When I decided to start this blog, I also decided that I’d venture out side of my cooking bubble. The bubble involved a lot of chicken, fish, and veggies, but not a whole lot else. So for my first experience cooking tofu, I enlisted my friend Amanda, ex-roommate and tofu connoisseur. We chose a whole foods recipe, and I have to admit, it was really good!
Well, I guess I should qualify that statement slightly. Just the way I say Gossip Girl is good…for a CW show, and just the way I say that I’m athletic…for a girl, I’d say that this recipe was really really good…for tofu. It had great flavor and a pretty good texture after a little finagling with the broiler, but in the end it was still tofu. First step was to whip up the marinade: Balsamic, Olive Oil, Honey, and Herbs.
Then we tossed in the tofu cubes and let it marinate for about half an hour. Next time I would maybe let it sit overnight or for a few hours. We used extra firm tofu and thoroughly and carefully squeezed out all the excess liquid first, cuz apparently that’s what you’re supposed to do with tofu.
Then we spread the tofu out on a roasting pan with some red peppers and put it in the oven. For the last 15 minutes we added the asparagus pieces because they don’t take as long to cook. When the tofu wasn’t looking as crispy as we wanted at the end of the roasting process, we removed the veggies from the pan and broiled the tofu for an additional 5 minutes on each side and that was just perfect…for tofu.
Mixed with the asparagus and peppers, it looked pretty great in the end …for tofu. It was delicious hot but also good thrown in a salad the next day for lunch.
Nutritional Highlights: Tofu is a great source of protein for those of us (myself included) trying to cut back on their animal product intake. And, it pretty much absorbs whatever flavor you add to it so it’s very versitle. But for me, a non-profit-working-recent-grad-recently-financially-independent, the real benefit is that tofu is INSANELY cheap…and not just for tofu. You can get about 3-4 meals out of one block of tofu, which at TJ’s (trader joe’s) what a whopping $2 and some-odd cents. Do the math.
Balsamic and Herb Roasted Tofu
adapted from Whole Foods Market
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 large clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Sea salt and ground pepper
16 ounces extra firm tofu
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Combine the ingredients for the marinade: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, agave nectar/honey, garlic, oregano, thyme, sea salt and pepper in a mixing bowl.
3. Drain the tofu and gently press to remove as much liquid as possible. Cut tofu into cubes. Pierce the tofu in several places with a fork to allow the flavor to permeate the tofu.
4. Pour balsamic mixture over tofu and marinate for at least an hour.
5. Spread tofu on a shallow 9×13-inch baking pan. Pour any left over marinade over the tofu.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the tofu and continue to bake an additional 10 minutes.
7. Then, assess the crispness factor. If it’s not brown enough for you (it wasn’t for us), then turn on your broiler and broil for 5 minutes, monitoring closely. Then turn the tofu pieces and broil for another 5 minutes. They should be lookin good and crunch by now! Mix with whatever combo of roasted veggies you like and enjoy!