Think you hate tofu? You haven’t tried these
With the world in the grip of a health crisis, it’s good to plan flexible eating strategies. Many of us rely on meat as one of our primary sources of protein.
But with an open mind, let’s talk tofu.
It is high in protein and contains the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides fats and carbs, vitamins and minerals.
My husband hated tofu. I know there are a lot of folks in that camp.
Phil eats everything from beets to liverwurst, stinky cheese to uni.
But up until the last couple of years, he drew the I-won’teat-that line in the sand when it came to tofu.
The change came when I was too busy to cook due to a looming book deadline; he prepared a garlic-y Korean chicken-noodle soup that contained cubes of tofu.
That irresistible tofu-spiked soup was pivotal.
Now once or twice a month, he eats tofu. Not on French vacations or camping trips with his buddies, but at home.
Due to my tofu improvement program, designed to build flavor, we are no longer locked in tofu wars.
Yield: 4 servings
• 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
• K yellow onion, diced
• N pound ground turkey
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• K cup vegetable broth
• 1K tablespoons oyster sauce
• 14 ounces extra firm tofu, patted dry, cut into O- inch cubes
• 2 cups frozen peas and carrots (no need to defrost)
• N cup water
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 2 green onions, sliced, including half of dark green stalks
• N cup store-bought sweet chili sauce, see cook’s notes
Cook’s notes: We like the sweet spiciness of sweet chili sauce, but if you prefer it spicier, use Sriracha sauce or Yuzu Pao (Sriracha spiked with yuzu citrus juice). I like to use the sweet chili sauce and add Sriracha to taste.
1. Heat a large deep skillet or wok over medium-high heat. When hot, swirl in the oil, add the yellow onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until onion is softened and translucent. Add the meat
and use your spatula to stir and break up.
2. When the meat begins to lose its pink color, add the garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute. Stir in broth and oyster sauce; bring to a simmer. Add the tofu and peas and carrots. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, whisk water and cornstarch. Stir this mixture into the pan and let cook for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the green onions and season with sweet chili sauce or hot sauce.
Broccoli Tofu Stir-fry
Yield: 6 servings
• K cup fat free, low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 tablespoon sodium-reduced soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
• Pinch dried red chili flakes
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch
• 1 pound extra-firm tofu
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
• 1 tablespoon peanut oil
• K teaspoon Asian roasted sesame oil
• Nonstick spray
• O pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and discarded (or used to prepare broth for future use), cut into Ninch wide slices
• 2K cup small broccoli florets, about 1K inches long
• 3 green onions, cut diagonally into N- inch slices, including half of dark green stalks
• 1 large clove garlic, minced
1. In a small bowl, combine broth,
soy sauce, hoisin, chili flakes and cornstarch. Stir to combine and set next to stove.
2. Drain tofu and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into 1-inch cubes. In a bowl, gently toss tofu with sesame seeds. Heat oils in wok or large, deep nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add sesame-coated tofu cubes and stir-fry until nicely browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer tofu to plate or pie plate.
3. Spray skillet generously with nonstick spray and return to medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until softened, about 4 minutes.
Add broccoli and stir-fry until broccoli is tender crisp, about 4 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water if mixture seems to dry.
Add green onions and garlic; stirfry about 30 seconds. Stir broth mixture and add to broccoli mixture. Add tofu. Cook, gently stirring until sauce thickens (I use a silicone spatula). If desired, serve spooned over cooked brown rice, quinoa or farro.
Chipotle Tofu Tacos
Yield: 4 servings
• 1 12-to-15-ounce black extrafirm tofu
Ingredients for marinade
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon shoyu, or tamari, or coconut aminos
• 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice or apple juice
• 2 teaspoons maple syrup
• 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or non-GMO cornstarch
• K teaspoon ground chipotle
• K teaspoon chili powder
• K teaspoon garlic powder
• K teaspoon smoke paprika or regular paprika
Ingredients for avocado-lime crema
• 1 large ripe avocado (pitted, peeled)
• Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt or soy-free Vegenaise or sour cream
• K cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
• Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
• N teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
For serving: warm corn tortillas or whole lettuce leaves, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, radishes, salsa
1. Slice tofu in half lengthwise, wrap the blocks in paper towels and place on cutting board. Place something heavy, such as a skillet filled with cans, on top and allow to sit for 15 minutes or longer if possible.
Don’t worry if they can only sit for a couple of minutes. Cut into 1inch cubes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In medium-size bowl or container that can hold the tofu in one layer, mix all the marinade ingredients until well combined. Add tofu and gently coat each piece, trying not to break the cubes. If you have time let it marinate for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. Otherwise proceed to baking it (Step #4).
3. Meanwhile make the crema: In a food processor or blender, combine all crema ingredients and process until smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out if necessary. Taste and add more salt if needed.
4. Arrange tofu in one layer on prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated oven or until golden on the edges, tossing tofu halfway through baking time. Serve with tortillas or lettuce leaves as a taco with avocado crema or use atop a salad. Mapo Tofu adapted from “Steamy Kitchen’s Healthy Asian Favorites” by Jaden Hair (Ten Speed, $24). Broccoli Tofu Stir-Fry from “50 Best Plants on the Planet” by Cathy Thomas (Chronicle, $35). Chipotle Tofu Tacos adapted from “Pamela Salzman’s Quicker Than Quick” by Pamela Salzman (Hachette, $28).
Mapo Tofu features ground turkey, peas and carrots, but the starring attraction is large cubes of tofu.
Chipotle Tofu Tacos is a vegan meal that meat eaters and flexitarians will crave.