The Connection Runners + YOGA

Who Says All Meals Need Meat? Try These Mouth- Watering Tofu and Tempeh Recipes!

I grew up eating chicken, turkey, pork chops, beef stew, etc... (you get the idea). I've never really cared for red meat (I'm definitely not a frequent flyer at steakhouses!), but I slowly started to cut back on my meat consumption as I finished college and started medical school. It began as a tactic to save money (meat is pretty darn expensive for a poor student!), and I started replacing meat with meatless options such as Boca Burgers and Morningstar Chik'n Patties. Alas, a chicken patty is still a chicken patty even if it's got an apostrophe in the title (hello sodium!), and I realized after awhile that I didn't need "meatless" meat dishes to make up my meals anymore. After much trepidation, I ventured into the world of tofu and tempeh- and was surprised at the outcome!

I LOVE tofu/tempeh! While I've come to realize that I can get protein from lots of other sources (hello Greek yogurt, chickpeas, lentils... ) and don't always need to have a "meat" base to my meals, I've had a lot of fun experimenting with recipes for tofu and tempeh. I love that both take on the flavor of whatever you marinate/cook them in- so versatile! Here are some of my favorite recipes:

Pumpkin Nutty Maple Tofu (adapted from loveveggiesandyoga Pumpkin Honey Tofu)

1 package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 c Pumpkin Butter (In a pinch you could try mixing canned pumpkin with some sugar and pumpkin pie spice)
1/3 c Sugar Free Maple Syrup (Or Agave or Honey)
1/4 tsp Chili Powder (or any other spice you choose- try pumpkin pie spice, cayenne, cinnamon)
1/4 c Apple Cider Vinegar
My add in- 1 TBSP Trader Joes Peanut Satay Sauce (this stuff is so good!)

1. Press tofu to drain out juices:
I don't own a fancy tofu press, so here's how I do it:

Place tofu on 2 pieces of paper towel and wrap up

Add weight to the tofu block. I use my George Foreman mini grill (off of course!) and just press down manually or put a heavy object (book, etc) on top for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Take a quick taste! (I do this because I don't want to marinate my tofu in something that is under or overspiced!)

3. Cut pressed tofu into slices (or smaller pieces, whatever you like)
4. Place tofu in a pan/bowl/dish (big enough to fit the block).
5. Pour mixture over tofu slices, making sure each piece is coated on both sides.
6. Let the marinated tofu sit in the fridge for 15 mins- 24 hours. My husband (and I) loved this tofu after I let it marinate for a day- but if you're pressed for time just give it 15 minutes.
7. Place tofu on non-stick baking sheet (or one lined with foil/sprayed with cooking spray)
8. Bake in oven at 450 for 20 minutes, flip and cook for another 5. The second side cooks much faster so watch it!
9. Let cool, then enjoy! I've eaten this tofu on a homemade panini, chopped up in quinoa, on top of salads, and by itself as a dinner protein source.

Spicy Mango Maple Tofu (adapted from LoveVeggiesandYoga Mango Ginger Maple Tofu)

This recipe is the same deal as the last one- mix ingredients, press tofu, pour mix over, marinate 15 mins-24 hrs

1/4 C finely chopped fresh mango (or mango preserves)
1/4 C Maple (or Agave)
2 TBSP Orange Juice
1/4 Tsp Chili Powder

Bake at 450 for 15-18 minutes, flip and cook for another ~5 mins.

Nut Butter Encrusted Tofu (adapted from Mama Pea's Nut Butter Crusted Tofu)
Oh my gosh this tofu is HEAVENLY. No marinating required. Hubby literally ate 3/4 of the block!

1 package extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 TBSP almond butter
2 TBSP natural peanut butter (or try experimenting with other nut butters if you have them!)
1 TBSP soy sauce ( I used Bragg Liquid Aminos (much better sodium level!))
1 TBSP water
My add-in- 1 TBSP TJ's Peanut Satay Sauce (I love this stuff)

1. Press tofu
2. Whisk together ingredients
3. Coat both sides of tofu w/nutty mixture (I used a butter knife to do so)
4. Place on a non-stick baking sheet
5. Cook @ 400 F for 10 minutes on EACH side

I ate this tofu with a side of coconut quinoa and a spinach salad. DIVINE. I actually ate 3-4 pieces off the pan before I even offered it to my husband (shh don't tell!)
I plan to make it tonight actually- this post has given me a serious craving :-P

And a tempeh recipe for good measure:

(If you haven't tried tempeh- it's a soybean product that's grainier than tofu. I actually eat it plain for the most part- this was my first foray into cooking the stuff. It turned out great!)
Tempeh + Veggie Stir Fry

1 block tempeh
1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)

1 TBSP Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar (or any other cooking vinegar you have- This stuff is really good though)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of chili powder
pinch of granulated onion powder
1 cup frozen (or fresh) broccoli
1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) peas
1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) corn

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 TBSP Smart Balance buttery spread (or butter, or olive oil- just to grease up the pan)

1. Whisk soy sauce, champagne vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper, chili powder, and onion powder together in a small bowl
2. Chop up tempeh into bite sized pieces and place in a large container/bowl/dish.
3. Pour mixture over tempeh, ensuring both sides are coated.
4. Let tempeh+ marinade sit for 15 mins- 1 hr
5. Prep your skillet w/ 1 TBSP margarine/buttery spread/oil and saute 1/4 cup onion for ~ 3-5 minutes
6. This is where I freelanced. I threw the marinated tempeh and vegetables into the skillet on high heat, poured the remaining marinade over the mix and let it cook for ~7-10 minutes, stirring frequently. I sprayed liquid aminos over the skillet once during the process. (I used frozen vegetables, so it may take less time for the mix to cook through if you use fresh).
7. This got an A++ from my husband. I mixed it into some soup myself so I didn't eat it plain- but it got the title "best stir fry I ever had" from him. And I know he wasn't fibbing because he ate most of the skillet (and wondered if I could make more).

BTW- I've been doing much better about eating meals instead of grazing during the day. Last night's dinner was salmon, spinach salad, and OSG Cheezy Oats.
I've also been enjoying my easy egg salad for lunch the past few days with a side of veggies. Big strides, my friends!

Off to the gym!

And try some tofu/tempeh for me today:-)


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