You guys know how I usually feel about tofu: blech. Not my favorite. You guys also know that I told you that if/when you see a recipe on this blog that has tofu in it, you will KNOW that it is delicious. This is one of those times. Breading the tofu takes this recipe over the top and it is SO easy to make and SO nutritious. The Cucumber Ranch dressing is out of this world. The steamed broccoli adds a bright green pop and crunchy texture to the bowl. Here is why even though I typically don’t enjoy tofu, I continue to look for ways to incorporate it into my diet: it is naturally gluten-free and low calorie, contains no cholesterol, and is a great animal-free source of muscle-building and bone-strengthening protein, iron, and calcium. I’m also against when people definitively say they don’t like a certain food. I’m a firm believer that you can enjoy pretty much any food as long as it’s prepared in a way that is appealing to you. I generally find tofu flavorless and spongy. So, when I’m looking to incorporate it into my diet, I look for recipes that will put that stigma out of my mind– if the tofu is breaded, “crispy,” or doused in a super spicy or savory sauce, I’m all for giving it a whirl. When that’s the case, I usually like it. Now, back to this recipe. I didn’t just like it, I seriously loved it and can’t wait to make it again. A note about the nutritional information: this meal is higher in calories than most meals I make, but look at that protein content! The fat in the recipe is primarily healthy fats from the cashews and olive oil. This is a perfect meal to enjoy on a day when you have a hard workout. It will really replenish your body with loads of essential nutrients.
NOTE: This recipe requires soaking cashews overnight or for at least 2 hours!! DON’T FORGET THIS STEP!
NOTE: This meal can be made gluten free by using gluten fee breadcrumbs and tamari
Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
For the breaded tofu:
7 ounces extra-firm tofu (about ½ of a standard package)
1½ tablespoons tamari or low-sodium soy sauce (make sure you use tamari for GF)
¼ cup dry breadcrumbs (use gluten free breadcrumbs, if desired)
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ tablespoon garlic powder
½ tablespoon olive oil
For the cucumber ranch dressing:
¼ cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
¼ cup vegetable broth
1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/8 cup chopped white onion
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
pinch of salt
1 cup dry brown rice, cooked
2 cups steamed broccoli
Cut the block of tofu in half and set between two kitchen towels. Place something heavy on top (like a cast iron skillet) and allow to sit for 5 minutes while you prepare the dressing.
To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Set aside.
Continue preparing the tofu by cutting the pressed tofu into ½-inch cubes. Pour the tamari into a shallow bowl and combine the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, thyme, and garlic powder into another.
Dip the tofu into the tamari, then dredge into the breadcrumbs, tossing gently to coat. Continue until all pieces of tofu are breaded.
Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the oil to the pan. Cook the tofu cubes for a few minutes on one side, then carefully flip the cubes and cook a few more minutes, until golden brown. Try not to flip them more than once as the breadcrumbs may start to fall off.
To serve, put a cup of rice, a cup of broccoli, and half of the cooked tofu in a bowl or on a plate. Top with half of the cucumber ranch dressing.
Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories: 741 Fat: 22g Carbs: 110g Protein: 34g Sodium: 997mg Sugar: 6g
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.
Slightly Adapted From: Isa Does It Cookbook