.

Shredded cheese being added to the skillet

Top the skillet with 2 oz. shredded cheddar (about ½ cup). Place a lid on top and let it heat for a couple of minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

green onions added on top of the melted cheese in the skillet

Sprinkle the sliced green onions over the beef taco skillet just before serving.

Close up side view of the finished beef taco skillet

Enjoy this taco-nacho hybrid in a skillet for all its cheesy goodness!

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Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the […]

The post Gochujang Ramen with Tofu appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I love good quality food, but I also have a small place in my heart reserved for convenience foods like instant ramen or frozen pizzas. I don’t indulge in them often, and when I do I often spruce them up with something special to make them a little more interesting. I’ve posted before about the things I like to add to my instant ramen to give it an upgrade, and now I have a new favorite ingredient—gochujang! This sweet-salty-spicy paste creates a rich broth with plenty of umami that I balanced with some fresh spinach and chunks of mild tofu. This Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to indulge that noodle craving!

Two bowls of gochujang ramen with tofu, a bowl of gochujang on the side

What is Gochujang?

If you’ve never heard of gochujang, it’s a Korean chile paste made with chile peppers, rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It kind of reminds me of a spicy version of miso. Gochujang is really starting to trend in the U.S. because of its uniquely sweet-salty-spicy and UMAMI flavor. And because we’re all kind of over our infatuation with sriracha and looking for the next best thing. It’s those fermented soy beans that really set gochujang apart and give whatever you’re adding it to that extra “WOW” factor. So if you haven’t tried it yet, put it on your list!

Where to Buy Gochujang

Because gochujang is really becoming quite popular, you’ll probably be able to find some at most major grocery stores. My local kroger actually carries about 4-5 different kinds! I’m using this Sempio Gochujang. If you have an Asian grocery store near you, you’re sure to find a really good selection there, and probably much better prices. Want to try to make your own? Try this traditional gochujang recipe, or this quickie 5-minute gochujang.

To Use the Ramen Packet or Not to Use the Ramen Packet

Personally, I like to use my own broth when making ramen instead of using the little seasoning packet that comes with the noodles. I like the freedom of tweaking the flavors and salt content, but you can use the seasoning packet if you prefer. Gochujang has quite a bit of salt, so if you do want to use the flavor packet that comes with the instant ramen I suggest adding the gochujang to the water first (3 cups water), then adding a little of the flavor packet at a time until the broth reaches a reasonable salt level for you.

How Spicy is It?

Decently spicy, IMHO. You can reduce the amount of gochujang to make it slightly less spicy, if you prefer. Or, if you’re looking for non-spicy ways to spruce up your ramen, check out my post about 6 Ways to Upgrade Ramen, or my Vegan Creamy Mushroom Ramen.

What Should I Do With my Leftover Tofu?

This recipe uses half of a traditional 14oz. block of tofu. My first choice for using up the other half of the block would be to make a half batch of my Curried Tofu Salad. That stuff is to die for. You could also toss it into a stir fry, or chop it up, add some BBQ sauce and make yourself a BBQ Tofu Slider.

Gochujang ramen with tofu in the sauce pot on a yellow background with a black and white zig-zag napkin.

 
One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Gochujang Ramen with Tofu

Spicy gochujang gives this instant ramen extra oomph! Gochujang Ramen with Tofu is a quick and easy way to satisfy that noodle craving.
Total Cost $2.26 recipe / $1.13 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 322.15kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 7 oz. extra firm tofu $0.90
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 2 cups vegetable broth* $0.26
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang $0.46
  • 1 package instant ramen* $0.19
  • 2 cups fresh spinach $0.25
  • 2 green onions $0.20

Instructions

  • Drain the tofu and cut it into 1/2-inch cubes.
  • Add the water, vegetable broth, and gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang is dissolved.
  • Add the cubed tofu to the pot, place a lid on top, and bring it up to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add the instant ramen noodles (without seasoning). Boil for one to two minutes, or just until the noodles begin to soften and pull loose from each other.
  • Add two handfuls (about 2 cups) fresh spinach and stir it into the hot broth until wilted. The noodles will finish cooking as the spinach wilts.
  • Slice the green onions and sprinkle over top of the ramen just before serving.

