Baked Tofu With Cilantro Pesto

Spinach Salad with Beets and Baked TofuDo you have Meatless Monday (or any day of the week) at your house? We’ve been trying a few new meatless dishes at the Quest Household. Mainly to change things up for variety and not necessarily for heath or wallet reasons. Those are just side benefits to dropping meat from a few meals a week. Since I eat a good amount of protein, I’ve been trying out tofu, tempeh, and seitan as the meatless substitutes instead of just substituting in starches.

A few weeks ago, The Kid and I made a trek to Whole Foods and while we were there we decided to try out their salad bar. I loaded up on salad fixins and gave their baked tofu with cilantro pesto a try. Every time I’ve tried tofu before, it’s been just heated as is and not baked. Ie, cubed in a soup. Their tofu was in chunks that were chewy and quite tasty. I was very impressed at the texture of the baked version.

I set about creating my own baked tofu at home. The great thing about tofu is that it takes on the flavor of whatever you put on it. You can try it on salads tossed with dressing, baste it with barbecue sauce, drop them in marinara sauce on pasta, or spice them up with pico di gallo in tortillas. You can make your chunks big or little. The possibilities are endless.

This was the first time I tried baking it on my own and I was surprised at how easy it was to do. I was so excited to give them a try that I burned the heck out of my armpit testing out the recipe. The timer went off, I flung open the oven door and leaned over into a stream of hot steamy air hitting my bare arm. Ah, the hazards of the Quest Test Kitchen. Well worth the injury in the name of recipe experimentation though. 😉

Baked TofuBaked Tofu

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • Non-stick spray

Open the tofu package and drain the water. Place the tofu on a few paper towels on a plate. Cover with another plate and put a few books or something mildly heavy on top to compress the tofu sandwiched between the plates. The idea is to squeeze some of the water out of the block. Let the tofu sit and squeeze for 30 minutes to an hour until most of the water has been pressed out. You’ll need the paper towels to keep the water from going everywhere.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Cut the tofu into 1 inch cubes and spread out on the cookie sheet. Spray lightly with non-stick spray. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until the edges are lightly browned. Toss with F’awesome Pesto, serve on a salad, or enjoy however your heart desires.

I’m like Pavlov and his dogs. The oven bell rings and I rush over salivating. Have you ever gotten so excited to try a new creation that you injured yourself in the process? Do you have meatless days at your house? If you try the tofu, let me know how you used it. I’m always looking for new ideas.

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