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Friday, August 31, 2012

Why I Eat Tofu

 by Francine

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Not that you asked, but I'll tell you.

Tofu is easy to digest. The fiber has been removed and there it is--the off-white creamy block of stuff that willingly and easily picks up its surrounding flavors.

Most soy-foods, including tofu, help to reduce cholesterol. How? By helping to maintain the level of good HDL It does this by lowering the levels of bad LDL cholesterol. Tofu even helps to absorb the cholesterol you've ingested from other foods!

Tofu is rich in isoflavones, which reduce the risk of osteoporosis (the B-vitamins in tofu contribute to this too), breast cancer (and for men--prostrate cancer).

And then of course there's the lazy factor. When I get home from work, I can easily mash it, slice and saute it, cube it and throw it into a stir-fry. No big deal. As much as I love to eat and enjoy preparing 'semi' lavish meals, usually when I get home from work--I just want to EAT, sip a glass of wine, and relax. A bit of tofu takes care of the protein element and gives me something to work with--quick and easy. Tofu goes SO well with vegetables of all kinds. And remember you can mix it with other (more expensive proteins). I love to make a stir-fry with shrimp or chicken as well as tofu.

And let's not forget the price tag. Compared to other proteins, tofu is ridiculously inexpensive. And a little bit goes a long way. Meaning that all you need is a small amount to fulfill your protein requirement for a meal.

If you don't use up the package (i.e. if you're cooking just for you), be sure to put the unused portion in a container and cover the tofu with fresh cold water. If you don't use the leftover tofu the next day, replace the water. You can do this a few days. But I recommend not letting tofu (unpacked) sit in your refrigerator for longer than two or three days. After that, the texture starts to change. It can get a bit slimy and the color starts to yellow. And of course the taste starts to change. . .


Friday, August 24, 2012

Tofu a la Parmigiana

 by Francine

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One of the fun and amazing things about tofu is its chameleon-like quality. Put it in ant environment of various flavors and it will blend in and mimic its surroundings. Rather magical (and tricky) when you think about it. Some people say tofu has no taste of its own and that's why it can do this. I say that's not the case at all. The flavor of the tofu 'marries' its surroundings and a new child is born. OK, I'll stop with the purple prose and get on to business. Here's a fun twist on a old favorite for many of us.


1 block of tofu, 12 ozs. or so (Tofu Yu plain or pepper is ideal for this)
olive oil (about 2 tbsp)
parmesan (to taste)
mozzarella cheese (or soy cheese) - about 4 ozs. shredded
bread crumbs (about 1/2 cup or so--you can also go in a different, but very yummy direction by substituting or mixing matzo meal)
oregano, basil, and/or Italian seasoning--if dry -a few tsps of each.. If fresh--at least a bountiful handful of basil leaves and nearly the same of oregano. Again--this is to taste.)
salt and pepper to taste (I don't add any salt at all)
tomato sauce (8 oz. can, or you can make up a quick batch by using a can of whole tomatoes, squishing it up, and adding it to sauteed garlic, herbs, etc., with a little parsley at the end)

Combine 1/2 the parmesan, 1/2 the oregano, salt (if you need it), and pepper with the bread crumbs.
Slice the tofu into strips, (don't rinse or pat dry--the moisture is what will make the bread crumb mixture stick), and then pat each side into bread crumb mixture.
Saute tofu in olive oil (both sides).
Combine tomato sauce, basil, remaining oregano, and garlic and pour a layer into an 8" square baking dish.
Places tofu over the layer of sauce.
Top with mozzarella and remaining parmesan.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Serves 1 (just kidding). More like 2-4


Friday, August 17, 2012

For Breakfast, Let's Get Hot & Spicy

 by Francine

photo via

When it comes to breakfast, many people like to go sweet (pancakes, waffles, French toast, or maybe oatmeal with gobs of raisins and maple). I can't say I'd turn any of those down. . . But there's a different direction you can go when the spirit moves you, and that's SPICY and HOT. Why not, right? 

This recipe is hot, all right, and you can turn up the hotness dial to as hot as you dare by increasing the amount of cayenne, adding some different peppers (jalapeno or habanero peppers), etc. And of course there is such an amazing assortment of delicious salsas and hot sauces available, that you can have a festival with each bite. 

Interesting thing about our tolerance/desire for hot and spicy foods. Genetics play big. But of course so does your culture and how you were raised.