Notes

*If using vegetable broth, discard the seasoning packet that comes with the ramen noodles. If using the seasoning packet, use 3 cups of water instead of 1 cup water and 2 cups vegetable broth. Add the gochujang to the water first, then add a small amount of the seasoning packet at a time until you reach the desired level of saltiness for the broth.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 322.15kcal | Carbohydrates: 37.55g | Protein: 15.9g | Fat: 12.6g | Sodium: 1347.35mg | Fiber: 3.1g

side view of a bowl of gochujang ramen with chopsticks picking up a piece of tofu

How to Make Gochujang Ramen with Tofu – Step by Step Photos

cubed tofu on a cutting board

Drain a 14oz. block of tofu and cut half of it into ½-inch cubes. See the notes above the recipe for ideas for using the remaining tofu.

Gochujang broth in a small sauce pot with a whisk, tub of gochujang on the side

Add 1 cup water, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 2 Tbsp gochujang to a small sauce pot. Whisk until the gochujang has dissolved.

Cubed tofu being dropped into the pot

Add the cubed tofu to the pot. Adding the tofu before we start boiling the broth gives it a few minutes to start absorbing some of the flavor from the broth, as opposed to adding it at the end. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat.

Ramen noodles added to the pot, empty package on the side

Once boiling, add the block of instant ramen noodles (without seasoning packet). Let the noodles boil for about a minute, or just until they being to soften up and loosen up from the block.

Spinach added to the pot

Add a couple handfuls of spinach to the pot and stir it in until wilted. This should give the noodles just enough time to finish cooking as well.

Finished gochujang ramen in the pot

Slice two green onions and sprinkle them over the ramen just before serving.

One bowl of gochujang ramen with tofu, chopsticks on the side

Enjoy that spicy goodness!!

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Crunchy Cabbage Salad

I ate my teriyaki meatball bowls all week as meal prep and absolutely loved them, but I desperately need another vegetable side to balance things out. So, I whipped up a quick crunchy cabbage salad and coated it in my yummy sesame ginger dressing. It was just perfect. The crunchiness of the the cabbage, carrots, […]

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I ate my teriyaki meatball bowls all week as meal prep and absolutely loved them, but I desperately need another vegetable side to balance things out. So, I whipped up a quick crunchy cabbage salad and coated it in my yummy sesame ginger dressing. It was just perfect. The crunchiness of the the cabbage, carrots, and peanuts was such a perfect contrast to the meatballs and rice.

Originally posted 2-6-2012, updated 7-23-2020.

Crunchy Cabbage Salad in a white serving dish with two forks, drizzled with sesame ginger dressing

Meal Prep It!

This salad holds up beautifully in the refrigerator, so it’s a great salad to use for meal prep! Just store the sesame ginger dressing separately from the vegetable salad mix, and add it just before serving. The salad mix (minus dressing) should stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days.

How to Serve Crunchy Cabbage Salad

This salad makes a great side dish, but you can also turn it into a main dish by topping it with some Sticky Ginger Soy Glazed Chicken, or Sesame Tempeh. You can also add some cold noodles to this salad for extra oomph (this is the same base as my Cold Peanut Noodle Salad).

What if I Don’t Like Cilantro?

You either love or you hate cilantro. It’s all good. If you’re not a cilantro lover, just leave it out of this salad. No need to replace it with anything. :)

See the full post for the Sesame Ginger Dressing for more information on the ingredients and step by step instructions.

Crunchy cabbage salad coated in dressing, dished out to two bowls.

