Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad Dressing

This one is flavor-filled, slightly tangy, and has a beautiful color!

Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad DressingTurmeric and black pepper

With this dressing I bring back one of my favorite spices, turmeric, paired with black pepper to maximize the anti-inflammatory benefits of this deliciously pungent spice (see links below for more info on the nutritional value of turmeric and black pepper.).  Turmeric is also responsible for the orangey color!  Warning: If you’re a nail model, be careful using this spice without wearing gloves.  It could be a career-ender!  Also, be careful not to stain your countertop, your hands, and whatever else matters.  I guess it would be fine to let it touch carrots, huh?

Another tofu dressing

As the story goes, if you’ve read my other posts about salad dressings, I am on the Eat To Live nutritional program, and I am especially interested in the anti-inflammatory benefits of the plan due to my psoriasis and the psoriatic arthritis that had started to show its monstrous head a year or so after getting off-plan two years ago!  No doubt the plan helped me with this condition, and I should have known better than to leave it in the first place, especially since the food is all homemade and tastes so good.

Dr. Fuhrman’s mantra (Eat To Live) is “the salad is the main course!”  And, truthfully, without great salad dressings, many people are apt to give up on receiving the great health benefits available to them through Eat To Live, because the plan does not allow added oils or salts to the diet.  Further, ETL’ers have to search for salad dressings that do not have sodium or oils.  It’s so much easier, and far tastier, to make them at home.

Silken tofu is the perfect medium for creating creamy dressings similar in appearance and flavor to the ones I used to eat when I didn’t have a care in the world about my health.  In a blender, the tofu combines easily with other ingredients, and it can be kept for at least a week in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar, without losing any of its flavor.  (See my other tofu salad dressing recipes here.)

Other food uses

Like all of my homemade dressings, this one works great as a vegetable topping.  When I made this dressing, I was also roasting some plain slices of eggplant for use in another recipe, so when the eggplant was done, I nabbed a couple of slices off the roasting rack and put them in a saucer, covering them with the new dressing!  Finger-lickin’ good!

Of course, it’s great on a lettuce and tomato salad, just to stay with the salad dressing theme, right?

tomato3

Rich Tomato and Tofu Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

28 oz can of “no salt added” crushed tomatoes with basil
1 pkg silken tofu
1 level tbsp of turmeric powder (a little less would be fine, if you’re not sure you’ll enjoy it.  Turmeric is about as subtle as this guy!)
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 of roasted sweet bell pepper, sliced (I use yellow or orange ones to keep the color them going…and I like them better!)
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 medium lemon
1/2 cup of your favorite vinegar (I used raw coconut vinegar I bought at Sprouts.)

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until the dressing is creamy in appearance, like this:

tomato2

The dressing recipe takes about 15 minutes to put together, once you have roasted the sweet bell pepper, and that can be done anytime you are roasting anything, just to have it handy for later.  It makes about 32 oz, if I can keep from tasting it a dozen times while I’m making it.

There you have it!  A perfect, rich dressing for a “no salt added” and “no oil added” diet!

Further reading:

Dr. Weil’s take on turmeric
Why Pepper Boosts Turmeric Blood Levels, Dr. Michael Greger
Turmeric and Black Pepper Fight Cancer Stem Cells, Anticancer: A New Way of Life

Advertisements

Roasted Tofu and Fresh Veggies

I’m working on my cooking methods for tofu, as I’ve only lately come around to using it regularly, and it was especially appealing to read about roasting it.  This would have seemed impossible until I learned about pressing it out.

Being a weekend when nothing else was planned, experimentation with cooking methods sounded like a pleasurable thing to do.

I read a couple of tips about the amount of heat to use and the length of time in which it should be roasted.  It sounded comparable to the vegetables I normally use, with the exception of carrots.  I like carrots to be slightly firm anyway, so I decided to roast them at the same time and heat as everything else.  Easy!

So, I set the oven at 350 degrees and decided to roast everything for one hour.  One website suggested 410 degrees for 35 or 40 minutes, but that seemed a little too hot to me.

I also read several recipes that asked for an overnight marinade of the tofu, so I chose to marinade mine in the Orange Champagne Vinegar from Trader Joe’s.

