Marinated Tofu - Two Ways

One of the attributes of tofu that I love is its adaptability. You can give it just about any flavor profile you choose. Your only limitation is your imagination! The other thing I love is its bang for the buck. A 3.5 ounce serving of organic extra firm tofu provides roughly 120 calories, 12g protein, 5g of mostly unsaturated fat, is an excellent source of manganese, a good source of selenium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous and contains a decent amount of iron and copper... all for about 63 cents.

 

[For comparison, a 3.5 ounce serving of 90% lean ground beef contains 196 calories, 24g protein, 10.5g fat (half of it saturated) for about $1.30 if you find a good sale]. 

 

To make it even more firm and slightly chewy (in a pleasant way), I like to press it overnight. This doesn't require any fancy equipment either, just a couple of things you already have.

 

Before we get started though, a brief note about eating soy. There is a ton of misinformation about the health effects of consuming soy products, including whether or not soy consumption has negative health outcomes. Headlines casting doubt and causing alarm are mostly based on conventionally grown (non-certified organic)  genetically modified (GMO) soybeans (which are heavily sprayed with pesticides), non-human research, soy consumption in unrealistically large amounts, or the authors not fully comprehending the chemical make-up of soy. I encourage you to check out the short 3-part video series by my colleague Whitney Tabaie, RDN at Whitney E RD. She does an excellent job of presenting the current science in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

 

Minimally processed organic soy is an excellent source of plant protein. This includes edamame, miso, tofu (sprouted and regular) and tempeh. So be sure to check these out, stop listening to the fearmongers, and enjoy some soy!

 

Now let's get started, shall we?

 

The Process:                                                               PRINT HERE

 

I like to make several blocks at a time because I use them in a lot of different dishes and like to have at least a couple different flavor profiles to choose from. Use a knife to cut through the plastic film, being careful not to cut through the tofu (if this happens anyway, it's not the end of the world). Drain the liquid. Using a clean hand gently press the tofu over a sink to release a bit more liquid. Place the tofu on a plate or tray, put another plate or tray on top and a couple of canned goods to weigh it down. I like to use a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Refrigerate for 8-24 hours, draining the liquid occasionally. You can progressively add more weight if you choose, but this is not totally necessary. The objective is to remove as much of the liquid as possible so the tofu will absorb as much of the marinade as possible. Marinade = FLAVOR!

 

I didn't snap a before photo, but after 24 hours (and using slightly progressive weights) the tofu reduced in height by at least an inch.

 

Note: you can proceed without taking the time to press the tofu (or pressing it for less time), the tofu just won't absorb as much of the marinade and will be slightly softer, so take care when tossing/stirring etc. so you don't break it apart.

 

 

Use paper towels to blot any external moisture and cut the block into 8 even slabs.

 

 

Now cut those slabs in half so you end up with 16 even rods.

 

 

Now cut each rod into cubes and set them aside,

 

 

Now it's FLAVAH TIME! I love both of these marinades and can't choose a favorite... they are each so different. I plan to experiment with several more flavor profiles too, so stay tuned

 

Here's what you'll need for the Mediterranian marinade: (camera shy: S&P, water)

 

The combined effect of the marinade flavors and the pressing result in a "feta"-like texture and flavor. If you want something similar to crumbled feta cheese, you can crumble the pressed tofu before marinating instead of cubing. Either way, this is INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!

 

Mediterranean marinade ~

 

In a small bowl, combine:

 

Zest and juice from 2 large lemons

3 gloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

3 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (those are the yellow flakes in the jar with the black lid; you can purchase them here)

1 1/2 tsp Greek oregano, dried

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp salt

 

Mix until well combined.

 

Note: you can omit the nutritional yeast, but this adds a "cheesy" flavor and important B vitamins, including vitamin B12 (if you have purchased a fortified nutritional yeast, check the label carefully).

 

Put the tofu cubes in a zip-lock bag or other container and pour the marinade over all. Scrape out the bowl to get every bit of deliciousness! Put this in the refrigerator to marinade 8-24 hours, flipping the bag or container every couple of hours.

 

Here's what you'll need for the Latin American version: (camera shy: white wine vinegar, an orange, black pepper, Mexican oregano, water)

 

~ Latin American Marinade:

 

In a small bowl, combine:

 

Zest and juice from 3 limes

Zest and juice from 1 orange

3 large cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped (it's been a great cilantro-growing year for us too!)

1 jalapeno, seeded (for less heat) or unseeded (for more heat), diced small

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

3 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp smoked paprika or chile powder

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp Mexican oregano

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp salt

 

Mix until well combined.

 

Put the tofu cubes in a zip-lock bag or other container and pour the marinade over all. Scrape out the bowl to get every bit of deliciousness! Put this in the refrigerator to marinade 8-24 hours, flipping the bag or container every couple of hours.

 

Once the tofu has marinated for a while, they can be used in countless ways (or eaten straight out of the bag)! Here are some suggestions:

 

For the Mediterranean version:

 

Atop a Greek salad

Atop crisp pita crackers as an appetizer (see top-most photo)

In a Gyro wrap with grilled eggplant, onion, hummus and chopped parsley

In a basmati rice summer salad

In a hoagie roll

Paired with whole grain freekeh, couscous, kamut, or spelt

As a pizza topping (I add it after the pizza has cooked)

As part of a bento box

 

For the Latin American version:

 

Inside grilled veggie fajitas or tacos (click HERE for my Grilled Tofu Tacos)

Atop a black bean salad

Tucked inside a burrito

Added to a brown rice bowl

Inside crispy or soft tacos (see photo below)

inside romaine lettuce boats as an appetizer

skewered along with cherry or grape tomatoes as a tapas

Atop nachos

Atop a tostada

As part of a bento box 

 

UPDATE: One of the things I love about this preparation method, is it doesn't NEED cooking. However, if you'd prefer hot, crispy tofu instead, here's what to do:

 

~ increase the nutritional yeast to 4 Tbsp

~ after marinating period, heat oven to 400 degrees

~ lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper

~ bake tofu 30-40 minutes until crisp, turning halfway through

~ enjoy eating it in any of the ways suggested above

 

 Above: Grilled Tofu Tacos with Jalapeno Lime Sauce. Recipe HERE.

 

Nutrition information is for 3.5 oz of tofu cubes and 2 Tbsp of marinade.

 

When you make this, be sure to take a photo and tag me #chefcatherinebrown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ng what you make!

 

 

DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand.  The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products that I trust and use. 

 

 

NOTE: All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on A Seat at My Table so credit is given where credit is due. Thank you!

 

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