Foodie Friday: Focus on Tofu

Hey, Friday!

I’ve decided to dedicate Friday posts to new stars in the kitchen – New foods I want to try (and probably many that I don’t…), that are invited into my meals for a little experimenting.

So far, I have these things on the list:

  • Yucca
  • Parsnips
  • Tempeh
  • Beet Burgers (Interesting, no? Hmm..)

What would you add? I’m open to pretty much anything! Let’s have fun with this.

*****

Tofu is the first contender; my initial experience wasn’t great, in fact I left all of the tofu (from a Tofu Berry Salad) on the plate after taking one bite. It wasn’t cooked or flavored. Raw Tofu is not my friend.

To backtrack, what is Tofu? Why would you eat it in the first place?

Tofu is a plant-based protein source, often seen in vegetarian dishes as a meat “substitute”. It provides ~12 g of protein per serving (100 calories), and is a good source of Calcium and Iron.  For most Vegans, it serves as the main dietary source of Calcium.

How it’s made: Tofu is a bean curd, created using coagulated Soy Milk. It has very little flavor on its own, lending itself to savory or sweet dishes, easily seasoned or marinated to fit a meal.

********

Red & Black Pepper Balsamic Tofu

Before leaving for my run, I mixed up a marinade. I’ve never baked/cooked/prepared Tofu before, but if I know one thing, it’s that this stuff needs FLAVOR. My improv-marinade contained the following:

~3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
~1 tsp Canola Oil
Ground roasted red pepper, Black Pepper

The tofu slices soaked in the fridge for ~50 minutes, while I headed out for a run.  To bake: heat the oven to 400* and put it in for ~15 minutes.

Roasted Red Pepper slices
Avocado Slices
Whole-wheat Pita
Lite Ranch Spread

Sidenote: Apologies for some poor quality pictures. I usually take them with my Blackberry- which, in his defense, takes some pretty good pics! Just not of Tofu. Either way, camera purchase in the works.

Protein: Tofu
Carbs: Whole-wheat Pita
Fat: Avocado slices
Vitamins A & C: Red Peppers, Avocado (vit C)
B vitamins: Avocado
Fiber: Avocado & Whole-wheat Pita

Verdict: I could definitely taste the strong roasted red peppers (fave!) and avocado flavors; the Tofu was there, but simply as a texture. It didn’t add much to the sandwich, other than bulk and nutrients.

One serving was ~2 slices, so I tried my second one with a little marinara (to complement the balsamic / pepper marinade). Thumbs up! Meaning, this can (and will) go in a pasta dish soon.  We still have 1/2 block left, so there will be experiment #2. Tina, from Carrots ‘n’ Cake had a great idea – use this instead of Protein Powder in Smoothies. Post Saturday-morning LR? I might see you again soon, white-protein-block!

What’s your favorite way to eat Tofu?

******

P.S. I’ll be giving a short talk on Sports Nutrition in Alexandria tomorrow for the PRR Marathon (Sunday). If you’re there, come say hi!

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10 Comments

Filed under dinners, learning, new things!, Nutrition, recipes

10 responses to “Foodie Friday: Focus on Tofu

  1. I’ve always been a picky eater and just now I’m starting to “expand my horizons” and get into new foods, so my list of new foods to try is pretty extensive. Last night I had stir fry for the first time (I know. I’m a weird eater). I’m really trying to branch out especially with vegetables – my new favorite is broccoli!

  2. I *still* have no tried tofu. Thanks for the idea!

  3. I like silken tofu in smoothies… it makes for such a nice texture.

    I may need to try this method though. I bought some firm tofu and froze it (cause I heard it has better texture when it’s been frozen and thawed) but I haven’t done anything with it yet because I’ve been unsure what to do!

  4. Yumke

    Mapo tofu (veggie version) with white steamed rice is one of the joys of eating. Use medium or soft tofu.

  5. Pingback: Tweets that mention foodie friday is focusing on tofu! whats your fave version? -- Topsy.com

  6. Yeah, i want to try tofu in my smoothies sometime too.

  7. Hi Heather,
    Those Beety Burgers look AMAZING. I’m so glad you posted that link, I can’t wait to try them. I’ve been researching the concept of purchasing/using less plastic, but one plastic-wrapped item I can’t live without is veggie burgers. This recipe will give me no excuse now – I look forward to your post on that.
    E. usually prepares our tofu (he was raised vegetarian) and has quite the knack for it. Last night we enjoyed tofu sliced 1/2″ thick, thoroughly browned in a pan with a bit of butter, add a splash of soy sauce, and coat in brewers/nutritional yeast. It took me a while to get used to this, but I’m now hooked!
    And as an aside… we dined out for lunch yesterday – E ordered a tofu scramble in which the tofu resembled the raw cubes that graced your salad. Eew. We discussed the importance of ‘browining’ tofu for texture, just as you would chicken or beef. in addition to flavoring it well. Just a thought…

  8. LOVE yucca – see if you can find a recipe for yucca with mojo or garlic sauce. simple and delicious! Glad to see you’re still experimenting with tofu 🙂 My favorite way to eat tofu is in stir fries or braised (i guess?). For stir fries I’ll stick with firm tofu chopped up in cubes and for ma po tofu (a spicy szechuan tofu dish that can be made with meat or no meat) I prefer silken or firm. It’s all about mixing up the textures and using strong flavors to supplement the tofu – too much mush = bad!

    Stay cool over there – I heard it’s going to be super hot tomorrow!!

  9. Pingback: Friday Food Focus: Tempeh « Dietitian on the Run

  10. At last! Someone who understands! Thanks for psonitg!

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