Tofu Many Ways

grilled tofu

I have been tweeting often lately that I’m eating grilled tofu – why? because grilled tofu is super easy to prepare, super tasty, & so good for you. I have been vegetarian for almost all my life. I tried some meat when I was younger but never liked it. At first, I chose not to eat meat based on simple personal preference.

Now as an adult, I am benefiting from the wisdom of my choice 🙂 Whether for your own health, for your family’s health, or for the health of our environment, you may find many reasons to eat vegetarian, all or at least some of the time.
You may hear people say they “need their protein” when talking about eating meat, but vegetarian food has as much protein — and importantly, healthier protein than meat. Plant protein helps lower cholesterol while animal protein makes it worse — this is one of several reasons vegetarians have less heart trouble, lower cancer rates, stronger bones, and so on.
Growing up in India, I ate many different types of beans, lentils, and legumes which are extremely protein-rich. Tofu is another protein-rich, healthy vegetarian food, one I first tried after moving to the USA.
I enjoyed tofu for a long time before I knew how to make it at home. With practice and some experimentation, my tofu has gotten a lot better. I have also realized how convenient tofu really is — it is perfect when you don’t have much time to cook.
I’m happy to share some of my methods 🙂 First, this is one of the staple lunches I take to work, great for anyone on-the-go:

1 :: Grilled Tofu, for lunch box wraps

grilled tofu in a wrap

I used:

  • 1 slab of extra firm tofu, cut into thick slices like you see in the photo
  • 1 tbspn Sriracha (a Vietnamese-American hot sauce) – you can skip this and use soy sauce, or any other you may like and that may grill well
  • 1 tspn chinese five spice
  • 2 tbspns olive oil

My method:

1. Heat up your grill pan to medium high. (As hot as you need for quick grilling.)

2. In a large bowl, mix oil, hot sauce, five spice.

3. Dip the tofu slices on both sides in the sauce mix, shake off excess sauce.

4. Place each slice on your grill. Repeat until you have all the slices on your grill or as many as you can fit.

5. When you hear them sizzle or in about 3 minutes, whichever comes first, quickly flip the slices. Grill the other side for another 3 minutes or so, and take them off the grill.

6. Let them cool down, and then cut into bite size pieces for your wrap or salad.

7. My wraps vary with ingredients based on the season, but a typical formula is: grilled tofu, rice or rice pilaf, lettuce, raisins, tomatoes, sprouts, cucumber, and even nuts … all wrapped in a big, whole grain pita or a spinach tortilla or even a naan!

I love a spicy lunch, and this one is so convenient to eat. I also love the fact that this wrap has so many different textures in every bite!
2 :: Tofu Scramble, with toast
tofu scramble
I used:

  • 1 slab of extra firm tofu, cut into tiny cubes like in my photo. Squeeze off excess water first if necessary — this will depend on your brand’s or source’s packaging.
  • half green bell pepper, chopped into a small dice
  • half red bell pepper, chopped into a small dice
  • 1 tspn of cumin seeds
  • 1 tspn garam masala
  • 1 tspn turmeric
  • 1 tbsn olive oil
  • 1 tspn salt

My method:

1. In a saute pan, heat your oil on medium heat.

2. Add cumin once it is hot, so that the seeds sizzle.

3. After a minute, add the tofu and rest of the spices.

4. Let it cook a bit, for 5 minutes or so.

5. Now add your peppers and let it cook until the tofu gets a bit crispy, but the peppers are not over-cooked, maybe another 5 minutes. Keep stirring it!

6. Serve it with a freshly toasted slice of bread, or put in a wrap.

There are many more tofu recipes — like Tofu Puffs, or Tofu-Kan — which I will share another time 🙂