Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recipe: Broiled Tofu Tacos and Beans and Rice

Yesterday morning after my workout, I ran to the grocery store to get a few necessities (Mother Hubbard's cupboards were bare), and when I walked in there was a shopping cart full of hard taco shells on Manager's Special for 69 cents!

Not one to pass up a deal, I grabbed a couple boxes and planned a quickie dinner on the spot. I also grabbed some extra-firm tofu, an avocado, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a red onion and some cilantro. With that, dinner was born! 
Oh. my. goodness. This dinner was lick-your-plate-clean great. And that massive quantity of food (beer included) was less than 800 calories. Which is a perfectly acceptable amount of calories if you've had your morning workout!

I started out with my basic Broiled Tofu recipe (calling it mine is a matter of convenience -- I've adapted it from a few sources) . Take a block of extra firm tofu and press it. I do this by lining two cutting boards with paper towels, putting the tofu in the middle (like a sandwich), and putting 3-4 heavy books on top of it. I leave it like that for at least 30 minutes. After it is pressed, cut the tofu into 1 inch squares. 

For the marinade, I use a simple marinade that I adapted from one that Sarah (aka Mama Pea of Peas and Thank You) put on her site a while back. The precise amounts aren't really important: 

about 1/4 c. vegan Worcestershire sauce
about 1 tsp. chopped garlic
about 1/4 c. water
a squirt of agave nectar (really just to taste. You could use stevia or maple syrup too)
cumin, to taste

Mix the marinade ingredients together in a container that tightly closes (I like the kind that have the snapping locks around the lid) and put the tofu in with it. Give it a good shake, and put it in the fridge to marinate for as long as you can. I usually will prepare my marinade when I'm home on my lunch break and let it sit until dinner time. If you can, give the container a good shake every now and then to really get the marinade to soak into the tofu. 

When you're ready to broil the tofu, spread it out on a pan and put it under a hot broiler. It doesn't take long to be done, so keep an eye on it. I'd say about 5-6 minutes on the first side and 3-4 on the second side. Burnt tofu is no fun, so watch it carefully. 

If you don't like tofu, I urge you to try it this way at least once. It's SO good. It's tough on the outside, chewy on the inside and just delicious. If you wanted to use it in different recipes (perhaps a stir-fry?) you could adjust the marinade to be more asian -- soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce and ginger instead of cumin -- and there you go. Since I was doing "Taco Night", however, I threw the corn taco shells under the broiler for a minute, put a few pieces of tofu into the shell, topped it with some pre-made broccoli slaw (I bought a bag at Kroger) and Sriracha hot sauce (my favorite thing ever), and gobbled it down. I even had some leftover tofu to eat on the side, and it's just as good by itself.

 I know, I know. It's not like Beans and Rice is rocket science, but I really think I make the best there is! Here is how I do it: 

1 cup dry brown rice
2 cups water
1 can beans of your choice (I usually use Pinto beans, but anything will work)
7 oz. (half a can) organic crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
chili powder
chipotle pepper (optional)
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 Tbs. olive oil
Chopped cilantro (optional)

Prepare the brown rice as usual (bring rice and water to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes). In the meantime, heat oil and garlic in a small pan on medium high heat. Add the peppers and onions and cook until lightly browned (about 5 minutes or less). Add the tomatoes and beans, and cook until hot. Add your spices. When the rice is done cooking, add the contents of your pan to the rice and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in chopped cilantro. Simple, but SO delicious. 

The last dish you see there is an amazing corn, avocado and tomato salad from -- shockingly -- Paula Deen! I'm not trashing Paula, but I've not really ever known her to not include some sort of dairy or meat in her recipes. This one is absolutely vegan and it is INCREDIBLE. I wanted to devour the whole bowl, as I do with anything that contains avocados. 

So there you have it -- Taco Night, Kristy-style. Confession time: I made Zach chicken for his tacos, and he added sour cream and cheese to his version, but I think that says a lot about me -- I'm flexible :)


  1. I'm really glad you're blogging recipes and such like this. I'm really trying to eat healthier but I have no freakin clue where or how to start. I want to move towards being a vegetarian but most recipes I look at aren't very appealing. But this meal looks amazing! Definitely going to try it as soon as I can.

  2. It was delicious! I ate tofu and liked it.