Hello friends, and happy Wednesday! Now I know what you're probably thinking after reading the title of this post: oh no, she's going to try and force tofu on us! Well...yes and no. I 100% understand the aversion to tofu. I've actually never had tofu before and thought I never would. If you had a chance to check out my recent post about being vegan, you'd know that this is my second time around trying a plant-based diet. The first time I went vegan, I made no effort to try anything like tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc. because I thought they were just flavorless, mushy substances that were for hippies. Fast forward to today, and here I am sharing a recipe involving tofu. Branching out. And you know what? It tastes really good! Do you honestly think I'd share something that I thought was gross?
I've heard a lot of different reasons why people avoid tofu. "It's hippie food", "It's made from soy", "It's mushy/has no flavor/takes too long to prepare", or my personal favorite, "It's too hard to drain it." (Seriously? You're not trying something because it's too hard to drain it? You literally stick it on a towel and put something heavy on it for a few minutes. It's not rocket science!) Well, I'm not sure what came over me at Meijer the other day that made me decide to finally give tofu a chance. Like I said, I never thought I'd try it. But I passed it in the produce section, hovered for a few minutes, and picked out a container of Nasoya organic firm tofu. Eight grams of vegan protein, five servings per container, all for a whopping $2.99. Perfect.
When I got home, I wasn't really sure what to do with it. It sat in my fridge for a day or two before I pulled it out and looked up, "How to prepare tofu" on Pinterest (thank goodness for the internet). There were so many recipes! Seeing how easy it was (just drain, chop, and cook), I decided to create a dish with other ingredients I typically have in my kitchen. And voilà, the tofu bowl was born.
Now obviously you can switch out ingredients for seasonal veggies or to incorporate your favorites but I chose zucchini, tomatoes, sweet potato, avocado, and Tabasco because those are staples that I always have on hand. And the great thing about tofu is that it goes with pretty much anything! Contrary to what I thought before cooking it for the first time, tofu does not have a spicy Asian flavor. In fact, by itself it is a little bland, but it fully absorbs the flavors of whatever its cooked with. I used garlic powder and oregano along with the chipotle hot sauce, and combined with the juice from the tomatoes and zucchini it turned out pretty fantastic. I've seen recipes using tofu instead of ground beef in spaghetti, tossed with soy sauce and oil for stir frys, or even deep fried to look like mozzarella sticks. It's incredibly versatile, and I'm confident in saying it will now be something I incorporate more of in my cooking! Ok...enough rambling about tofu. Check out the recipe below, and let me know what you think!
Spicy Garlic Tofu Bowl
Prep time: 10 minutes
- 400g (1 medium) zucchini
- 100g (1/2 medium) sweet potato
- 85g firm tofu
- 50g (1/2) avocado
- 35g spinach (optional)
- cherry tomatoes (chopped)
- garlic, oregano, or spices of choice
- Chipotle Tabasco sauce
- Trader Joe's 'Everything but the Bagel' seasoning
- Nutritional Yeast (as topping)
1. Drain the water from the container of tofu, then place block onto a towel. Fold the towel over the top of the tofu to cover, and place a heavy item (I used a glass bowl) on top. Press for 4-5 minutes.
2. While the tofu is draining, spray a frying pan with cooking spray and add chopped zucchini. Cook on high for 2-3 minutes.
3. In the meantime, cut an "x" over the surface of your sweet potato (if it isn't already cooked) and wrap in a damp paper towel. Microwave 6-7 minutes. (You can also wrap it in tin foil and cook it in the oven at 400' for 45 minutes, but when I'm hangry I prefer to microwave).
4. Remove the tofu from the towel and chop into dice-size pieces. Add to the pan along with the tomatoes.
5. Generously sprinkle garlic, oregano, and hot sauce onto the veggies in your skillet. Cook until lightly brown on the edges.
5. Add the spinach for the last 2-3 minutes (just enough to wilt). Transfer to a serving bowl and top with avocado.
6. Your sweet potato should be done in the microwave, so just chop it in half, butterfly it, and place it in the bowl along with your veggies. Top everything with the 'Everything but the Bagel' seasoning and serve with nutritional yeast.
*This recipe serves one but you can easily just add more tofu and veggies for more people.*
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I hope you enjoy my take on tofu! Let me know how you prepare yours down below, or feel free to share any other vegan recipes you enjoy!