Being vegan might seem like a huge punishment to those of us that feel we could “never give up our meat,” but the truth of the matter is that eating meat is inherently going to have some negative effects on your health overtime—even if it doesn’t cause any life-threatening harm to you. Most people who refuse to stop eating meat do so simply because they don’t want to and that’s completely fine if that’s the choice they want to make. However, deciding to eat a few more healthy meals that don’t contain meat wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Being afraid to try something new because you’re stuck on believing that you won’t like it is never a good enough excuse not to give it a shot! There’s so much food out there to enjoy; and if you understand the concept of eating for nourishment, then you might begin to have a slight understanding of why vegans make the choice to eat the way they do. You never know what it is that you won’t like as far as food is concerned if you don’t sample it—and there are numerous tasty vegan dishes out there to be enjoyed.
Just the thought of tofu can be scary for some less-adventurous eaters and they wouldn’t even think about giving it a taste, but it can be so well marinated in some cases that they might not even realize they’re eating tofu like baked tofu or marinate tofu if they just take the leap and sample it. There’s no doubt that there are health benefits in eating vegan meals too; even if you only eat a few vegan meals a week or a few times a month. Most vegan meals put clean nutrients back into our system and these types of meals leave us feeling full and energized most often, whereas meat can sometimes leave us feeling bloated and tired. Eating plant-based meals seems more costly upfront, but the long-term benefits are kind of just built into the whole system. When it comes to preparing tofu, marinating it intensely and combining it with stir-fried vegetables and spices is a rather quick and easy meal that cooks of all skill levels can pull off without breaking a sweat. The key to a satisfying vegan meal is bringing together comforting flavors, inviting colors, and generous helpings. The more appetizing the plate looks, the more excited a non-vegan will be about tasting it one time!
Many people like baked tofu or grilled tofu. However, marinate tofu has to be one of the tastiest. When it comes to preparing and marinate tofu, you want to first think about the larger flavor palate that will exist around your tofu. You could fry tofu slices and a few vegetables at a medium-high heat and just toss in a couple of tablespoons of soy sauce, a snip of sesame oil, or a dash of extra-virgin olive oil, and chow down with a few noodles, but it is better to think about ingredients that go together. Think about the vegetables you want to incorporate into a stir-fry and then decide what kinds of flavors you plan to incorporate on top of that with herbs and spices. One of the things that make cooking so enjoyable is your ability to tweak any recipe that you might find to follow and the substitutions that you can make are virtually endless.
Dry frying your water-packed tofu before soaking it overnight is an ideal way to be sure that the tofu soaks up as much of the marinade as possible. Dry frying removes all of that preservative liquid that tofu has in it straight out of the packaging. To dry fry it, you’ll want to slightly compress your tofu slabs between paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible before cooking. Then you’ll want to cut your tofu into even pieces or cubes for a quick and easy frying process. The frying temperature is the biggest point of importance here. Because you’re dry frying the tofu, it means you’re not using anything at all to coat your pan. Dry frying your tofu on low to medium-low heat and watching it intently is crucial or your tofu could stick and burn. This means that you should be mindful of just how many pieces you’re frying at once. Each piece of tofu will need liberal surface area around it during frying time. You want to make sure that you constantly turn each piece and squeeze the excess liquid from each piece as they start to fry up. A golden brown color on each side will let you know that your tofu is ready to start the marinating process!
For an Asian flair, try soaking your tofu overnight in a marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, teriyaki sauce, sugar, sesame oil, a little garlic and ginger paste, a hint of organic red chili powder and organic ground ginger from Jiva Organics—and whatever else might sound good to your taste buds. Get creative and think about your favorite kinds of meals and it shouldn’t be hard for you to formulate a bunch of unique and original marinades for tofu that you love. If you only have 30 minutes to an hour to allow it to marinate, this could still make a very mean meal! The longer you can allow your tofu to soak up those amazing flavors, the better it will taste once it’s time to eat.
While your tofu is marinating, this is the prime time to prepare the vegetables you plan to use in your stir-fry. When it comes to making a stir-fry, there are generally no vegetables that are off limits! Combine as many different vegetables as you can and your meal will be that much more filling and fulfilling. Once your tofu has had time to infuse those flavors for as long as you can allow, you’ll throw your vegetables into a hot pan that’s been coated with quality oil and you’ll start frying all of those vegetables that you’ve combined. You can feel free to season them with whatever flavors you love most including Jiva Organics’ organic black pepper or a seasoning salt that combines many herbs and spices in one blend. Once those vegetables have just begun to get tender, throw your tofu and leftover marinade juices right into the pan with the vegetables to bring all of the flavors to completion together. Give it a taste and add herbs and spices as you see fit—it’s just that simple!