Tofu really has a bad rep and there is a real need for good tofu recipes to be more widely available. It’s a great alternative to meat, a great way to lose weight and very easy for beginners to cook with.
Anytime I tell people I love tofu, they look at me like I am mad, or some kind of masochist. But honestly, tofu really is delicious—-you just need to know how to cook it right.
I don’t like tasteless, white, bare squares of tofu, plonked on top of a dish at the last minute as a meat substitute. I agree, when presented like this tofu is pretty awful. The problem with tofu is the same problem that occurs with most vegetarian dishes— a lot of people don’t know how to prepare them properly.
So, for truly tasty tofu, treat it with the same care and thought you would anything else. Marinade it, spice it, braise it, crisp it, batter it—-whatever takes your fancy, but do something with it, don’t leave it white and naked and bland! After all, healthy eating is supposed to be enjoyable!
TOFU RECIPES: TOFU PROVENCAL
This is one of my all time favourite tofu recipes. It makes a beautiful, hearty winter dinner. The trick with this dish is to make sure you use fresh herbs and use lots of them! Also, use organic baby tomatoes, which will provide that lovely intense flavour to enhance your meal.
- Cubed Tofu
- Chopped Onions
- Chopped Garlic
- Chopped Aubergine
- Chopped Courgette(zuccini)
- Hand shredded Fresh parsley
- Hand shredded Fresh basil
- Baby cherry tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Mild chilli powder
- Olive oil for cooking
- Sea salt
- Coarsely ground black pepper
- (Red wine–optional)
Spread the chunkily chopped aubergine and courgette over a tray and salt generously. (Don’t worry abut the salt, you will be rinsing it off later.)Leave for about 20 mins to draw out the bitter juices. When this time has elapsed, squeeze out the remaining juices with your hands and rinse the vegetables well to get rid of the salt. Then dry well with kitchen towel or a clean tea towel.
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add a little chopped garlic. Add tofu cubes and sprinkle with chilli powder. Turn and fry until crispy on all sides. Remove from pan and place on kitchen towel to absorb excess oil.
Coat the base of a wide saucepan with olive oil. Soften the onions and garlic slowly. Add courgette and aubergine and soften for a few minutes. Add herbs and cooked tofu. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add a little water and tomato puree to make a thick sauce. Add the baby tomatoes, whole. For extra richness you can add a splash of red wine at this stage. Cook until done and all the flavours have melded nicely together. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Delicious served with sauteed potatoes, couscous or chunky garlic bread.
TOFU RECIPES: TOFU CASSSEROLE WITH BUTTERNUT SQUASH
This is a lovely summery tofu recipe for when butternut squash is in season. (You can also use pumpkin instead, when squash is not available.)
- Cubed tofu
- Chopped garlic
- Chopped onion
- Chopped yellow pepper
- Sliced broccoli
- Cubed courgette (zuccini)
- Cubed butternut squash
- Toasted pumpkin seeds
- (A little vegetarian stock–optional)
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Add a little of the chopped garlic and fry the tofu cubes until crispy golden brown on all sides.
Cover a wide saucepan with olive oil and heat. Add garlic and onions and soften. Add yellow pepper and broccoli and cook for a few minutes. Add courgette and cook further until all the vegetables are softened. Add a little water and stock and cook for a little longer. Add the fried tofu. Stir in the toasted pumpkin seeds at the end, or if you prefer them crunchy, sprinkle them over your meal after you serve it.
This is lovely served with brown rice, garlic bread and a simple green salad of spinach leaves. (If you don’t like brown rice, try a little salad dressing over it, or a drizzle of good olive oil and you would be surprised what a difference this makes!)
VARIATION: If you like a bit more colour and flavour to your sauce, add a little tomato puree when you are adding the water and stock.
TOFU RECIPES: SPICY CHILLI TOFU
This is a good tofu recipe when you have one vegetarian to cater for when everyone else is having meat. You can cook up the tofu and serve it instead of meat, with rice, or potatoes and vegetables. It cooks in a jiffy and makes a nourishing meat substitute.
- Cubed tofu
- Chopped garlic
- Chilli powder (mild, medium or hot, as you prefer)
- Dark soy sauce
- Olive oil for cooking
To make the tofu really tasty, quick-marinade it before cooking. You can do this very quickly in about ten minutes. You can also do it overnight if you prefer. Place tofu in a bowl and cover with chilli powder. Sprinkle with soy sauce in mix the garlic through. The tofu should be covered by a moist paste. Cover with cling film and leave for a few minutes. (If leaving for longer, don’t forget to turn it over every now and then so that the marinade soaks in evenly into the tofu)
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and pour in the tofu along with whatever paste and bits of garlic are in the bowl. Turn frequently and fry until crispy on all sides. Place on kitchen towel when cooked to drain off excess oil. When I cook tofu like this, people always think I’m cooking up some delicious meat bar-b-q, because of the lovely flavours. Even if you are not a vegetarian, you should enjoy this!
Serve it with
whatever you would serve with a lamb chop, or a burger—potatoes, rice,
noodles. It also makes a great carb-free meal when served with some