to tofu, with love

I once marched around the house with a picketing sign that read “I. Hate. Tofu.” in big, bold letters, while my sister who was making a tofu lasagna, pretended not to notice. 

I took one bite of the dreaded sauce & cheese imposter.  And then I declared it the best lasagna that I had ever tasted, while my brother went off to contemplate how he might disown me.

Let it never be said that I’m afraid to speak my mind.  Or afraid to change my mind as needed, for that matter. 

 

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Tofu is no light topic of discussion.  In fact, I wouldn’t really recommend discussing soy or tofu at the family dinner table, unless of course you’re looking for a good debate.  Everyone feels something about the little white blocks of soy.  Everyone has something to say about it.

“Ugh, it makes me gag.”

“Oh my word, I practically live on the stuff!”

“Well.  It’s kind of complicated.”

 

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The lasagna was my very first delightful encounter with tofu.  And then I decided to experiment—just a little.  Gradually crossing the boundaries from being a McDonalds loving, cheeseball consuming, soda addicted kid to *gasp* a tofu eater.  I blame that on discovering good sauces and smart preparation techniques. 

And the rest is history.

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(p.s. The best part of this story is when my brother—the one who was planning on how he could disown me for going to the “dark side”—became the vegetarian of the family.  Go figure!)

 

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The moral of the story is (a) don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself and others.  Tastebuds change.  And so do we as individuals.  If you love a juicy hamburger now and then, admit it, and don’t feel shame or guilt.  If you’d much rather not eat meat at all, and stick mostly to vegetarian fare, that’s great too.  Be yourself.  Be you!  And find what works best for your own individual needs.  A healthy diet can be formed around either of the aforementioned.  Really!

(b) Try something new!  If you’re feeling like you’re somewhere in the “it’s complicated” category of tofu, then branch out and try a new recipe.  Different techniques yield different flavors and textures.

(c) This isn’t really a moral, but—as your friend—I feel I should offer the advice of always making enough of this BBQ tofu for seconds.  It is *fabulous* as a sandwich filler. 😀 

 

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BBQ’d Tofu

Both of these recipes stem from the Veganomicon cookbook.  I made just a few subtle changes to make the cooking process a tad bit easier, while also basing the ingredients on what I happened to have on hand (I didn’t have the called for smoke seasoning!)  The BBQ sauce makes quite a bit—about 4 cups worth.  It is incredibly easy to make, and it’s nice having the extra sauce for future sandwiches or tofu/chicken creations. 

Serve this tangy sweet tofu with rice or mashed, garlic potatoes and your favorite roasted veggie.  Enjoy! 😀

BBQ sauce:

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. molasses
  • 1/3 c. white vinegar
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1 T. yellow mustard
  1. Saute onions in oil in medium pan over medium heat, about 7 minutes.  Add garlic through sugar and cook for 1 hr. over low heat.  Add mustard and adjust flavors as needed. 
  2. Puree in a food processor and store in refrigerator.

Baked Tofu with BBQ sauce:

  • 1 lb. tofu, pressed for 30 minutes (I recommend freezing the tofu ahead of time and dethawing/pressing before using…this produces a much “meatier” texture)
  • 1/2 of above recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350.  In a 9×18 inch pan, place 1/4 of the above recipe on bottom of pan.  Place tofu on top.  Cover in 1/4 more of the above recipe. 
  2. Bake for 20 minutes.  Flip.  Bake an additional 20-25 minutes.  Serve immediately and ENJOY!

Question: Tofu Feelings?  Love?  Hate?  It’s kind of complicated?

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15 thoughts on “to tofu, with love

  1. I adore tofu, and my sister and I plan to make a tofu reuben later this week on a rye + caraway seeded bagel! 🙂 Very nice post!

  2. That looks amazing! I bet it would go well in a roasted veggie sandwich too.

    I am on the “I like, but don’t LOVE” tofu train. I actually prefer the taste of tempeh…but I do enjoy a good tofu stir-fry from time to time!

  3. It took me awhile to come around to tofu. It all started with wanting something different in Pad Thai at restaurants instead of chicken or shrimp. I tried it and I love it. But even now, I can’t think too much about it when I eat it, the texture still kind of gets to me! 🙂

  4. i hate tofu, can’t stand the taste i think its the soy!
    which is weird being chinese and all.
    hate all soy products – soy milk, soy pudding, tofu!
    ironically when they’re fermented, i love ’em – soy sauce, beancurd… 😉

  5. I am a recent tofu convert. In my world, tofu = love. But, since we’re being honest, I have rarely cooked with tofu. That is about to change because I have a block sitting in the refrigerator. This sounds like the perfect recipe for that lonely piece of tofu!

  6. I love tofu, but after doing much careful reading about tofu and soy
    products sadly have come to the realization that soy products have some big health concerns. Ironice because originally tofu was considered the healthy choice …..not anymore ! 😦

    • M: I just wanted to advise you to make sure that you are reading information about tofu from reputable sources, i.e. well-designed research studies reviewed and published by highly respected journals in the medical and nutrition field. Unfortunately, many people spout off opinions about foods, eating habits, etc. without having any research-based evidence to back up their claims. Read both sides of the argument to get a full, more accurate picture.

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