Vegan Cooking Tips
We always like to eat well, but who wants to heat up the kitchen when the weather gets warm? That's when flavored tofu comes in very handy. Scope out several markets in your area to see what type of flavored tofu they offer.
Your local market may have smoked tofu or teriyaki-, southwestern-, lemon and pepper-, and chili-flavored tofu. Also, you can create your own flavored tofu by marinating drained, extra firm tofu with a mixture of soy sauce, water, minced onions, and/or garlic or with a mixture of vinegar, a small amount of oil, and your favorite spice blend. For example, choose a mix of chili powder, white pepper, and a hint of cumin, or try a blend of dried oregano, parsley, thyme, sage, and rosemary. Allow tofu to marinate, covered and refrigerated, for at least two hours.
Whether you find your tofu already flavored or create your own, you can use flavored tofu to create some wonderful warm-weather dishes. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Crumble flavored tofu over your favorite cold green salad (such as a mixture of baby spinach, shredded Swiss chard, fresh green peas, shredded carrots, and sesame seeds). To add some crunch, think about adding toasted cashews or almonds or some crispy Asian noodles.
- Crumble flavored tofu over cold noodles or rice, toss lightly with your favorite salad dressing, and garnish with sliced mushrooms or grated fresh beets.
- Mix cold, cooked rice with mixed raw summer squash or cold, cooked mixed vegetables, and a small amount of vinegar or soy sauce. Then, top with crumbled flavored tofu.
- Toss cold, cooked rice with salsa and spoon on a bed of raw or cooked cold greens. Garnish with crumbled flavored tofu.
If you're looking for something on the sweeter side, you may find strawberry-, lemon-, chocolate-, or melon-flavored tofu. However, you must be certain to check labels to ensure they are vegan.
In addition, many markets that stock tofu carry 'sweetened' tofu, which is usually silken tofu sold with a glucose syrup flavored with ginger. You can create your own sweetened tofu by pouring maple syrup thinned with a little bit of water over silken tofu, covering, and allowing to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour. You can also use slightly watered- down rice syrup combined with minced fresh ginger as your 'sweet' for a sweet tofu. Here are some other ideas:
- Slice ripe bananas, mix with a small amount of mango or apricot nectar, and toss with cold cooked rice. Then, top with sweet tofu and garnish with sesame seeds.
- Place sweetened silken tofu in a blender; add a small amount of orange juice concentrate and fresh rasp- berries or strawberries. Blend until smooth. Then, you can do one of the following:
- Pour into a prepared pie shell or individual tart shells and allow to set in the refrigerator for two hours.
- Pour into individual dishes or ice cube trays and serve as a cold dessert, or heat and serve as a hot morning breakfast dish.
- Pour over ice and drink as a cold 'meal in a dish' or blend with ice for a smoothie-type beverage.
- Simply place sweet tofu in a dessert dish, top with fresh seasonal fruit, and enjoy.
- For dessert or breakfast, create a sweet burrito by mixing sweet tofu with chopped fresh seasonal fruit and rolling in lavash bread, a corn tortilla, or a cold pancake.