Thursday, February 27, 2014

To Tofu Or Not Tofu

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to-fu: also called bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. (Wikipedia)

Call me crazy, but that description doesn't exactly make me want to rush out to my local supermarket and grab a carton of tofu.  However, in the continuing quest to add more healthy options to my daily diet, I picked up a carton of it when it was on sale and have let it sit in my fridge for over a week.  I was completely un-inspired to do anything with it.

Should I stir-fry it? Chop it up in soup? Grill it?  Grilling sounded good, but it would also necessitate someone buying me a grill, so that was out.  I was stumped.  I've used tofu in the past as an ingredient in vegetarian stuffed shells (amazing!), but other than that I haven't cooked much with the stuff.

I was browsing Pinterest the other day, looking for lunchtime inspirations and came across an idea for oven-baked tofu.  It looked easy and promising so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Oh. My. TOFU.

It was delicious and weirdly addicting.  I had it as my main protein with lunch along with a garden salad and it kept me full all afternoon and completely satisfied that carb-y craving I always get around lunchtime.

If you haven't tried cooking with tofu much, give this recipe a whirl.  It truly doesn't get any easier and it a fantastic introduction to the stuff.  Those of you who are tofu veterans, shoutout your favorite ways to eat it!

Crispy Baked Tofu Sticks


7.5 oz of extra firm tofu
1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
¼ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. garlic powder
Splash of hot sauce (optional) 
Nonstick cooking spray
¼ cup of Panko breadcrumbs 

Before you start this recipe, you need to press the tofu to get all the excess water out of it.  If you skip this step it will be soggy, fall apart and not crisp up well in the oven.  Line a dinner plate with paper towels and place the tofu on it.

Place another paper towel on top of the tofu and stack a second dinner plate on top.  Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then replace the paper towels with dry ones and repeat the process, this time letting it sit for 10 minutes.  You should be good to go!

Slice the tofu into sticks.  Think mozzarella stick sizing.  The thinner you get, the crispier they will be and mozzarella-sized sticks worked really well for me.

Whisk together the soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder and hot sauce (if using) and pour into a large zip-top bag.  Add in the tofu sticks and move around, making sure to coat every stick with the marinade.  Let marinade for 30 minutes in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Pour the Panko breadcrumbs into a separate zip-top bag and add in the slices of tofu.  Think “shake n’ bake” and make sure each stick is coated well with the Panko.

Lay the tofu on the baking sheet in one layer and mist the tops with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 minutes then flip and bake for an additional 15 until brown and crispy.

Let cool slightly, and then serve with whatever dipping sauce you like, I am addicted to duck sauce and that was delicious with them, but a sweet red chili sauce would be fantastic too! 

Printable Recipe

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