Do I Have to Eat Tofu?
I’m sure that many of you are interested in eating or cooking soy, but you don’t know where to start. Let me tell you a funny story about the first time I had tofu. I was at a restaurant on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh while in college at N.C. State University.
I decided that I wanted to try tofu, and one of the options on the menu was “Grilled Tofu”. Thinking that I like pretty much anything grilled, I ordered it. Mental note to everyone: Tofu is not very tasty unless flavored with something. It was so bland!
Well, it’s been several years and I am now a seasoned tofu cook. Rarely do I eat it by itself, I usually add it to a sauce or marinate it.
You may not be ready for tofu, so I am going to introduce you to some user friendly ways to try soy. Remember that soy is a plant food and has many beneficial nutrients to protect your body against cancer when used the right way.
Soy Foods for Beginners:
Here are some ways to start using soy:
- Edamame – Soy beans in their pods. You can buy them as an appetizer at Asian restaurants, or buy them in the frozen section and cook them at home. They cook in less than 10 minutes and make a great, quick and tasty appetizer. All you do is add a little salt! Remember that with soy beans you don’t eat the pod!
- Soy beans – You can also buy soy beans in the frozen section and already out of the pod. These are best to add to stir fries. The texture is slightly crunchy, it will not be soft and mushy like black beans or kidney beans.
- Soy milk – If you’ve never tried soy milk, start with vanilla, chocolate or other flavored soy milk. It’s great on cereal, and I like it just to drink.
- Soy nuts – Many people like the crunchy texture and taste of roasted soy nuts. You can find them at most natural grocery stores, or in the health food section of your local grocery store. They also sell soy nut butter. I’ve tried it, and I didn’t really like it, but you might!
- Tofu Lasagna – I’ve had this recipe tested by a friend and cancer survivor who has kids. It passed the test! Don’t call it tofu lasagna though when you serve it, that’s just bad marketing! Here’s the recipe and new name:
- 14 oz. package of silken soft tofu
- 3/4 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup low-fat (1% cottage cheese)
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 4 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- Cooking spray
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 package (8 oz.) sliced white mushrooms
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 3 cups fat-free, low-sodium marinara sauce
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, mash the tofu. Add the ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic powder and 2 Tbsp. of the Parmesan cheese. Mix until smooth.
- Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add the onions to the cheese mixture. Spray the same skillet again. Add the mushrooms and sauté them over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the cheese mixture, stirring to combine well.
- Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the marinara sauce over the bottom. Top the sauce with 4 noodles side-by-side in a single layer. Spread 1/3 of the tofu filling on top of the noodles. Place a layer of spinach over this. Repeat these steps to form two more layers. Pour the remaining 3/4 cup sauce on top and sprinkle on the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Remove the lasagna from the oven and let stand about 20 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings. Recipe from AICR.
Cook it up and enjoy!