Sesame ginger dressing being poured over the crunchy cabbage salad

Crunchy Cabbage Salad

This crunchy cabbage salad holds up great in the refrigerator, so you can have a fresh crunchy vegetable side all week long!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 1 cup each
Calories 213.72kcal

Ingredients

Salad

  • 4 cups shredded purple cabbage $0.97
  • 2 carrots $0.15
  • 4 green onions $0.22
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro $0.40
  • ½ cup peanuts $0.25

Sesame Ginger Dressing

  • ¼ cup neutral salad oil* $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar $0.27
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.06
  • 1.5 Tbsp honey $0.18
  • 1/2 Tbsp tahini $0.10
  • 1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.02
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger $0.15

Instructions

  • Shred the cabbage as finely as possible. Grate the carrots and slice the green onion. Pull the cilantro leaves from the stems
  • Add the shredded cabbage, carrots, green onion, cilantro, and peanuts to a large bowl. Toss to combine.
  • To make the dressing, add the salad oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, tahini, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and ginger to a blender. Blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy.
  • When you're ready to eat, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss until coated. Serve immediately

Notes

*Any neutral-flavored salad oil, like peanut, canola, safflower, grapeseed, or sesame (untoasted) will work fine for this dressing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 213.72kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.88g | Protein: 5.08g | Fat: 16.78g | Sodium: 179.27mg | Fiber: 4.58g

How to Make Crunchy Cabbage Salad – Step by Step Photos

Purple cabbage cut into quarters and shredded

First, shred your purple cabbage. You’ll want about 4 cups once shredded, which for me was half of this small head of cabbage. To shred the cabbage, first cut it into quarters, then cut the core off the quarter. Finally, cut across the quarter to shred the cabbage as finely as possible.

shredded carrot and sliced green onion

Also shred two carrots (I use a cheese grater) and slice 4 green onions.

Salad ingredients in the bowl

Pull the leaves from about ½ bunch of cilantro (about 1 cup cilantro leaves). Add the shredded cabbage, carrot, sliced green onion, cilantro leaves, and ½ cup peanuts to a large bowl.

Sesame ginger dressing ingredients in a blender

Next, make the Sesame Ginger Dressing. Add ¼ cup neutral salad oil (anything light-flavored oil like canola, peanut, grapeseed, etc.), 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1.5 Tbsp honey, ½ Tbsp tahini, ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 clove garlic (minced), and ½ Tbsp grated fresh ginger to a blender. Blend until the dressing is smooth and creamy.

Sesame ginger dressing being poured over the crunchy cabbage salad

Pour the sesame ginger dressing over the salad and enjoy!

The post Crunchy Cabbage Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Craving BBQ, but don’t have a pit? These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches only take about 30 minutes to make and cost only a couple of bucks a piece, making them a really fast, inexpensive, and tasty way to kill that BBQ craving. Keep this recipe in your back pocket because you’ll be pulling it out […]

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Craving BBQ, but don’t have a pit? These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches only take about 30 minutes to make and cost only a couple of bucks a piece, making them a really fast, inexpensive, and tasty way to kill that BBQ craving. Keep this recipe in your back pocket because you’ll be pulling it out often for quick weeknight dinners!

Two Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, one on a wooden cutting board

This recipe utilizes my Quick BBQ Chicken recipe, which I created as a sort of “à la carte” meat option for households who are trying to feed both meat-eaters and vegetarians. In addition to adding this super simple BBQ chicken to other recipes, it can also be used to make sandwiches and wraps, like this one! 

Coleslaw Options

I really like the combination of BBQ and ranch dressing, so I made a quick “ranch slaw” for this sandwich using bagged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) and a thick ranch dressing as the dressing. If you’re not into ranch (many people aren’t), try my classic creamy coleslaw recipe instead. It also goes great with BBQ!

Other BBQ Chicken Sandwich Topping Ideas

I kept my BBQ Chicken Sandwiches simple, because that’s how I roll, but if you like to get fancy, here are some other things you can add on top of your sandwich:

  • Pickles
  • French Fried Onions
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Fresh red onions
  • Sliced avocado
  • Bacon
  • Pineapple slices

What Kind of BBQ Sauce is Best?

You can use pretty much any type of BBQ sauce for this recipe, so I suggest going with whatever brand or flavor that you like the best. I’m not too picky about BBQ sauce, so I used what I had on hand, which was a Kroger brand hickory smoke flavored BBQ sauce. I also tend to like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauces, so that’s another affordable option. Or, you can even try making your own Homemade BBQ Sauce.

