Tuna and grilled chicken. These are the staples of my lunches. Once in a while I’ll have leftovers from dinner, but more often than not I’m eating either grilled chicken or tuna on a low-carb lavash, or some kind of tuna concoction in a bowl. And one day, I decided I was a little bored with all of that.
Tofu is a good source of protein – and a cheap one, too. I thought it would be good to incorporate into my lunch rotation, but frankly, I am not so great at cooking tofu. At least, in the handful of times I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to obtain a good texture no matter whether I tried baking, pan-frying, or grilling it. Then I came across Erin’s post on baked tofu over at Fresh365. Her method for baking perfect tofu was different than any others I had seen, in that it called for baking at a very high temperature for a shorter period of time (500F for 30 minutes). I decided to give this a shot. And after that, I decided I would never again go back to baking tofu at 350F for 45-60 minutes, because this was just THAT much better. For the first time in my own home, I was enjoying tofu with a nice crisp exterior and flavorful inside.
Tofu can be flavored with pretty much anything you like – something as simple as the soy sauce and sesame oil that Erin suggests, or you can get a little more fancy if you like. Bottled dressings, marinades, and sauces can be used, or you can whisk together your own concoction. One afternoon while browsing my new favorite site – EatingWell.com, I stumbled upon a recipe for tofu baked in a sauce of tahini and maple syrup. The recipe also contained some roasted vegetables and a suggestion for serving with pasta, but I thought the sesame-maple tofu alone would be a great addition to salads or stirfry’s.
I’ve now made this recipe twice, and I’ve enjoyed it equally on a big colorful salad of spinach, arugula, roasted beets, colorful peppers and cauliflower and chickpeas; or on top of spinach sauteed with mushrooms and garlic for a hot lunch. If you are still trying to master tofu, I really suggest you give this higher-cooking-temperature-method a shot, and feel free to get creative with whatever sauces and flavorings you like.
Adapted from Eating Well
1 14-ounce block extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp Toasted Sesame Ginger Seasoning, or just sesame seeds and a generous pinch of ground ginger and crushed red pepper
Spray a ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add the tofu cubes; lightly spray with more nonstick cooking spray and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until the pieces of tofu are lightly browned on the bottom. Turn the pieces over, and roast for another 10 minutes.
Whisk tahini, soy sauce, sesame oil, maple syrup and vinegar in a small dish until combined. Remove the tofu from the oven, and toss with the tahini mixture and the sesame seeds (and ground ginger and crushed red pepper, if using.) Return to the oven and roast for another 5-10 minutes, turning once, until desired crispiness is reached.
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat: 8.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 148.8 mg
Total Carbs: 7.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 10.0 g