Monday, January 4, 2010

You don't have to be afraid of Tofu!

I get a lot of questions about my diet and usually the first one is, "What do you eat for protein?" I'll begin to rattle off my sources, beans, tofu...and usually I will hear, "TOFU!, I could NEVER eat tofu!"

Don't shy away from tofu! It is an inexpensive source of protein for vegetarians and vegans and perhaps those that do not enjoy meat. It took me a while to learn how to cook it the way my family liked, but now that I've got it, they really enjoy it. Really, I wouldn't lie to you!

I think what people are most afraid of is the gelatinous texture. Believe me, I get that, it makes me gag. My solution to that is to freeze it first. Freezing it completely changes the texture.

When I get home from Trader Joe's (the most inexpensive place for tofu) I just pop the whole container right in the freezer as is. Make sure you buy EXTRA FIRM TOFU for this recipe and others like it. When I am ready to use it I pull it out and let it thaw in the fridge. When I am ready to use it, I try to squeeze out as much water as possible with my bare hands and then slice it and lay it out on a cookie sheet as you see below.

Then I place paper towels over it and attempt to press out the water with a weight of some sort for about 30 minutes.

After it is done draining, you can marinate it anyway you like, which I would recommend because tofu doesn't have any flavor. I have a great marinade that we use that I hope to post for you. It is great for stir fry, sandwichs or just plain. Anyway, I digress...

For this recipe, my trusty helpers slice the tofu into strips.

Once you have a nice pile...

Mix up your coating. We tried a gluten free coating made from processing 1 cup krisped rice cereal and 1/4 tsp. cumin. (That large container of cumin is from one of my bulk purchases. We use a lot of cumin!)

Next set up your breading station. Egg whites w/ a little water, then coating. Coat each piece in the order you see below!

You could also use bread crumbs. These are mine from the freezer. I just take the ends of my bread and instead of throwing them out I save them in the fridge. When I have enough, I process them into crumbs and use them right out of the freezer. Saves money, besides a lot of bread crumbs from the store are filled with junk.

Next, fry them up in pan with a little olive oil until golden on all sides. They will still be soft in the middle. Set your oven to 400.

Bake for about 30 minutes until they are firmer. Flip them every so often. They will become even more firm as they cool.

Our family gobbled them up with some ketchup, even Chuck! But they are also wonderful with that Balsamic Maple Sauce or BBQ Sauce. A healthy, inexpensive alternative to chicken nuggets and fish sticks.
I got this recipe from Vegetarian Times magazine. Hope you will give tofu a try!
Check out Life as Mom for more healthy recipes in his weeks Ultimate Recipe Swap.
From Our home to yours,

1 comment:

  1. Got distracted by the pictures of the adorable boys and had to go back and read your post again! I need to try this for my meatless wonder child. Looks like I'll be making my first trip to Trader Joe's. Thanks for are helping more folks than you realize!!