What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

I’m a big fan of sweet potatoes with BBQ, so I love Spicy Sweet Potato Fries as a side for these BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. Thick cut Steak Fries (and maybe some Comeback Sauce) would also be awesome on the side. If you’re looking for something a little more fresh and vibrant to lighten up the plate, try Cowboy Caviar!

Front view of a single Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a wooden cutting board

 

 

Front view of a single Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a wooden cutting board

Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are a fast, easy, and delicious way to satisfy your BBQ craving. No grill needed! Perfect for busy weeknights.
Total Cost $7.04 recipe / $1.76 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 415.23kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp pepper $0.02
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs $2.99
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil $0.04
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce $0.11
  • 7 oz. coleslaw mix* $0.65
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20
  • 1/4 cup ranch dressing $0.37
  • 4 buns $2.49

Instructions

  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic, powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Cut any large chicken thighs in half to make them more sandwich-sized (you'll want four pieces total). Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared spice mix.
  • Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the seasoned chicken and cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken thighs are well browned and cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the heat and brush BBQ sauce over both sides of each piece.
  • Add the coleslaw mix, sliced green onions, and ranch dressing to a bowl. Stir until everything is combined and evenly coated in dressing.
  • To build the sandwiches, place one piece of BBQ chicken on each bun and top with a heaping scoop of the ranch slaw. Serve immediately.

Notes

* This is a bagged mix of pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. I used half of a 14oz. bag.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 415.23kcal | Carbohydrates: 32.28g | Protein: 28.18g | Fat: 18.73g | Sodium: 1552.98mg | Fiber: 2.3g

Looking for a vegetarian option? Try my BBQ Tofu Sliders.

How to Make Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken thighs on an orange cutting board

In a small bowl, combine 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Cut any large chicken thighs in half to make them more sandwich-sized. You’ll need about 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Season both sides of the chicken thighs with the prepared spices.

Cooked chicken thighs in a skillet

Heat 1 Tbsp cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, swirl the oil in the skillet to coat the surface, then add the seasoned thighs. Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, or until they are well browned and cooked through.

BBQ sauce being brushed onto chicken thighs in the skillet

Turn off the heat and brush BBQ sauce over both sides of the chicken pieces (about ¼ cup in total).

Ranch slaw ingredients in a mixing bowl

To make the ranch slaw, combine 7 oz. (half of a 14 oz. bag) of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots), 2 sliced green onions, and ¼ cup ranch dressing.

Finished ranch slaw in a mixing bowl

Stir until everything is combined and coated in dressing.

BBQ chicken sandwich being built on a wooden cutting board

To build the BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, place one piece of chicken on a bun and top with a heaping scoop of the ranch slaw.

Two BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, one on a cutting board, the other in the background.

The post Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Sesame Cucumber Salad

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer […]

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This salad is one of the very first recipes I ever posted on Budget Bytes. Like, way back when I was still taking photos with my pre-smart-phone era phone. Yikes! Because this Sesame Cucumber Salad is still one of my favorite dishes and my favorite way to use up all those delicious and inexpensive summer cucumbers, I had to repost it and give it the proper attention it needs. So, if this Sesame Cucumber recipe is new to you, I hope it becomes one of your go-to fav’s as it has for me. It will serve you well!

Originally posted July 2019, updated 7-9-2020.

A bowl of Sesame Cucumber Salad from above, chopsticks on the side

Do I Have to Use Rice Vinegar?

I strongly urge you not to substitute the rice vinegar in this recipe. Rice vinegar has a uniquely mild flavor and acidity that is just perfect for this recipe. While people have substituted the rice vinegar with white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, I find them both a bit too strong for this recipe. Also, be mindful not to use “seasoned” rice vinegar, which has other ingredients added and tastes quite different.

Where Do You Find Rice Vinegar?

Rice vinegar is fairly inexpensive, can be found in the Asian section of most major grocery stores, and will stay good in your pantry for just about forever. If you make Budget Bytes recipes on the regular, I promise it will get used again! In fact, here is a direct link to all the recipes on my website that use Rice Vinegar.

What is Toasted Sesame Oil?

