Family Food: Tofu – Boring? No; Exciting? Absolutely!

by Maytal Wichman

One of the misconceptions about tofu is that it’s “bland” or “one of those ‘health foods’ that are good for you but have no flavor”. This could not be further from the truth. I’m not sure why tofu got such a bad rap; one of its’ qualities is being able to absorb liquid, kind of like a sponge. You don’t even have to marinate it – any sauce or dressing that you mix with it immediately gets absorbed and makes the tofu very flavorful. The following dish requires very few ingredients but it’s big on flavor – I doubt anyone who tries it will still think tofu is bland.

Tofu with Broccoli

Packed with protein, tofu is also rich in B vitamins, iron and calcium, among other minerals. It may also reduce bad cholesterol and the risk for heart disease. Low in calories, fat and carbs (plus no cholesterol), tofu is a dieter’s dream. Like tofu, broccoli is also rich in calcium and may prevent cancer, as well as a slew of other ailments. This dish takes some prep but since I usually serve it with rice, I prep while the rice is cooking. It’s so easy, so filling and a complete meal, with complex carbs, protein, veggies and calcium.

Ingredients:

Fresh broccoli (with stems), 1 lb.
1 tbs canola oil
2 heaping tsp minced garlic
Extra-firm tofu, 14 oz., drained and diced into cubes. (I use Nasoya)
Soy sauce/Tamari sauce (preferably low-sodium)

Directions:

Before steaming broccoli, “peel” with a carrot peeler the first layer of the broccoli stem until you see a dark green color. This will enhance the flavor of the broccoli.

Steam the broccoli.

Spray a wok with cooking spray and add 1 tbs canola oil, turn on medium heat. Add the garlic and 1 tsp soy sauce.

After about 1 minute, or when garlic is a little brown, add 3 tbs soy sauce and diced tofu.

Stir for about 1 minute, then add the broccoli and 2 tbs soy sauce.

Turn heat to low and stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Take off heat.

It’s ok if there’s a little soy sauce left on the bottom of the wok – some people like the dish with a little sauce.

Serve with brown rice (1.5 cups dry).

Tofu Steak

Another way to make tofu, on its own, is tofu steak. I like serving it with mashed sweet potatoes (just put in oven on a piece of foil for an hour at 450 degrees, and when completely soft, peel and mash) as well as my string beans side dish and some cut up tomatoes and cucumbers in a separate main dish that I place in the middle of the table.

Ingredients:

1 block of extra-firm tofu
Soy sauce
Stevia

Directions:

Drain water from tofu package; slice tofu into 4 even slices, so that you end up with four rectangles.

Heat up cooking spray in a wok on medium and put two slices at a time, turning over when the bottom is a little brown. When both sides are brown do the same with the other two. Transfer to dish and pour a little of the soy sauce with stevia. Serve immediately or cover dish in foil to keep it warm.

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