I am a strong supporter of healthy food challenges with alliteration-style names, so obviously, I am a big fan of Meatless Monday. In fact, Meatless Monday had started a bit of a craze for me. If I could, I would try to pair each day of the week with a different Eating Green challenge. Most weeks I forget what I deem a certain day, but I always try to eat locally produced, organic, non-processed, sustainable foods. And regardless of if I forget Washington Wednesdays, or Sustainable Seafood Sundays, I always remember Meatless Mondays. Perhaps because there is a national campaign attached to the day, and it is recognized in schools, organizations, and in several different countries. I would consider Meatless Mondays to be a natural part of our routine, now. We’ve been practicing it for almost 2 years. Today, I used Meatless Monday to test out a different challenge I’ve been thinking about: Animal-Friendly Friday. Animal-Friendly Friday would be a vegan day rather than just a meatless day. Yes, I am 100% omnivore. I don’t think vegan diet is the ONLY answer to environmental and health-related issues. I think meat and animal products CAN be healthy in certain situations. But I also recognize that the dairy industry, and most of the chicken and egg industry are not sustainable, ethical, or healthy for us or the animals. So, this week, Meatless Monday went vegan. Just to try it out.
I think the most difficult meal for us to go vegan is breakfast. Oh, we would have no problem giving up any bacon, sausage, or even milk. Soy milk, coconut milk, and almond milk are great alternatives. Our problem is the incredible edible egg. There’s a very good reason it’s difficult for me and Chris to give up our eggs. We get our eggs farm fresh from either a farmers’ market or just about anyone on Whidbey Island that has chickens. The hens laying our eggs have a better life than most pets! They are spoiled, cared-for, pampered, and more than just having a decent life, they thrive. So, giving up our main staple for breakfast, even for a day, is a bit difficult, especially when trying to create a balanced meal with carbs AND protein. Vegan protein isn’t impossible, but it is difficult.
For this breakfast test, I tried something a little different. I made a Tofu Scramble, but it didn’t go off without a hitch. I sauteed the tofu in a skillet, and added homemade hashbrowns and caramelized onions. I tried seasoning it with a balsamic vinegar and some Italian spices, but over-did it a little.
Later on, I was thinking how I could make a better tofu breakfast, and I thought of trying a casserole like I make with eggs, or sauteing the tofu with sweet flavors, rather than savory flavors. Perhaps cutting up an apple, adding syrup or sugar/agave nectar, and sweet spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, or a splash of vanilla. The possibilities are endless, and I might need to try another Vegan day very soon in the future to test out my sweet tofu scramble, or tofu breakfast casserole.
Dinner, though, was an astounding success! I made Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Sweet and Sour marinade. My marinade is pretty basic, and I use it for just about any Asian-style recipe: Ahi Tuna, Bok Choy, Tofu Eggrolls…
Sweet and Sour Marinade
- 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 C soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2-3 T agave nectar or cane sugar
- 1/8 tsp chili paste
I’ve also historically added other ingredients from one time to another. Orange juice, pineapple juice, or even mango juice are all good choices to add to the marinade to make it a bit sweeter, adding corn starch works great to make the marinade more syrupy, and subtracting some of the apple cider vinegar and adding some rice vinegar works well as well. This sauce is easy to play with.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, stir well. Place over pressed tofu to marinade, or add when sauteing vegetables.
The Lettuce Wraps were a hit tonight. I have really come to love replacing our bread with lettuce for most foods. But this dish is historically served with lettuce wraps anyway.
- One package extra firm tofu
- One package broccoli slaw, or 1 C each chopped carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and onion
- Sweet and Sour marinade
- Lettuce leaves
- Preheat skillet at medium heat and brush with sesame oil
- Drain tofu, and cut block into small bite size pieces. Place in skillet.
- Once tofu has partly browned, about 5-8 minutes, add marinade. Let simmer for 5 more minutes, then add the veggies
- Stir fry tofu and veggies for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure marinade is soaked through all ingredients.
- Stuff lettuce leaves with tofu mixture, fold over and enjoy. Add soy sauce for added flavor.
Nutritional Information (generally speaking), per serving
Calories: 234 calories
Fat: 6 g
Carbohydrates: 28 g
Protein: 15 g
How do you celebrate Meatless Monday? Do you have a favorite tofu recipe to share?