The other key ingredient in this cucumber salad is toasted sesame oil. Unlike regular sesame oil, toasted sesame oil has a very strong nutty flavor and a little bit can really add a LOT of flavor to any dish. You can find toasted sesame oil in the international aisle of most major grocery stores, or Asian grocery stores. It may not say “toasted” on the label, but you’ll know it is toasted by the deep walnut color. Untoasted sesame oil is a light straw color, like canola oil.

How Long Does This Salad Last?

This salad does get kind of limp in the refrigerator fairly quickly, but it’s still insanely good once the cucumbers soften. They’re almost like pickled cucumber slices at that point. They’ve been marinating in the spicy-sweet vinegar solution and are just totally delicious! I enjoy this salad for about 2-3 days after making it (if I don’t eat it all sooner). If you like your cucumbers to stay crunchy, try cutting them into chunks instead of thin slices.

Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

 
Side view of a bowl of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks picking up one slice of cucumber

Sesame Cucumber Salad

Sesame Cucumber Salad is light, refreshing, and vibrant in flavor. It's the perfect summer side dish or companion to any Southeast Asian inspired meal.
Total Cost $2.44 recipe / $0.41 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 62.82kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

DRESSING

  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar $0.70
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.05
  • 1/4 crushed red pepper $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 2 large cucumbers $1.38
  • 3 green onions $0.13
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts $0.12

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, crushed red pepper, and salt. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel and slice the cucumber using your favorite method (see photos below for my technique). Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl.
  • Chop the peanuts into smaller pieces. Slice the green onions.
  • Add the peanuts, green onions, and dressing to the sliced cucumbers. Stir to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat. Give the salad a brief stir before serving to redistribute the dressing and flavors.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 62.82kcal | Carbohydrates: 7.63g | Protein: 1.87g | Fat: 3.1g | Sodium: 199.82mg | Fiber: 1.4g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Overhead view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad

How to Make Sesame Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Spicy vinegar dressing in a bowl

Start by making the dressing. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, and 1/2 tsp salt. Set the dressing aside.

Bottle of toasted sesame oil and a bottle of rice vinegar

Here is the toasted sesame oil and rice vinegar that I used. The sesame oil is from Aldi and the rice vinegar is from Kroger.

Two cucumbers, one half peeled

Peel and slice two large cucumbers however you like. I like to remove strips of the peel to create a cool striped effect once they’re sliced. If you don’t like cucumber seeds, you can slice the cucumber lengthwise before slicing into rounds and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds in the center.

Two cucumbers, one mostly sliced

I prefer thin slices so that there is more surface area to come into contact with the dressing. The thinner slices will become soft and wobbly after storing them in the dressing, but I kind of like that, too. If you prefer them to stay crunchy longer, you’ll want to do thicker slices. 

Sliced green onion and chopped peanuts

Roughly chop 1/4 cup peanuts and slice 3 green onions.

Dressing being poured over cucumbers, green onion, and peanuts

Place the sliced cucumbers in a large bowl, add the sliced green onion and chopped peanuts, then pour the dressing over top.

Finished sesame cucumber salad in the bowl

Finally, stir it all up and you’re ready to eat! Serve it immediately or refrigerate for later.

Side view of a bowl full of sesame cucumber salad, chopsticks on the side

The flavors do get really good as it sits in the fridge, although the cucumbers get softer (some people don’t like that–I kind of do!). Either way, this Thai Cucumber Salad is super refreshing and delicious. It always has been and always will be my favorite!

The post Sesame Cucumber Salad appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, tangy, and filling, these Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are an awesome comforting weeknight dinner. Whether you cook a couple of chicken breasts up quickly in a skillet, or use pre-cooked chicken like rotisserie chicken or canned chicken breast, this recipe comes together easily. I smothered these chicken enchiladas with a really quick homemade green […]

The post Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Creamy, tangy, and filling, these Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are an awesome comforting weeknight dinner. Whether you cook a couple of chicken breasts up quickly in a skillet, or use pre-cooked chicken like rotisserie chicken or canned chicken breast, this recipe comes together easily. I smothered these chicken enchiladas with a really quick homemade green chile sauce that only takes about 10 minutes to make, and has a LOT more flavor than store bought canned enchilada sauce, so try not to skip it if you can!

