Enlightened Classic Taco Recipe: Surprise! It’s Tofu!

by Donna on January 24, 2011

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I didn’t grow up eating PB&Js. I grew up eating bean burros and ground beef tacos. Hey! – didn’t everybody in the ’60s?

Since tacos are a major comfort food for me, I decided to try  to come up with a healthified version.

I know, I know. Not everyone thinks of tofu to replace ground beef. But just humor me for a moment.

This filling is fabulously flavorful and has a texture similar to classic ground beef taco filling, but is 100 per cent vegetarian, in fact – it’s even vegan! If you are like me and are making resolutions for the New Year to eat less meat, this is a perfect recipe to start with. I like it even BETTER than the traditional spiced hamburger taco filling. It is softer and has less of that ground beef “gristle” taste. I promise: Even the most dedicated carnivores will love this healthy substitute for ground cow! Try it out on your favorite carnivore and go ahead and TRY to prove me wrong!

We here at Everyday Southwest have taken the Meatless Monday pledge for 2011, and this is perfect for our first MM post!

There are countless benefits, say the Mayo Clinic researchers, to eating less meat.  But let’s just all admit right now that Americans eat much more meat than they need to. Enough said. With delicious ways to cut back on meat like this taco filling, why would you not cut back? Amen! to the Meatless Monday folks, who point out that less meat consumption reduces heart disease, lowers risk of cancer and helps fight obesity. ((HOLY COW! **Pun intended!**))

The combination of soy sauce, peanut butter and spices, mostly chile powder and cumin, turns crumbled tofu into one of those “I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Meat” kind of recipes. It is a magical concoction.

This is a great thing to have on hand to make a quick Desperation Dinner – so I like to keep some small zip lock baggies of this magical stuff in my freezer. This tofu filling makes great sloppy joes and last-minute spaghetti sauce!

Happy Less-Meaty New Year to all!

GROUND TOFU TACO FILLING

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (I use Frank’s)
16 ounces frozen and then thawed extra-firm tofu
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix first seven ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Drain water from tofu block. To do this:  Wrap tofu in a thin kitchen towel or several layers of paper towels. Place wrapped tofu between two plates. Press gently and evenly with hands to remove water from tofu. (You can also place a weight on top of the top plate and let tofu sit for 20 minutes or so.) Unwrap tofu and crumble into small bits into mixing bowl. Toss with sauce in mixing bowl.

Spread oil on a 12 by 18 inch baking sheet. Sprinkle crumbled tofu on top of oil in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir tofu. Return to oven and cook for about 20 mor minutes, until liquid is evaporated and tofu is crispy.

Use as you would any spicy ground beef filling.

Other food bloggers use tofu in fabulous ways:
Red Curry Tofu, The Perfect Pantry
Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry, The Perfect Pantry
Tofu Scramble, Healthy Happy Life
Soy and Sesame Baked Tofu, Kalyn’s Kitchen
Crispy Rice and Tofu Balls, Just Bento
Tofu Tacos, Former Chef
Tofu Celery Salad, Use Real Butter
Grilled Tofu and Peppers Tacos, Herbivoracious

– posted by Donna

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