Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baking Tofu



After writing about why I am a vegetarian on Monday, I figured today I would share this vegetarian recipe with you. I realize this isn't the most exciting dish. I was going to post my recipe for tofu tacos, but then I thought about the number of times I've been asked how to cook tofu when talking to friends and family about some of the recipes I make (as if people ask me all the time how to cook; it was probably really only twice). Anyways...
whether you're a vegetarian or not, it's good to know how to cook tofu. If for no other reason, it is considerably less expensive than meat.
I have cooked it many ways, but I find baking it to be my favorite. 
After this, I will share a few more recipes that make eating tofu a lot of fun. Because that's one of the main issues for people, isn't it? Tofu seems pretty boring and tasteless. And to be honest, I agree, it is tasteless on it's own, but the part where it gets fun is that you get to give it any taste you want.

Baking Tofu
Serving size: 4-5 (I make two packages and it usually lasts Scott and I for at least two meals)

Ingredients
2 packages of extra firm *organic tofu (you can buy firm or regular if you wish, but I find extra/super firm has a more agreeable texture for new tofu eaters)
 Extra virgin olive oil

* I recommend buying organic tofu only, since an estimated 85 percent of the non-organic U.S. soy crop is genetically engineered . 
*Please see my notes at the bottom about tofu and meat substitutes

Toppings and Marinades
Here's where you can get creative
What I typically use:
Low sodium soy sauce, liquid aminos or teriyaki sauce
Minced garlic
Chopped red onions

Tofu is kind of like chicken in that you can change the flavor of it to fit what you are cooking. For example, when I make tofu tacos, I bake the tofu with olive oil, garlic, onions, lime, cilantro and then saute it with taco seasoning. When I make Thai food I bake it with olive oil, soy sauce, chili pepper, green onions and then saute it with curry sauce and veggies. It is very versatile. Today I opened my refrigerator and just used what I had, adding orange and yellow bell peppers, green onions, red onions, garlic and some sea salt and pepper. 

Instructions
Open tofu packages and drain excess water into the sink. Gently squeeze the tofu between a clean dish towel to drain water from it. Cut the tofu into bite sized cubes. Marinate for 1-2 hours in marinade of your choice. Preheat oven to 375. Cover a baking sheet with foil and then cover the foil with a thin layer of olive oil. Place the tofu cubes onto the baking sheet evenly so that each piece is resting on the pan (no stacking). Add desired toppings. Bake at 375ยบ for 20 minutes. Remove tofu from oven and flip it with a spatula, then bake for another 20 minutes (total cook time approximately 40 minutes, but ovens may vary). 

Like I mentioned above, when it's done baking I often quickly add it to veggies that I am sauteing on the stove so that it mixes in with those flavors, but you can take it right out of the oven and add it to anything you want.
Notes:
  • Although I am a vegetarian, I don't substitute tofu for meat on every occasion. I try to steer clear of meat substitutes like faken bacon, soy chicken and soy dogs because a lot of that stuff is very processed and high in soy (something you should eat, like everything, in moderation).
  • If you are a vegetarian, tofu should not be your only substitute for protein. 
    • Good protein substitutes include beans, nuts and seeds 
    • My friend, Roberta, told me chick peas are great as they are very high in iron as are walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and figs. 
  • Like I said above, I recommend buying organic tofu only since an estimated 85 percent of the non-organic U.S. soy crop is genetically engineered (Natural Choice Directory). I really try to minimize the amount of processed products I eat. 
How do you cook tofu? Besides meat or soy, what kinds of protein rich foods do you love to eat? I would love to know!

20 comments:

  1. Looks good, Devon! We try to eat mostly whole foods, but this look delicious!

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  2. i've never baked my tofu.. and considering how long i've been a veggie, i'm totally shocked.. haha

    lately, we've been frying ours in coconut water (no oil at all) and i have LOVED it.. of course, i always use onion and garlic, regardless of what region we are cooking from (:

    and we also are a fan of soyrizo.. we don't have it often (because i completely agree with you on the soy and processed part) but when we do, oh man..

    also, in general, i'm not a big fan of "getting one's protein".. my school teaches we don't need it (which is odd, but their arguments make sense) so i'm kind of on the low protein bad wagon..

    i'm reading The 80/10/10 Diet, have you heard of it?? i think you may like it- it's about plant based eating but mainly focuses on fruit.. check it out, if you are interested..

    think i can bake tofu with coconut water? i bet i can..

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    Replies
    1. Ooh coconut water what a good call! Ya, you've got to have onion and garlic on most things. Yum!

      Scott orders soyrizo fairly often at our local burrito place and he loves it!

      I'm interested in this low protein bad wagon. We'll have to chat.

      Haven't read 80/10/10 it sounds like something I should check out!

      I'm sure you could bake tofu in coconut water. Let me know how it goes!

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  3. That looks yummy Devie! You need to start having a food section for your blog so everyone can find your delish recipes

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    Replies
    1. Good call little sis. I'm working on it, so to speak. More like, I'm planning on it soon.

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  4. ohh thanks for sharing, i like tofu! i just dont buy it cause i dont know how to cook it.

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  5. I like tofu,I usually make it same way but on the pan. Here tofu is quite expencive as peole don't know the product.I use lots of beans,chick peas, peas and nuts in salads and cookings. My substitute for pasta is quinoa (because I get sick from wheat) and I use soy drink instead of regular milk. I bought from Finland some dry soy what can be used like minced meat, but it's hard to cook until it actually tastes good :P

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  6. I forgot the main thing, this looks delicious! Definetly will try baked tofu :)

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    1. Hi Sini,
      I love quinoa, but only know one recipe. Maybe you'll have to give me one of yours sometime :). I know a few people who get sick from wheat too. I'm glad you are going to try the recipe!

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  7. Yum yum! I have actually never baked tofu before. I don't cook with it a lot, but when I do, it's the last thing I add to a stir fry, so it gets heated stove top (primarily steamed, but with a little olive oil for browning.)

    I'll have to try baking it next time.

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    Replies
    1. When you bake it, it seems to get firmer throughout, something Scott prefers. I love stir fry!

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  8. This looks really good. As a family we are starting to eat more tofu and so I that you for this great recipe. Generally we've done it on the stove top but baking it in the oven is great.

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    Replies
    1. Ya the nice thing about baking it is that you can chill while it's cooking. Thanks Ross, hope you like it.

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  9. when i get back to the US i'm making this. Ive tried making tofu so many times and it always comes out horribly!

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    Replies
    1. I had the same experience at the beginning~ burning it, under-cooking it, until I just baked it one day and it came out great!

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  10. I am a huge fan of tofu and just last night was trying to figure out a new way to cook it up and baking is such a great idea...going to try this for sure! :)

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  11. This looks so yummy!! I love tofu. While I'm not currently a vegetarian I grew up eating very little meat - only chicken and beef when my family was "out" and couldn't find a veggie alternative. We did, however, eat a lot of the "fake meats" when I was growing up, which are so very high in sodium and overly processed. Eventually my father was diagnosed with Type II diabetes which runs in his family. Through reforming his diet he reversed the disease!! They now eat far less animal products and less fake meats, too.

    All that to say, I can't wait to try this recipe and see if my meat and potatoes boyfriend will enjoy it too!

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