A casserole dish with green chile chicken enchiladas next to a bowl of pico de gallo

Chicken Options

I cooked up a couple of chicken breasts in a skillet for these enchiladas (instructions included in the recipe below), but you can take a short cut by using rotisserie chicken or canned chicken breast, if you want to make this recipe even easier. You’ll need about 2 cups of chopped cooked and cooled chicken for the enchilada filling. 

Can I Add More Vegetables?

Yes, you can add more vegetables to the enchilada filling, if you’d like. Since you’ll be adding more volume, I suggest either making more enchiladas (maybe 16 enchiladas) or reducing the meat by half to make up for the added vegetables. Vegetables that would go good in these green chile chicken enchiladas include: zucchini (sautéed first to remove moisture), spinach (chopped and sautéed or frozen, thawed), or frozen corn (thawed). 

Or you can just add a bunch of vegetables as you side dish to get your balance. ;)

What to Serve with Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

There are so many great side dishes that would go with these enchiladas. Try one of the following:

Are These Enchiladas Spicy?

I would consider these enchiladas “medium” spicy. I used pepper jack cheese, which has spicy peppers, as well as a little cayenne pepper in the filling. If your canned green chiles (used to make the enchilada sauce) are spicy as well, your enchiladas will be more on the spicy side.

If you want to make these enchiladas mild, simply swap out the pepper jack cheese for Monterey Jack, skip the cayenne pepper in the filling, and make sure you use mild canned green chiles.

Close up overhead view of green chile chicken enchiladas in a casserole dish

 
front view of green chile chicken enchiladas in the casserole dish

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

A creamy, cheesy chicken filling inside toasted corn tortillas, smothered with a homemade sauce makes these green chile chicken enchiladas to die for!
Total Cost $11.32 recipe / $1.89 serving
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 2 enchiladas each
Calories 434.9kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Enchiladas

  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas $0.68
  • 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.02
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast* $6.43
  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.22
  • 8 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded and divided $1.69
  • 2 green onions, sliced $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin $0.05
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 4oz. cans diced green chiles $1.58
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour $0.02
  • 1 tsp ground cumin $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1 cup water $0.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, toast the tortillas for 30-60 seconds on each side, or until browned on the edges (no oil needed). Stack the toasted tortillas on a plate and cover with foil or an upside down bowl to keep them from drying out.
  • Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium, add the cooking oil, and swirl to coat the surface. Add the chicken breast and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (165ºF internal temperature). Transfer the chicken breast to a clean cutting board to cool.
  • While the chicken is cooking, begin the green chile enchilada sauce. Add both cans of diced green chiles (with liquid) to a blender and purée until smooth.
  • Add the cooking oil, flour, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder to a small sauce pot. Stir and cook over medium, allowing the mixture to come up to a bubble. Once bubbling, continue to cook and stir for 1 minute.
  • Carefully add the water and puréed green chiles to the sauce pot and whisk to combine. Allow the sauce to come back up to a simmer, stirring often. Once simmering, turn off the heat, and season with salt (about ½ tsp). Set the sauce aside.
  • Begin preheating the oven to 350ºF. Add the sour cream, half of the shredded pepper jack, sliced green onions, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne and salt to a large bowl. Finely dice the chicken, then add it to the bowl with the other ingredients. Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Begin assembling the enchiladas. Add about ¼ cup of the prepared filling to the center of each tortilla and then roll it closed. Place the filled tortillas in a casserole dish, seam side down.
  • Pour the prepared green chile enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, then top with the remaining shredded pepper jack cheese. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Serve hot.

Notes

*You can use pre-cooked chicken, if preferred. This price reflects organic chicken breasts.

Nutrition

Serving: 2enchiladas | Calories: 434.9kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.7g | Protein: 29.27g | Fat: 24.67g | Sodium: 958.02mg | Fiber: 4.08g

Scroll down for the step by step photos!

front view of green chile chicken enchiladas in the casserole dish

How to Make Green Chile Enchiladas – Step by Step Photos

two stacks of corn tortillas, one toasted, one untoasted

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Once hot, add the tortillas and toast on each side for 30-60 seconds or until browned (no oil needed). Place the toasted tortillas on a plate and cover with foil or an upside down bowl to keep them from drying out.

