I realize that I probably lost several readers at the title. For those of you who stuck with me, thank you. Tofu, or soybean curd, is not as bad as some people think. It's not bad at all. It's actually pretty terrific.
It's not something that most people would want to eat on it's own. Like, I would not just put a chunk of plain tofu onto a plate and eat just that for a meal or a snack. For Claud and Jack, I have to actually hide the tofu into different dishes. This isn't that difficult because tofu is so versatile and soaks in other flavors very easily. Whatever seasonings or sauces you choose to use with tofu will easily transform the flavor of the tofu.
Tofu can be a substitute for eggs in a tofu scramble and it can replace cheese in lasagnas. I use it instead of chicken in love stew or fried rice. Claud makes me make him a chicken version in addition because he isn't ready to make the tofu leap with every dish. That's fine. I really don't mind making two dishes.
Tofu enchiladas served with guacamole and Spanish rice
You may be wondering why anyone would replace meat or cheese with tofu in the first place. Well, tofu is rich in high quality protein. It is an excellent source of Vitamin B and iron. A four-ounce serving contains six grams of fat. Tofu is low in sodium. It is low in saturated fat and has absolutely no cholesterol. For me, the lack of cholesterol makes it worth the switch. No cheeses or meats can beat tofu's claim to be cholesterol free. Besides, I have grown to love it and I prefer it over chicken.
It wasn't love at first sight. My first experience with tofu was when I ate it in miso soup at a sushi restaurant. I didn't even know what that was in there but it seemed to be flavorless and harmless so I ate the tiny squares. Then, many years ago, when Daphne became a vegetarian, I decided to get to know tofu more because I was worried about her protein intake. So, I started making several dishes for her with tofu. Now, I have been cooking with tofu for quite a few years and think it tastes fantastic. However, I like to put a bit of effort into it. I don't eat it plain. Sometimes, I cut it into small squares, bake it in the oven with a bit of teriyaki sauce some sesame seeds. I eat these as a snack or toss them on a salad or a bed of brown rice. I do actually make them like scrambled eggs. I saut some celery, mushrooms and onions and scramble them into the tofu. It's pretty tasty. If you have high cholesterol or heart problems of any kind, this is a good way to get your "egg" fix.
In fact, my neighbor, Barry, had a heart attack last week. It was incredibly scary for him, his family and all of us neighbors who watched him being wheeled into the ambulance. Everyone loves Barry and nobody wants anything bad to happen to him. He has become an excellent friend to my family and me. Oddly enough, I had been teaching his wife, Sunny, for the past twenty-five days how to cook a delicious vegan and almost completely oil free meal plan for her family. She is a yoga instructor so diet and exercise are really important to her. When his doctor came into his hospital room telling Barry to read books by Dr. Esselstyn and to switch to a vegan diet, his wife was already prepped with the knowledge. Sometimes things work out in strange ways. I was so happy that I had been helping her to learn something that may help Barry reverse his heart problems. That is exactly what his doctor told him, "Changing your diet can reverse your now inoperable heart condition." Incredible!
Time: 45 minutes
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
12 corn tortillas
1 12 ounce package of tofu, extra firm
1 8-ounce jar roasted red peppers
2 cups Daiya cheddar style shreds
1 package Mexican chipotle vegan sausage
1 can red enchilada sauce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the oil in a large pan. Heat the tortillas in the oil for a few minutes each side. Don't let them get crisp. Place them on a paper towel to blot off the oil. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine the tofu, sausage, one cup of the "cheese" and peppers. Mash this all together with a potato masher or a fork. Pour this mixture into a pan and heat it up for about five minutes. Place a small amount of the mixture into each tortilla and roll up. Place these rolled up and filled tortillas into a baking pan. Pour the enchilada sauce on top. Sprinkle on the other cup of "cheese." Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve with Spanish rice and guacamole.
I made this meal for Sunny last week and it was a big hit with her family and mine. Although these enchiladas are "cheesy", flavorful and delicious, they are completely vegan. I did use a bit of oil to cook the corn tortillas. I guess I could have tried to soften them up with water. I am not sure if that would work. I like to cook them in a little oil to get them soft and easy to roll up before I fill them and place them into the oven. If you are against the vegan idea, you can easily substitute any meat and your choice of cheeses to make these enchiladas. I suggest you give this version a try because I think they are just as delicious as any other enchiladas could ever be. I served them with some homemade Spanish rice and some fresh guacamole. Of course, these enchiladas were accompanied by a nice glass of heart healthy cabernet.