Crispy Tofu

It’s safe to say that the words delicious or yummy are not usually associated with tofu but today’s recipe should change your mind. Tofu has a negative reputation because most people assume you eat it as is and in its natural state is less than desirable. Tofu is a block of compressed soy beans that have been blended to various textures depending on the type of tofu purchased. Tofu comes in soft (best for smoothies or sauces), firm, or extra firm both of which are ideal for use in stir fries or for replicating a typical animal based protein like chicken. Just like traditional animal proteins, tofu needs to be well seasoned and prepared in order to have a satisfactory end result. Luckily it is easier than you may think to yield a delicious product. Without rambling on too much, I will be showing you today my simple recipe for a delicious and crispy tofu that can be tossed in a stir-fry, substituted in sushi, or simply served alongside some rice and veggies. Before we get into the details of what you will need for this simple recipe, let’s quickly review the nutritional advantages of consuming tofu.

Nutritional Value of Tofu

As I mentioned, tofu is a condensed block of soy beans that have been pulverized into a smooth paste like texture and mixed with water. It is typically in water when purchased and therefore must be adequately drained prior to cooking. Soy beans are considered to be one of the few plant-based products that are considered a complete protein. Simply meaning that it contains all of the 9 essential amino acids that our body needs to acquire from the food we eat in order to make proteins. For a more detailed explanation on the differences between protein, check out my post all about protein here. Back to tofu, tofu is not only a great source of protein, but also has no saturated fat, cholesterol, or sodium as is. In addition, tofu also contains calcium, as well as manganese and selenium to name a few. Numerous studies have often shown that soy-based products such a tofu are also beneficial to preventing heart disease and is also useful in lowering cholesterol and more specifically LDL cholesterol (aka the dangerous cholesterol).

Is soy bad for you?

Word on the street is that soy-derived products can have harmful effects on the body and most of this comes from the belief that the phytoestrogen found in soy products acts as estrogen found in the human body. Being that phytoestrogen is a plant-derived form of estrogen, it is much weaker than estrogen in our own body and there are many factors that can influence its effects on the body. This topic much like many within the field of nutrition and dietetics is very complex so instead of trying to explain it, I will link for you what I feel is a very comprehensive article written by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The article explains all the different factors to take into account based on the article you read to research the effects of soy. To keep with the integrity of this blog, I urge you to do your own research and to keep in mind where you obtain your information from. I myself consume organic unsweetened soy milk once a day in place of cow’s milk and occasionally consume tofu when I am in the mood. Like with any other food, soy should not be eaten in excessive amounts (like 1 carton a day sort of thing) to avoid adverse health effects. All you need to know is that a varied and nutrient dense diet will help to keep you in the best health possible so my advice is to vary your food sources often enough to keep both your taste buds and body satisfied.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get into the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 block firm or extra-firm organic tofu
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (tamari or liquid aminos for gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp sriracha
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

Preheat your oven to 425F. Begin by removing the tofu from the water and press out as much water as possible.

To remove as much water as possible place the tofu block on a clean kitchen towel and cover. Place a heavy item or a plate with several cans on top to act as a tofu press to get the tofu as dry as possible.

Allow the tofu to press for about 15-20 minutes.

Cut the tofu in half and continue to cut into bite sized pieces.

Place the bite sized tofu pieces into a clean bowl and add in the soy sauce or Tamari, sesame oil, garlic powder, and sriracha.

Use a rubber spatula and mix to evenly coat the tofu.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the tofu far enough apart so they do not touch.

Place the tofu into the oven for 10 minutes and then flip over and continue to bake for another 10 minutes. The total bake time will be 20 minutes.

Remove the tofu from the oven once the edges are golden brown and crispy to the touch.

Allow to slightly cool and toss the tofu into a sauce of your choice (ex. peanut, teriyaki, orange sauce, etc.) Serve with a side of rice and some veggies for a balanced and delicious dish!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it gives you an idea of how to make something so bland taste delicious. If you give this recipe a try tag @lifeatthemesa on Instagram so we can see how it turns out for you! As always, I will be back soon with another delicious and nutritious recipe.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.