After pressing the extra firm tofu to remove much of the water, I cut the block down the middle, edge-wise, by turning the block on one side, using a very sharp knife, creating two pieces with half the original thickness.  Then, I placed the two blocks in a flat dish, and poured a half-cup of the vinegar over each piece.  I sprinkled the top with a small amount of black pepper and Mrs. Dash seasoning.  I topped it with a few leaves of fresh rosemary, covered it, and placed it in the refrigerator.

The next day, I added the raw sunflower seeds shown in the pictures, placed one of the tofu “steaks” on the roasting rack, along with the fresh vegetables (carrots, zucchini, sweet corn), and left it in the oven for the full hour without a worry.

roastbefore

The prep

After roasting

After roasting

Afterwards, I plated one dinner for my wife — the one with the beef patty, and another one for myself — the one with the tofu.  It was delicious!

My wife's plate

My wife’s plate

roasttofu

My plate with the tofu

I was surprised how the tofu stayed so firm, and yet, how easily it was lifted off the roasting rack afterwards, with no mess.  I used no oils.  Cleanup was a no-brainer, and because I was able to roast the entire dinner in one dish, my time in the kitchen was a breeze.  (The beef patty had been prepared earlier and was a leftover from my wife’s dinner the night before.)

Tofu press

tofupresserI’ve been using tofu in my diet for several years, but especially the last few weeks in which I have enjoyed it in my salad dressing mixes.  But, I’m ready to branch out and try some new recipes that require pressed tofu, a process that eliminates much of the water, making it more versatile for a variety of cooking methods.

I’ve eaten baked tofu, a stir-fry type with peanut sauce, and tofu squares with all kinds of flavorful toppings, but I’ve never prepared it this way for myself.

Not knowing the first thing about pressing tofu, I did a little research and found this one that suits my fancy.  It is supposed to arrive tomorrow and I’m looking up recipes that will help me take advantage of pressed tofu.  I’ll start simple, of course, probably baking it with something very spicy from my usual repertoire.

Once I get the hang of it, there is no shortage of healthy recipes that I can try at home.  New cooking methods take time to learn.


Next weekend, I’ll travel down to Arlington, about 15 miles away, and visit Viet Tofu to get some that is freshly made that very day.  It’s the best tasting plain tofu I’ve had.
viettof

Tangy Tofu Raspberry Apricot Dressing

I just finished last week’s batch of Sweet Tofu Salad Dressing and decided to jazz it up a little bit with some tangy berries and more vinegar.  This is sweet, but it has a little more “pucker” in it.

tangytofuTANGY TOFU RASPBERRY APRICOT DRESSING

Ingredients:

1 16 oz package of silken organic tofu
1 cup fresh organic raspberries
3 fresh apricots, sliced
1/2 cup fruit vinegar, (I used this dates vinegar from Durra.)
1/2 cup ground sunflower seeds

Instructions:

Combine all ingredients into a blender and puree. Keep refrigerated.  Makes about 28 oz.

Sweet Tofu Salad Dressing

The salad dressings in the Eat To Live program are important for a couple of big reasons.

One of the adages of Eat To Live is “Salad Is the Main Course!”  If the dressings are not bursting with flavors that satisfy the senses, then the salad — the main course! — can be rather dull and discouraging for newcomers.  The “no oils/no salt added” basic rule can feel very confining to a newcomer, so in my view, the more flavorful the dressings are, the more success a person is likely to have on Eat To Live.

Also, the dressings are an excellent way to create your own “favorite” with experimentation and combining flavors that appeal to you most!  The creative process is what makes this exciting for me, along with the actual personal contact I have with every element that goes into it.

This dressing is one I created this evening, and it is wonderfully light and pleasant to the taste buds.  See what you think about it.

Sweet Tofu Salad DressingSweet Tofu Salad Dressing

1 pkg (approx 16 oz) of silken tofu
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup fruit vinegar (I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar this time.)
1 cup fresh blueberries
4 medium shallots
4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup Italian parsley
1 tbsp red pepper sauce (I used Louisiana Hot Sauce, though it has a tiny bit of salt in it.)
2 tsp black pepper

Chop, dice, or slice all ingredients and combine them in a blender.  Blend on puree setting, if you have it.  If not, blend until the dressing has the thickness you like.
Makes about 40 oz.