Tofu is a food made of condensed soy milk that is pressed into solid white blocks in a process quite similar to making cheese. It originated in China and is a staple of Asian Cuisine.
Tofu is a very versatile food. It can be broiled, baked, marinated, stewed, scrambled, added to soup, or made into dips. It is at home from casseroles to salads, to deserts –tofu absorbs the flavors of whatever ingredient/s it is cooked with.
Tofu is described as a wonder or wonderful food because it is entirely plant-based, made from soybeans, is a complete source of protein, providing all 8 essential amino acids, has no animal fats or cholesterol, is low sodium, and …..low in calories!
Tofu is a boon to nutritious, healthy, low carb and low-fat diets. Tofu can amazingly substitute for beef or chicken. As a beef stand-in, “firm” tofu can be frozen and thawed to separate out its water which firms it up even more (or just press with a weight for an hour) for a closely matched, beef texture.
You can use tofu to save yourself ground meat calories and fat in your stuffed pepper recipes. Similarly, use tofu instead of ground beef in tacos, chilies, sloppy Joe, or shepherd’s pie. You could even use it instead of beef in a beef bourgignon!
You can coat tofu cubes with wheat germ mixed with cornmeal and spices, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes on greased sheet for a healthy alternative to chicken nuggets.
For a savory oven barbecue—using tofu, use prepared sauce or make your own — Preheat oven to 350. Spray baking pan, brush sauce onto a pan and lay tofu on top of the sauce. Cover with remaining sauce. Marinate for 30 minutes. Bake for 30-40 minutes until sauce dries on tofu.
Treats With Tofu
Tired of having to say “ta ta” too rich and creamy tasting soups? Soups can be a dream made with tofu. Simply puree tofu with the cooked vegetable/s of your choice, add some water or soy milk, season to taste, heat and serve.
Tofu can be an answer to many a dieters prayer, allowing many favorite “no-no” foods back on the table. Like—Lasagna! Tofu can sub for pasta in a delicious “lasagna” that will save you calories, fat, carbs, and give you plenty of satisfaction.
8-ounce tub low-fat ricotta cheese, 1 egg beaten (or egg substitute), 8 leaves fresh basil minced, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 teas. of dried oregano, 1 large jar marinara sauce, 3 packages firm low fat tofu sliced ¼” thick, 1 pound shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese, ¼-1/3 cup grated Parmesan.
Preheat oven 350. Combine ricotta, egg, and spices. In bottom of 9-x 13 inch baking pan spread small amount of sauce. Arrange 6-8 slices of tofu. Spread half the ricotta over the tofu. Spread another layer of sauce. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with layering twice. Spread remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella. Sprinkle Parmesan over top. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 10 minutes to brown cheese. Let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
Variations: add any combinations of chopped grilled zucchini, eggplant, peppers, onions, and mushroom.
This dish can be made ahead and freezes well.
Totally Terrific Tofu
Tofu is high in protein, isoflavones, antioxidants, and many other healthy nutrients.
Eating tofu may protect against a variety of health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and even certain cancers.