Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Baked Tofu with Asian Flavored Veggies

Is it really the end of October? We woke up this morning and it was 72 degrees and that was after a heavy rain complete with tornado warnings overnight. We have the strangest weather in this part of the country. There is nothing like a dark rainy morning to make me want to stay in bed.

Since it was a busy morning here there were green smoothies for breakfast. These contained: frozen banana, kale, powdered ginger, cinnamon, ground flaxseed, avocado and a little stevia. We both like to have smoothies on busy mornings since you can pour them into a mason jar and carry them out the door with you.

A few of you have asked me what is up with the dehydrated leeks. This is something I added to our diet after reading a study which I talked about here. The scientists tested a number of raw foods on various types of cancer in the lab. Raw leeks were effective against most forms of cancer in a Petri dish. I would have preferred to see human studies but since that will probably be a while and raw leeks can’t hurt us I looked for ways to add them to our diet. Since no one actually enjoys eating raw leeks I decided to try dehydrating them. It is amazing how dehydrating tames the flavor and makes the leeks very crispy. Now I add them to garnish our soups and salads and anywhere else I think the crunchy texture will work. It has resulted in use eating a lot more leeks than we did in the past which has to be good.

Lunch today was soup and salad. Dan and I were able to have lunch together at home and we started with a salad we split that consisted of: 1 head of shredded romaine, ½ cucumber thinly sliced, 1 large carrot thinly sliced, ½ avocado sliced, ½ cup salsa, 1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds and 1 tablespoon plain dehydrated leeks.

The soup was a bowl of the Mexican spiced mushroom and barley soup I made yesterday. Like all soup it was better today than yesterday. I packed the end of the soup in a container for Dan to have at work anticipating he would still be at work when he got hungry again. Since that is the end of the soup it means I need to cook again today so that we have planned leftovers on hand. As I am writing this I have no idea what I want to cook but I am sure something will pop into my head sometime this afternoon.

My afternoon snack was a banana and two Brazil nuts. The Brazil nuts are included for selenium. Two Brazil nuts contain 200mcg of selenium on average. I say on average because it is a function of the growing conditions. According to science there are levels you shouldn’t want to be below or above so don’t go wild with the Brazil nuts. For more on selenium go to this post.

With the grey rainy weather I felt the need to curl up on the couch with a book and a mug of green tea or hot water with lemon. It was a quiet afternoon at our place.

Since we needed intentional leftovers I decided to make an Asian inspired dish with the fresh shitakes and broccoli rabe in my refrigerator which was my inspiration. Here is what I did:

Baked Tofu and Veggies Asian Style
serves 4


14 ounces of baked tofu (homemade** or store bought)
1 pound bunch of broccoli rabe, or any veggie you prefer (bok choy would be wonderful)
1 pound of fresh mushrooms (I used shitake caps which I sliced)
2 red bell peppers, cut into strips
2 carrots, julienned
½ red onion, thinly sliced (top to bottom)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced
2 tablespoons fermented black beans
2 – 3 tablespoons water to loosen the black beans
sriracha, to taste (or substitute crushed red pepper flakes or whole dried chilis)
1 cup of brown basmati rice or 1 cup quinoa
2 cups of water


Prep all your veggies and tofu before anything else and get the rice started.

Mix the garlic, ginger, fermented black beans and enough water to thin the black beans. Heat a heavy pan or a wok over high heat. Add the black bean sauce and the sliced onions, broccoli rabe and carrots. You are adding the onion and broccoli rabe first because they will take the longer to cook. When the onion is just beginning to soften add the remaining veggies. Toss in the tofu at the end so that I heats through. Add sriracha or you choice of heat to taste. If desired you can use a teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken the “sauce”.

** If you want to make your own baked tofu it is very easy. I press it release the excess water and cut it into small cubes. Create a flavoring sauce with anything you desire. Tonight I used a little liquid aminos (maybe 2 teaspoons), a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce, and a few tablespoons of mushroom stock. I placed the tofu cubes in this mixture to soak up the flavor while the oven was preheating to 350 degrees convection (increase by 25 degrees if not using convection). When the oven has reached the temperature place the tofu cubes on a silpat or parchment lined sheet pan and bake until you like the texture. Dan prefers his tofu on the firm side so I baked ours for 40 minutes.

