How to Make Tofu Tasty

I am an omnivore for sure- I am hopelessly addicted to arugula, sauteed greens, tangerines, nectarines and mangoes and I haven’t ever refused any kind of animal protein (except veal) but ever so often I feel a sense of guilt for cooking excessively with animal products. This is especially true after the recent indulgent Christmas and New Year holidays where meat and more specifically, pork was our animal of choice. Rillettes, Lechon, and Cuban Pork Roast, oh my!

Now the new year is upon us and we are reminded of New Year’s Resolutions, the most common one being weight loss. I am no different. January is usually our Strictly Vegetarian Month and when I need to add a protein to my vegetables, I turn to my favorite guilt-free food: Tofu. Of course, the common complaint with tofu is that it can be boring and repetitive. I have to agree that the monotonous texture of tofu results in muted flavors without some kind of sauce. In my many years of eating tofu, I have found a quick technique that helps alleviate the boredom- I hack the tofu to bits. Then I roast it in the oven or sear it in a non-stick pan to further add more texture and flavor. The result is a toothsome and smoky tofu that is kind of reminiscent of minced or ground chicken. Of course, it’s helpful to add a tasty sauce and an aromatic allium like onions, garlic, leeks or scallions and suddenly, tofu feels less redundant and more interesting.

Hacking tofu to bits isn’t really rocket science. You can hack tofu with your knife to fine chunks but you can also use the large holes of a box grater to create finer and more uniform tidbits, but I have also found that you can tear it with your hands- first into large pieces, then you can break the piece of tofu into smaller bits and pieces. Once you have this interesting texture, you have several options. You can use it in a stir-fry with an asian sauce, you can also saute it and then use it as the protein in a tomatoey pasta sauce, you can fold it into an omelet, sprinkle it on top of a salad, you can even bind the cooked tofu with some mayonnaise, mustard and pickles and create a kind of tofu salad. The beauty of tofu is its ability to morph into whatever your imagination and palate desires.

Here are the pictures of the various tofu ‘bits’ before and after cooking. To save time, I am usually chopping the onions, garlic and other vegetables as the tofu is browning on my non-stick pan. It’s a really simple idea that has made tofu more interesting and palatable. Plus, I just love the chewy texture this makes. I hope you give this Quick Technique a try.













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