If you’re looking for a meat substitute, try versatile and plant-based tofu. It’s made from soy, and we have good news about that: Soy contains natural plant compounds called isoflavones, which reduce the risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Because isoflavones can mimic the behavior of the hormone estrogen, a common concern is that the isoflavones in tofu may increase the risk of cancer. However, a review of the studies shows that isoflavones do not increase breast, thyroid or uterine cancer. Additionally, they can help postmenopausal women manage hot flashes, fatigue, and mood swings.
Don’t know about tofu? It’s a bit similar to cheese, which is made from milk. Milk is squeezed out of soybeans and the remaining quark is pressed into cakes like blocks of soft cheese. Unlike cheese, tofu is cholesterol-free, low in saturated fat and high in polyunsaturated fat.
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Tofu comes in a variety of textures: soft, firm, and extra firm. Extra firm tofu contains the least water and is best used in today’s crunchy tofu snack. Still, you need to squeeze out the excess water.
Simply slice the tofu and place the pieces between two kitchen towels or paper towels. Place a heavy skillet on the towels for about 30 minutes. By squeezing out the excess moisture, your tofu bites will be crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.
The tofu bites are delicious on their own and also taste great with your favorite dipping sauce. Also try them as a topper for salads or as a filling for tacos and wraps.
Bethany Thayer is a Registered Dietitian with Henry Ford Health. Visit henryford.com/blog for more recipes and health information. If you have any questions about today’s recipe, email HenryFordLiveWell@hfhs.org.
Buffalo Tofu Bites with Ranch Dip
serves: 4 (about 7 bites per serving) / preparation time: 30 minutes / total time: 1 hour
1 block (approx. 14 ounces) extra firm tofu, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons of peppers
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Vegetable Oil Cooking Spray
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
½ cup fat-free sour cream
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
To prepare the tofu, cut the block into 2 or 3 slices about ¾ to 1 inch thick. Squeeze out additional water with a tofu press or place the sheets side by side on paper towels on a flat surface. Cover with another layer of kitchen paper and place a heavy skillet on top.
Leave to rest for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove paper towels and cut tofu into ¾-inch cubes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, mix tofu with olive oil, garlic powder, chilli powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika powder, black pepper and cayenne pepper; Swirl gently to coat.
Spray a baking sheet evenly with vegetable oil cooking spray. Place tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the dip. Put all ingredients in a bowl and stir.
Remove baking sheet from oven, flip each bite of tofu and bake for another 15 minutes. Serve with dip and carrots and celery if desired.
By Henry Ford LiveWell.
209 calories (45% from fat), 11 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat), 14 grams carbohydrates16 grams protein135mg sodium4mg cholesterol288mg Calcium, 2 grams Fiber. Food exchange: 1 Protein, 1 vegetables1 milk2 fat.