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We speak Tofu here!

May 20, 2011

Two years, people. We’ve been participating in Meatless Monday for two years and I am just now serving a tofu dish.

Behold, Teriyaki Tofu served over peanut noodles with some delicious sugar snap peas, carrots, and broccoli. On the side? A simple and crunchy salad of marinated cucumbers. Awesomeness….even for those who are not jazzed by the idea of tofu.

I confess that I don’t have a love affair with soy.  I tried mightily to love it when I was in college studying nutrition and learning about the health benefits of this “wonder bean”. I enjoyed fresh steamed edamame…but Tofu was something that I had to hide in order to eat. I pureed it into shakes that took on the consistency of wet cement. I diced it up in stir fries and was dismayed when it seemed to swell 10x it’s original size. I hated the bland, eggy taste of it. Bleh! The only time I liked it…was when someone else cooked it.

We had a fantastic restaurant near my house in Newport, called the Salvation Cafe that served Vegan Pad Thai. Piled high with crispy tofu that tasted amazing…I couldn’t eat enough of it. I never knew what the secret was.

I bought a block of tofu for the baby–easy to chew, full of protein. She enjoys munching on those tasteless little cubes dipped in baby food purees. I didn’t want to throw away most of the block and knew that she couldn’t eat the entire thing before it went bad. So, I thought about that incredible pad thai and wondered if I could finally conquer the tofu fear!

My experiment ended in a delicious, crispy fried tofu (I had an a-ha moment when I realized that the texture was much better with some oil). I had always been against frying ANYTHING, but it makes a huge difference.

Recipe: Serves 4

Tofu:

1/2 block tofu, thinly sliced (1/4″ slices)

3 TBS teriyaki sauce (I like Soy Vay. As the ad says–this stuff is good)

peanut oil

Pasta:

1/2 pkg whole grain spaghetti

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup small broccoli florets

1 cup sugar snap peas

Peanut Sauce:

1/3 cup peanut butter

2 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Tbs soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp garlic chili paste  (I like Huy Fong)

2-4 Tbs warm water

Condiments:

Fresh Cilantro, chopped green onions, Lime Wedges, Garlic Chili Paste, Sesame Seeds (optional)


Directions:

1. Place tofu and teriyaki sauce into a plastic ziploc bag and marinate for 1 hour.

2. Whisk together ingredients for dressing–adding enough warm water to make a smooth paste –about the consistency of salad dressing. Set aside to allow flavors to blend.

3. Heat pot of boiling water for spaghetti.

**Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tbs peanut oil on a large griddle pan or large frying pan. Place tofu slices in heated pan and discard remaining marinade. Try to resist the urge to flip–it keeps them from browning. Cook on Med Heat for 4-5 minutes and then turn. Continue to cook until crisp and browned on both sides. I used tongs to flip and some pieces fell apart.

4. Add spaghetti noodles and shredded carrots to boiling water. Cook 4 minutes. Add broccoli. Cook 4 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and cook 1-2 minutes.

5. Drain pasta and vegetables and place back into stock pot. Add sauce and combine.

6. Plate pasta, top with crispy tofu (I sort of broke it into chunks)

7. Garnish to taste

You’re eating tofu!!

Morgan gobbled the tofu and asked for more on his noodles. Leighton ate hers as well. We introduced peanuts about a month ago so there were no worries.  You can omit the chili paste in the peanut sauce if you’re worried about spice and serve it as a garnish for those who want it.

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