As a parent, you want your teenagers to eat healthier than their normal wants of chicken nuggets, fast food burgers, pizza, bags of chips, and endless supplies of soda pop and candy. It’s not easy. Just as having teenagers is not easy, trying to convince them to eat anything healthy can be a chore. Broccoli? I’ll pass! Vegetable Soup? Nope! Meatless tacos? Never! Stubborn junk food eating machines they are. In addition to dyes, chemicals, and ingredients you can’t even pronounce in fake foods, meat and dairy are also taking a huge hit due to the countless studies on what their products are doing to our bodies. In study after scientific study, meat and dairy are shown to be huge inflammation and cancer causing agents.
So what can we do? How can we change it up enough to make the kids interested without sighing………..EEEWWW?
As parents, sometimes I think we try too hard. Other times, something pops up that is not only healthier, but surprisingly satisfies everyone.
For while, I had been reading the health benefits of tofu. I was afraid to try it and finally pulled myself together to purchase a block of tofu three years after becoming a vegan. I made up a simple recipe and the entire family loved it even though my three sons aren’t vegan. I now have to chase them out of the kitchen when I am preparing this dish as they won’t stop trying to steal the cooked pieces of tofu. It’s simple, much healthier than their usual food choices, and super tasty. Easy is an understatement. It isn’t the perfect healthy dish, but it’s tasty and much better than processed meat and dairy foods.
I asked my 13 year old what we should call this delicious recipe and he said, “Fried Tofu”. In other words, these teenagers could care less what it’s called, just as long as it tastes good.
1 12 oz. Package of Extra Firm Tofu
¼ C Soy Sauce
½ C Flour
1 C oil
¾ C Soy Sauce
1 C Water
½ t Ginger Powder
½ t Garlic Powder
¼ C Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Water
2 T Cornstarch
One of the most important elements of cooking with tofu is pressing the water out. I open and drain the package and place on a paper towel lined plate. Place more paper towels on top of the tofu. Press down with another plate and some canned vegetables for weight. When the paper towels are drenched, repeat the process a few times. You can also use a regular, lint free towel and repeat. You definitely need it as dry as possible.
Chop into bite sized pieces. Add the ¼ cup of soy sauce and mix to marinate. Add ½ cup of flour and toss with the tofu. Let sit for a few minutes while heating up the oil on medium and making the teriyaki sauce. No need to season since the teriyaki will be taking center stage. If you don’t have the time to make the Teriyaki sauce, you can buy it just about anywhere, so no stress.
If you are making it per the recipe above, add all ingredients together minus the ¼ C water and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium until boiling. Mix ¼ C water and cornstarch together to form a paste. Stir into mixture. Continue stirring and reduce heat to simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
When the oil is ready, add the tofu a couple of pieces at a time, turning over after a few minutes until browned. Remove from oil onto dry paper towels to drain. Add to rice, sauce, and vegetables. Prepackaged rice, any sort of vegetables fresh, canned or frozen, and even pineapple will be well received, trust me. Your kids will eat this up. Tofu is high in protein, a good source of iron, and so much better for everyone than the “fake food” they would love to consume on a daily basis.
This is a perfect lesson in trying something new. I have introduced other foods and recipes and some have turned out disgusting. Some are loved. Some are liked. Some are never talked about again. As we found out, tofu is pretty fucking cool.
This is only one of the many tofu recipes we use on a regular basis for all of the family.