Here’s an easy way to prepare tofu!
You can use tofu in just about anything – from stir fries to soup , mix with roasted veggies or to top your salads It’s an easy way to make some for tonight’s meal, tomorrow’s salad and freeze some for future use. It’s a great substitute for meat in pre-plant based favorite recipes. The great thing about tofu is that it takes on flavors beautifully.
Start with a block of firm tofu,
lift a corner of the container and drain off the liquid. Lift out the tofu and press additional liquid out between paper towels (or with a tofu press!)
Baked Tofu Ingredients
Gather your ingredients:
Ginger, turmeric, India Marsala and garlic powder and low sodium soy sauce.
Or you could choose ginger, onion, paprika and garlic — be creative, see what you like.
Put some soy sauce into a flat bottomed bowl, and shake and mix in your spices. Several shakes of each, and use more of your favorites.
Slice the tofu into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Press each slice in between paper towels just before you put it in your “marinade”; doing this lets the tofu act like a sponge and soak up the flavors.
Place them in a pyrex dish – or a cookie sheet works – nothing needed on the pan. You can also prepare Portabellas at the same time. Shake more of the same seasoning over the tofu and portabellas .
Put the dish in the oven at 375* for 20 minutes and check to see if done — you can increase or decrease cooking time to your preference
I like it cooked until the tofu edges are turning brown and the moisture is absorbed. Let them cool — serve as a “tofu steak”, or on a whole grain bun with the mushrooms, or slice them into a favorite dish.
The extra tofu I like to slice into 1/2 inch strips (or cut further into 1/2 inch cubes) to store in the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch salad, or in the freezer. (Freezing actually seems to add a bit more texture!) Use it to create a stir fry, serve in noodles with tomato sauce, add to a soup, or microwave with mushrooms and serve on whole grain toast; just let your cooking imagination run wild! And, you'll be amazed that with just soaking this dish in some hot water briefly will make it clean easily.
Tofu is made from soy beans. So, what about the concern over soy and breast cancer?
A recent study found that soy foods actually lower women’s risk of breast cancer. The study reviewed food intake questionnaires from 70,578 Chinese women, 40-70 years of age, participating in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study.
This study’s results are in line with previous research demonstrating that soy foods lower a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. The confusion stems from older studies that studied breast cancer in mice — which is really not a good model for human breast cancer and they used very large amount of isoflavones (aka phytoestrogens) – many times more than what is in soy. Further it turns out that isoflavones may actually block human breast tumor estrogen receptors, thus inhibiting their growth; this may be one of the reasons for the beneficial effects of soy in reducing breast cancer risk.
What about breast cancer survivors? 9000 women participated in 3 studies of eating habits and other lifestyle factors after breast cancer. Two of the studies were from the U.S. and 1 was from China. Women from both the U.S. and China who consumed 10 mg/day or more of soy had a 25% lower risk of breast cancer recurrence. The Mayo Clinic provides a helpful review.
The answer lies in the fact that there are two different types of estrogen receptors in the body, and the way in which a target cell responds depends on which type of estrogen receptor they have. The body’s natural estradiol binds to alpha receptors to stimulate normal breast tissue, and uterine lining growth Soy phytoestrogens preferentially bind to beta receptors which actually modulate growth. Read more about Estrogen Receptors.
A recent study in the journal Menopause showed that “a plant based diet rich in soy reduces moderate to severe hot flashes by 84%.”You can read more about the role of what you eat in regulating your hormones in Dr Neal Barnard’s book Your Body in Balance
Tofu is nutritionally dense – an excellent source of fiber and dietary protein (including all essential amino acids). Tofu contains linolenic acid an omega-3 fatty acid – key in many systems including circulatory and nervous system. Tofu is also an excellent source of calcium and magnesium. So enjoy tofu’s flexibility as it holds onto flavors in a variety of dishes and adds to your daily nutrients.