Tofu, or Not Tofu….That is the Question…

Tofu.  That rubbery, jiggly, opaque soy protein staple found in most any vegetarian or vegan refrigerator.  Until recently, I was not a fan of tofu, regardless of how it was prepared.  I didn’t dislike it, but there were, oh…maybe 1,000 other things I would eat before I would choose tofu.  That being said, I now love tofu, and eat it regularly, several times per week…

A little history…

Excerpted from Wikipedia:

“Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in many East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way. Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. It is often seasoned or marinated to suit the dish.”

How I came to like tofu…

I have a passion for cooking.  Since I began my vegan journey, I have been searching for and experimenting with recipes for familiar dishes that traditionally incorporate meat as a main ingredient.  Take chili, for instance.  I have had vegetarian chili on many occasions in the past, but it usually made me miss the texture of ground beef found in non-vegetarian chili.  I tried using quinoa, thinking this might give some of the texture I craved.  Although pretty tasty, it wasn’t quite what I was aiming for.  I continued my search on the internet, and stumbled upon a website that described how to change the characteristics of tofu so that it crumbled to closely resemble crumbled ground beef.  It is a very simple process:

1.  Freeze a block of firm organic tofu

2.  Fully thaw the tofu block, but do not let it come all the way to room temperature

3.  Press the thawed block of tofu wrapped in a cheese cloth or juicing cloth, removing all liquid

4.  Re-hydrate under a gentle stream of cool water, and repeat the pressing

5.  Repeat 4 – 5 times, until the water starts to run clear, and the soy smell is removed

You are left with a semi dry cake of tofu that can easily be crumbled into chili, soup or any other type of stew.  It will take on the color and taste of the food, and make it less watery.  This crumbled tofu can also be combined with cashew or other nut cheeses and pureed into a velvety sauce for making vegan macaroni & cheese or quiche, or stirred into nut cheese and used to make vegan lasagna.  In future posts, I will share some of my favorite recipes.  Until then, here are a couple of pictures of some delicious meals prepared with this versatile, healthy food…

Image

vegan chili with tofu meat

Image

vegan lasagna with tofu cheese

 

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