Nutritional Information with the brown rice: (assumes you used homemade baked tofu as described above)

Amount Per Serving
Calories 394.62
Calories From Fat (22%) - 85.42

Total Fat - 18.27g
Saturated Fat - 0.94g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 337.2mg
Potassium - 993.7mg
Total Carbohydrates - 60.62g
Fiber - 11.1g
Sugar - 10.3g
Protein - 21.16g

Nutritional Information with the quinoa: (assumes you used homemade baked tofu as described above)

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 379.81
Calories From Fat (26%) - 97.33

Total Fat - 19.49g
Saturated Fat - 0.97g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 336.09mg
Potassium - 1129.78mg
Total Carbohydrates - 52.15g
Fiber - 12.46g
Sugar - 9.9g
Protein - 23.48g


Sometimes you just need Asian food at least that happens at our house. I love Asian food which is tough since we are trying to keep our sodium intake as low as possible. Tonight I decided to run with scissors and make Asian anyway. I was happy with how low the sodium turned out to be. I guess this just proves it can be done if you are careful with how much of the salt filled ingredients you use.

This dish is very filling because the servings are quite big. I enjoyed this but if you want to add richness you could include cashews, pine nuts or sesame seeds to this dish. Fresh cilantro and/or green onions would also be good in finish this dish.

I posted the stats with both the rice and the quinoa since I wasn’t sure which way to go tonight. In the end I used quinoa which you can see adds a touch more protein, fiber and fat and less carbs. Since I was interested in the nutritional difference I thought some of you would be as well.

Projects in the works:

Yesterday when I walked to the Rotunda I was looking for poster board. Laura Jill recommended making a vision board and I decided that would be a great idea given my current mood. I haven’t made one in quite a while but they help me refocus on positive ideas which would be great anytime. Since I have been purging with this in mind I have been cutting out pictures of things that inspired me.

I suspect it will take me a while to get the boards finished but I will share them when I am through. At the moment I know I am doing more than one so I can focus on health, happiness and of course food.

Being a recovering accountant I tend to be very much a thinker and planner rather than a feeler. It is good for me to connect to the other side of myself. If any of you make these regularly and have tips I would love to hear them. The process of making vision boards always takes me out of my comfort zone but I enjoy it in the end.

Signing out:

That is going to be it for me tonight. I had a long day and need to take some time to relax and recuperate. I hope everyone had a good Wednesday. Talk to you again tomorrow.


  1. Your breakfast needs a seatbelt ;-) Can't wait to see a pic of the vision board or at least hear your thoughts on it. I've never done one before.

  2. Oooooh, I'm so excited you're doing a vision board, Ali! My most recent one is actually digital, but I realized that there's definitely a lot more room for creativity and well, openness, to doing one by hand.

    And here's a kind of silly comment: I really like your forks with the discs on the end. Where did you get them?!


  3. Heather,

    LOL, the funny thing is that I thought about a seatbelt too. ;-)

    Thanks for letting me know you are interested in the vision board process. I will try to document the how and why since I think that is the most important part.


  4. LJ,

    I am so excited about a digital version. I have a few questions so I will send you an email. How fun, thanks for sharing the idea.

    The appetizer forks came from Crate and Barrel. They come in a six pack with three different colors (orange, blue and green). The disks on the end are silicon and are removable.


  5. I've never done a vision board, but I think it might be a good idea. 2011 may hold a lot of changes for me, so putting it all on posterboard sounds like a fun idea. I'll probably do it towards the end of this year.

  6. Brigid,

    I enjoy making vision boards because they prod me to get in touch with how I feel about something rather than what I think about it. Feeling is something I don't do as much as I should. Since you are looking for/expecting change in 2011 it sounds like the perfect time to get started on the board. I find they take a while to put together.


  7. LOL...I can't help but laugh at you green smoothie in the seat all by itself. :o)
    Your soup looks delish! I haven't made any type of Barley soup yet, and this sounds like one I need to try!
    I've never made a vision board, but sounds like a very good idea! My husband and I may need to do one of those. Thanks for putting that thought in my head! :o)

  8. Michelle,

    While mason jars are great for holding a big smoothie they won't fit in the cup holder. I didn't really have anywhere else to put it other than the seat or the floor. ;-)

    Dan really enjoyed the barley soup. Mexican seasonings are not typical but they worked great in the soup.

    Vision boards are good to focus on things you want to change. I find it useful to look at them often to keep my subconscious going in the right direction and to remind me of my goals.

    hope you are having a good Thursday,


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