It’s healthy to want it because it is so good for us. Every time I’ve had it, it’s always been a little different, but it always gives me the same feeling that I am doing something good for my body. Sometimes I need it really firm and sometimes it’s nice when it’s a little soft. Although it can be bland, it tends to take on the aromas and flavours of what’s around it, so basically it’s as good as you make it.
And these are some of the reasons why I really want tofu.
Tofu. That’s right, I really want tofu. And I know you do, too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post, so let’s get down to the goods on this wonderful piece of protein.
When I say tofu is good for us, I mean it. It is a good source of protein, calcium, and iron — stuff we normally think we have to get from dairy and meat. But tofu gives us all that and it’s from the earth. Bonus points for tofu. One cup of tofu will give you about 40g of protein (suck on that one Whey Protein Powder!). It’ll also give you most of your recommended daily intake of calcium and manganese. Throw in some iron, selenium, and magnesium, make it low in fat and low in sodium, and I think we have a superfood here.
Like most superheroes, it is all about the image. Clark Kent is the geeky version of Superman, but we know he is still the same guy. Well, “bean curd” is the Clark Kent for “tofu” — a geeky name, but it is still the same stuff. Tofu, or bean curd if you’re into geeks, comes in firm, soft and silken. Silken or soft is great to add to smoothies or anything that might require a creamier texture. Any tofu dessert recipe probably calls for soft or silken tofu. Firm tofu is easier to cook with, especially if you are using tofu in stir fries or stews. You will need to ring the water out of your firm tofu first by squeezing it between two paper towels. If you don’t, your tofu won’t have room to absorb new flavours.
One last cool tofu fact before we move on to the recipes of the week: tofu contains isoflavens. Isoflavens help balance out hormones during “that time of the month”. Sign me up for some tofu!
The first recipe is a simple marinade to ease the tofu-newbies into their introduction to this superfood. This simple zesty lemon marinade will give you tofu strips that you can add to salads, sandwiches, pastas, stir fries, or even just eat on their own as a snack.
ZESTY LEMON TOFU STRIPS
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
Slice one package of firm tofu into 5-6 strips. Place into a baking dish. In a separate container mix the remaining ingredients. Pour marinade over tofu and let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or more. Heat oven to 250F (or 350F if you are short on time). Bake for 1 hour (or 30 minutes if you are short on time). You can serve tofu strips immediately or refrigerate for later use.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto, Fresh. Make this dressing, throw it on some romaine and top with Zesty Lemon Tofu strips and you’ll be the most popular cook in your house. Even your picky friend Brutus will like it. Et tu Brute?
TOFU CAESAR DRESSING
1 1/2 tbsp capers
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon juice
3/4 cup tofu (Soft, Silken or Firm)
2 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp of sea salt
3/4 tsp of ground white pepper
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup of olive oil
1-2 tsp of curry powder (optional)
Add all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. I say you can use whatever kind of tofu you want because they will all work, but if you want a really creamy dressing, go with soft or silken. The curry is optional as it changes the flavour of traditional caesar dressing, but it is honestly my favourite part of this recipe, so give it a try!