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Silly Vegetarians…There Is More Than One Way To Cook & Enjoy Tofu

I don’t know about you, but tofu is my preferred vegetarian protein.  As a food lover and a novice cook,  I can

Enjoy Tofu Fried

Enjoy Tofu Fried

appreciate the flexibility tofu offers with flavors and preparation. I like to think of tofu as a blank canvas (just stay with me here) that I am able to shape and mold in to a flavorful masterpiece dish. Just think about it for a second. Tofu is a fairly bland food until you get creative with it and add your own spices, herbs, and personal touch to produce a tasty meal that doesn’t resemble the white block of substance you began with. When I first became a vegetarian, I didn’t really care too much for the texture of tofu and I was uncertain about the many ways tofu could be cooked and enjoyed.  Until one day, I started exploring the various methods of changing and enhancing the texture and flavor of this perfect protein. 

Deep Fry – Heat oil in a frying pan. Drain and cut the extra firm tofu in to cubes or triangles. Lightly season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (you could even season some flour and coat the tofu with the seasoned flour to make a light batter). Make sure the oil is sizzling hot before adding the seasoned tofu. Let the tofu deep fry until golden brown (usually about 5 – 7 minutes). You can drizzle the deep fried tofu with teriyaki or soy sauce. I like to eat the deep fried tofu all by itself (and I like mine extra crunchy).  A little disclaimer…even though tofu is a low fat food, once you deep fry it, the fat level goes up a little.  But I don’t mind a little fat and this is still one of my favorite ways to eat tofu. :)

Bake – YES, you can bake tofu. One of my favorite baked tofu dishes doesn’t take long to cook at all. Drain and cut 1 lb of extra firm tofu into cutlets or steaks. Next, season the tofu with salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil. Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the seasoned tofu, diced carrots and onion in the pan and bake on 350 degrees for 30 mins. Serve this baked tofu with a vegetarian or vegan based gravy and you have one healthy and hearty tofu meal.

Sauté - If you are in a rush or don’t want to spend tons of time preparing a healthy dinner, simply chop some mushrooms, onions, and green peppers, and add to a hot pan. Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, and some minced garlic. Next, add some cubed tofu to the vegetable mix and sauté for 5-7 minutes. You can serve this tofu and veggie sauté over brown rice.

Uncooked – This simple tofu based salad is absolutely delicious. Prepare this dish the night before for an extra burst of flavor. In bowl, combine some cucumbers (remove the seeds), chopped onion, shredded carrots, cubed firm tofu, fresh ginger, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix well and serve cold.

Blended - Eggs are not the only food that will give you an a.m. dose of protein. Simply add some fresh or frozen fruit, soy milk, agave, and ¼ cup of silken tofu in a blender and blend until smooth. This protein packed fresh fruit smoothie will keep you feeling full until lunch time.

Crumbled – When crumbling tofu, your vegetarian and vegan meal creations are endless. I enjoy crumbling extra firm tofu and adding some olive oil, garlic and onion to a hot skillet and letting it cook for 5 minutes. Then I add some cumin, paprika, and chili powder to the mixture and let it cook for 10 more minutes. I have just made a nice protein rich and low fat filling for my burritos, tacos, or taco salad. Why have ground beef when you can use crumbled tofu?

Tofu has definitely come a long way. Now, you can purchase smoked tofu, cubed tofu, and other pre-seasoned tofu to make preparing a tofu based dish a little simpler. But always remember that tofu is what you make of it. Don’t shy away from cooking with the various firmness (silken, soft, firm, and extra firm) textures that tofu has to offer.  So, go to the store, pick up some tofu, and start creating and cooking. Now that I have shared with you some of my favorite ways to cook and enjoy tofu, I want to know what some of your favorite are.  How do you like enjoying and preparing tofu?  What are some of your all time favorite tofu dishes?

P.S. – Now that I have shared with you just a handful of ways Tofu can be prepared and enjoyed, get in the kitchen and start preparing Tofu your favorite way.  If you have already signed up to receive the 5 vegetarian video recipes, you can share this with other fellow vegetarians and even “re-tweet” this article on Twitter.

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