I'm not a vegetarian by any means, but I try to make most of my diet plant based incorporating high quality, farmer-raised meat as a complement. Tofu is a great source of high quality plant-based protein and can be found in the refrigerated (fresh) and grocery sections (aseptic package). You can buy it anywhere from extra firm, to use in stir-fry recipes, to silken, to use in blending smoothies or as a healthy alternative to mayo, cream cheese, oil, and other creamy products.
Why use tofu? As I mentioned already, you get high quality protein with little fat, and it is rich in B-vitamins and iron. Tofu is also a low sodium food for anyone watching their sodium intake. Tofu is one of the foods with the highest content of Tryptophan, which is an essential (our body can't produce it) amino-acid enabling the body to release serotonin and meltonin. This, in turn, help us relax and feel more at ease.....this is a benefit very welcome to me.
What do you do with it? Here is a quick list of great ideas to get you started:
My favorite is using lite silken tofu to blend with frozen fruit and squash for a nutritious and flavorful smoothie you can eat with a spoon!
For a quick pudding fix, follow this healthy recipe:
Is This Healthy Chocolate Mousse
- 4oz (1/3 of 12oz package) silken firm tofu (I use Mori-Nu)
- 1/8 tsp vanilla stevia
- 1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
- dash of salt
- up to 2 tsp liquid (such as water or non-dairy milk)
- optional: almond or mint extract, instant coffee or espresso, peanut butter, flakes of coconut, or another fun flavoring– be creative! I love using pumpkin puree with the tofu and adding pumpkin pie spice for a an excellent pumpkin pudding.
Something I've recently been using in my blender creations are steamed carrots. For vegetables, they do offer a nice sugar content for a healthy sweet treat, and when cooked, they taste even better. Here's what I do, you must try at least once...
Carrot Cake Milkshake
- 1 extremely-ripe, large banana (frozen)
- 1/4 cup dair or non-dairy milk (use more or less, depending on desired thickness.)
- 4oz lite silken tofu
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 6 drops of regular or vanilla stevia
- heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 small carrot (50g or so), peeled and steamed
- a very small dash (about 1/16) tsp salt to bring out sweetness
Using any vegetables mild in taste are great for adding healthy volume to frozen treats. Obviously, I like to use the tofu in sweet treat creations, but here are a few links to savory applications:
Healthy Spinach Dip
Tofu and Vegetable Stir-Fry
More great recipes found here
Really, any favorite dip of yours can be recreated using tofu as an alternative to a fatty, cream-based dip. Try a few of your own creations using some favorite spices and veggies to see what you can make.
Something to note - with the abundance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that are grown and sold in stores, I always buy organic soy products or make sure they state "Non-GMO" on the package. It's not proven there are any side-effects to GMO products, but I prefer to keep it safe with the food I put in my body.