Cooked Chicken in a skillet

Turn the heat under the skillet down to medium. Add ½ Tbsp cooking oil to the hot skillet and swirl to coat. Add two boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through (165ºF internal temperature). Transfer the cooked chicken to a clean cutting board to cool.

Pureed green chiles in the blender

While the chicken is cooking, begin the green chile enchilada sauce. Purée two 4oz. cans of diced green chiles (with the liquid from the can) in a blender.

Oil, flour, and spices in a sauce pot

Add 2 Tbsp cooking oil, 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp ground cumin, ½ tsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp onion powder to a sauce pot. Cook and stir over medium until it begins to bubble. Once bubbling, continue to cook and stir for one minute.

A spoon dipping into the thickened enchilada sauce

Add 1 cup water and the puréed green chiles. Whisk to combine, then allow it to come back up to a simmer (stirring frequently). Once simmering it will thicken slightly. Season with salt (about ½ tsp), then set the sauce aside.

Chopped chicken on a cutting board

Finely chop the cooked chicken.

chicken enchilada filling ingredients in a bowl, not mixed.

Begin preheating the oven to 350ºF. Add ½ cup sour cream, 4oz. shredded pepper jack (1 cup), 2 sliced green onions, ½ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp cayenne, ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp salt, and the chopped chicken to a bowl. Stir to combine.

chicken filling in one tortilla, the bowl and casserole dish in the background

Begin assembling the chicken enchiladas. Add about ¼ cup filling to each toasted tortilla, then roll closed. Place the filled tortillas in a casserole dish, seam side down.

Green chile enchilada sauce being poured over enchiladas.

Pour the prepared green chile enchilada sauce over the enchiladas.

Top enchiladas with pepper jack cheese

Top with the remaining 4oz. (1 cup) shredded pepper jack cheese. 

Baked green chile chicken enchialdas topped with cilantro

Bake the enchiladas in the preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling around the edges. (I garnished with chopped cilantro, but it’s not really needed for flavor). 

Side view of the casserole dish full of green chile chicken enchiladas

Serve hot! Side dish recommendations in the blog post above the recipe! :)

The post Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Fried Rice (Takeout Style!)

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food. What’s your favorite comfort food? Mac and cheese and pizza can do the trick, but here’s our ultimate: Fried Rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant! Start with day old rice, if possible! The most basic adage for this classic recipe is: use day old rice. Why use day old rice for fried rice?  Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. If you use fresh rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy. Day old rice dries out. When you cook it, the grains stay separate and form that signature texture. For the best fried rice, make it using leftovers (stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator) or boil a pot the night before. What if you don’t have day […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food.

Best Fried Rice

What’s your favorite comfort food? Mac and cheese and pizza can do the trick, but here’s our ultimate: Fried Rice! There’s something about the chewy clumps of eggs and the savory ginger and soy-infused bites that feels positively life giving. Usually we make fried rice on the fly without a recipe. But after years of tinkering, we wanted to share our master method. Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: it tastes just like takeout from your favorite restaurant!

Start with day old rice, if possible!

The most basic adage for this classic recipe is: use day old rice. Why use day old rice for fried rice? 

  • Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. If you use fresh rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy.
  • Day old rice dries out. When you cook it, the grains stay separate and form that signature texture. For the best fried rice, make it using leftovers (stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator) or boil a pot the night before.
  • What if you don’t have day old rice? Keep reading for a shortcut…
How to make fried rice

No day old rice for fried rice? Here’s a trick!

Sometimes we don’t think ahead enough to have rice made up the night before. While that’s the primary path to fried rice, we’ve got a little shortcut. If you want to make fried rice the same day, here’s our shortcut.