What you need:

  • 1 pkg. extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes (Tofu Yu plain or pepper or jalapeno)
  • red, yellow, or green pepper --1/2 to whole
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • a bunch of spinach (or equivalent), chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled and diced
  • cheese (dairy or soy) shredded (amount is to taste--suggesting a little more than a handful, shredded)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • hot sauce or chili sauce, to taste
  • pepper to taste (because of the bit of the cayenne and garlic, not to mention the hot sauce, you really don't need any salt)
  • parsley, minced fine
  • 3 - 5 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • onion to taste (red, white, or yellow onion--or even scallions or chives)
  • 3 or more cloves garlic, minced (I'm a garlic freak--so there is never too much garlic for me)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (optional)

How to prepare:

In a skillet, sautee the onion and garlic in the olive or coconut oil until onions are slightly soft and start to appear a bit transparent. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese, pepper and parsley.
Stirring frequently, sautee for another 6-8 minutes, until veggies are done and tofu is lightly fried. At this point you can fold in the cheese, followed by the pepper and then sprinkle the minced parsley on top.
Enjoy. (You can pour  the mixture into a tortilla--just make sure it's been warmed).

Serves 2-4

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's a Lemon

Lemon Pepper Baked Tofu

Here's another fabulous recipe from One of the things I like about it is the fact that lemon is a prominent ingredient. It's not just the flavor of lemon I adore, but also the health benefits. This for instance:

photo via
"The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser."

The article also states that the ancient Egyptians believed lemons provided powerful protection against a host of poisons, backed up by today's research. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene--all these promote immunity and fight infection.

Baked Tofu Ingredients

  • 1 lb extra firm tofu
  • Marinade:
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Tamari soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Marinating and Baking the Tofu:

  1. Put all the marinade ingredients in a jar, screw the lid on tight, and shake until well mixed
  2. Press the block of tofu between an old dishtowel or paper towels to remove any excess water

  3. Slice the tofu in 1/2 inch slices, and lay side-by-side in a flat baking pan
  4. Spread the marinade over and under the tofu slices
  5. Marinate 30 minutes, turning once or twice
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  7. Bake 20 - 30 minutes
Some ideas for cooking with lemon baked tofu:

Combine with quinoa
Use in a sandwich or wrp
Stir in with noodles and veggies
Serve on the side as is 'NAKED.'
Fling it into a stir fry
Toss into a salad
Savvy Vegetarian supports healthy eating & green living, with easy vegetarian | vegan recipes, articles, free reports and blog, for everyone from long time vegans to just thinking about going veg.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Winning Won Ton!

by Francine

photo via
Found this yummy-sounding recipe on and it seemed like just the right thing to share. So many delicious and healthy ingredients in this. Notice the chives (that we talked about in one of our posts), and the spinach. From "One new category of health-supportive nutrients found in spinach is called "glycoglycerolipids." Glycoclycerolipids are the main fat-related molecules in the membranes of light-sensitive organs in most plants. They're indispensable for the process of photosynthesis carried out by plants. However, recent lab research in laboratory animals has shown that glycoglycerolipids from spinach can help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage — especially damage related to unwanted inflammation."

Thank you for this amazing recipe, "Shelley."

  • 1 pkg won ton wrappers (or vegan pasta dough rolled out thin)
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu (tofu from Tofu Yu is just the ticket! It's firm as can be. -fs)
  • 1/2 lb fresh spinach finely chopped
  • 5 oz mushrooms chopped (we suggest shitake, because of their amazing health benefits -fs)
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 large bunch chives or scallions chopped fine
  • 1/3 c. gr sunflower seeds (use spice grinder)
  • 4-6 sundried tomatoes soaked in boiling water
  • 3-4 baby carrots finely grated
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 2-3 cloves garlic crushed
  • splash of lemon juice
  • soymilk to thin
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • sea salt to taste


  1. Mill sunflower seeds into meal consistency then set aside
  2. Drain sundried tomatoes and finely chop
  3. Blend sliced tofu, lemon juice, sea salt, nutritional yeast and soy milk until ricotta like consistency in a food processor OR by hand (NOT a blender - you'll get paste!)
  4. FINELY dice tomatoes, red peppers, and chives
  5. Blend with tofu mixture by hand with a fork just until well mixed
  6. In a small bowl combine tofu mixture with remaining ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined
  7. Place a scant 1 Tbsp of mixture in center of wonton wrapper (or other vegan ravioli dough rolled out). Wet, crimp and seal edges of wrapper SECURELY (or the wrapper will open in the pan and contents will spill out)
  8. Cook a few at a time in your vegetable steamer for about 10 minutes, making sure to not crowd pan or they will stick to each other and be glue-ey
  9. Keep warm on a covered dish while the remainder cook
  10. Toss with a bit of olive oil when they are cooked to prevent sticking
  11. Top with a little fresh chopped parsley or cilantro, your favorite sauce and vegan parmesan cheese as desired

Cooking Tip from Shelley: "The tofu filling is too hearty for the delicate won-ton wrappers to hold up in boiling water but steaming worked beautifully."
Savvy Vegetarian supports healthy eating & green living, with easy vegetarian | vegan recipes, articles, free reports and blog, for everyone from long time vegans to just thinking about going veg.