  • Make the rice. Once it’s finished steaming, proceed to the next step.
  • Spread on a tray and freeze 15 minutes: Spread the freshly cooked rice onto a rimmed sheet pan or tray: you’ll notice lots of steam since it’s still hot. Place the tray in the freezer and freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.
Egg fried rice

Ingredients for the best fried rice

The very best fried rice, the kind that tastes like takeout, has very specific ingredients to get that signature flavor. Here are the ingredients for fried rice:

  • Rice: Medium or long grain rice is best, because short grain rice can become clumpy. Basmati rice is a nice option. You can use either white rice or brown rice.
  • Sesame oil: For cooking; use the standard variety, not toasted sesame oil.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic veggies form the base.
  • Fresh ginger: Very important for the very best flavor. Find fresh ginger root in the produce section in your grocery.
  • Carrots, peas, and green cabbage (optional): Carrots and peas are classic. Green cabbage is optional, but it adds a nice contrasting texture.
  • Eggs: Eggs are a must and add protein to make the recipe filling.
  • Soy sauce: Essential for the final flavoring.
  • Fish sauce (optional): It really amps the flavors to the next level, if you have it on hand. But it’s not necessary!

Fried rice variations

With a recipe as time-honored as this, there’s bound to be endless variations on the theme. Here are some of our favorite ways to change up fried rice, in order of preference:

  • Shrimp Fried Rice: Add sauteed shrimp to make an incredibly flavorful and filling main dish. Our family favorite!
  • Other Protein: Cook up some chicken, beef or pork to add to the mix.
  • Quinoa Fried Rice: Use quinoa instead of rice for a unique spin.
  • Three Onion Fried Rice: Use onions, shallots, and green onions to enhance the savory flavor.
  • Cauliflower Fried Rice: Go grain free! Use cauliflower rice in place of the standard whole grain.
Shrimp fried rice
Adding shrimp makes it a filling healthy dinner recipe

Make it a meal! What to serve with fried rice

Confession: in the past we’ve floundered when it comes to what to serve with egg fried rice. But take note: you’ve got to add some side dishes to make it a healthy meal. (Or make the shrimp version and it’s a full meal!) Here are some of our favorite sides to go with fried rice:

Homemade fried rice

Vegan fried rice variation!

Love eating plant based? The egg is integral to the texture: but we’ve got a substitute for you that makes vegan fried rice:

  • Make a tofu scramble! Go to Easy Tofu Scramble. Make sure to get the pieces fairly small so they’ll integrate into the texture like an egg would.
  • Make the fried rice without the egg, then stir in the tofu at the end.

This fried rice recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, see the notes in the recipe.

Print
Best Fried Rice

*Best* Fried Rice (Takeout Style!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s how to make the very best fried rice: takeout style! Egg, veggies, garlic and ginger bring aromatic flavor to this homemade comfort food.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (about 1 inch nub)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 cups chopped green cabbage (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 4 eggs*
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked rice, at least 1 day old (use How to Cook Rice or Instant Pot Rice), or use shortcut**
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • Green onion, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Mince the ginger. Peel the carrots, then dice them. If using, chop the cabbage.
  2. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil medium high. Saute the carrots and onion for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, peas and salt for 1 minute.
  3. Push the rice to the side. Add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the eggs and pinch of salt, and scramble them in for 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through.
  4. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce, if using. Taste and add additional soy sauce if necessary. Heat for a minute or two, stirring, until all rice is coated. Serve hot.

Notes

*For a vegan variation, make a Tofu Scramble first, keeping the pieces fairly small. Make the rice without the egg, then stir in the scrambled tofu in the last step. 

**Trick: If you don’t have day old rice, here’s a shortcut. Make the rice.  Then spread it onto a rimmed sheet pan and put it into the freezer. Freeze for about 15 to 20 minutes until the grains become cool to the touch. Some might even become frozen: that’s ok! They’ll heat right back up once they hit the pan.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fried
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: Fried Rice, Egg Fried Rice, How to Make Fried Rice

More rice recipes

There are so many tasty ways to eat rice! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Spanish Rice and Beans A pantry-staple sort of meal that works as a healthy vegan and vegetarian dinner or a hearty side.
  • Black Beans and Rice Long-grain rice is jumbled with black beans and green bell pepper, and seasoned with cumin, lime and cilantro.
  • Asparagus Risotto This flavor-packed risotto pairs creamy arborio rice with Parmesan and lemony roasted asparagus.
  • Easy Shrimp Paella A traditional Spanish dish that looks simply stunning.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes