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Tofu Primavera (Tastes like Bolognese with Veggies)

Check out the crispy seasoned tofu recipe and Toronto Food Safety Training facts about tofu at the bottom of this post :)

It's the New Year and we have made it to the futuristic sounding double decade of 2020. And once again many of us are making the resolution to live a happier healthy life with nutritious choices in food and a bit more exercise. Since October 8, 2019. I have been on a quest to lose weight by cutting calories, but not nutrition, and I have been power walking at least 3 times a week. I have lost 12 lbs thus far.

With the introduction of the new Canada Food Guide in 2019, more and more people are choosing to eat more and more plant based foods these days. The issue for me and others is to find healthful protein based plant foods that can replace those fatty meat choices. That is if you're not on the KETO diet.

I read that organic tofu is a good choice if you are reducing an all too common fatty liver. Shopping at the local Costco, I found bulk organic tofu at a great price of $6.99. I web surfed for tofu recipes, experimented, and came up with a recipe that tastes just like ground meat or chicken. So I adapted the tofu bolognese found here If prepared right this mushed up tofu tastes just like the real thing, if not with more flavour. For those of you that are sceptic of eating tofu because of the study that show lady hormone issues, my opinion is that it's fine once in a while. It is more healthful than not eating it. And those pea proteins in the "beyond meat" alternatives are void of nutrition and overdo the salt. There's not a whole lot of studies that say avoid tofu.

This recipe is absolutely delish! And, you can cook up a batch of the ground well seasoned tofu to freeze for adding to other sauces or marinades. It thaws in seconds when added to a hot mixture. Why not give it a whirl and serve it once or twice a week?

Tofu Ground Chicken - No Chickens were Harmed in This Recipe :)

4 Servings

1 tablespoon avocado or olive oil

1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (I used Woodland Natural Hickory, a little goes a long way. Love the scent.)

1 block (350g) extra-firm tofu, drained (no need to press it)

Primavera Vegetables

1 medium onion, diced

2 large garlic cloves, sliced or minced

4 cups (approximately) Vegetables of your choice (we have used broccoli, kale, mushrooms, cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots – choose 3 or 4)

3 cups tomato sauce (700ml jar, we use Simply Organic, or homemade)

1 pound spaghetti or pasta of choice (gluten-free if preferred)

1/4 shredded cheese of your choice or Parmesan, optional

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C). 

  2. Line with parchment paper or lightly grease a large baking sheet.

  3. Mix the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. It will make a brown paste-like texture.

  4. Crumble the block of tofu with your fingers into the bowl along with the seasoning. 

  5. Mix the tofu crumbles with the seasoning making sure all of the tofu is evenly coated.

  6. Spread the tofu crumbles evenly over the pan.

  7. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stopping to stir the tofu every now and then. You want the tofu to be nice and browned.

  8. You can freeze this mixture for future use.

For the Primavera:

  1. In a cast iron or other skillet, fry the onions in 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil.

  2. Add the vegetables and 1/3 cup water and cover for about 3 minutes.

  3. Add the tomato sauce and heat for another 5 minutes

  4. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. 

  5. Stir the prepared tofu into the vegetable sauce, and heat through.

  6. If you find the sauce is too thick, stir in a bit of water until desired consistency is reached.

  7. Serve over hot pasta (we used GoGo gluten free macaroni) with a sprinkle of Parmesan (vegan or otherwise).

Toronto Food Safety Training Food Facts

Any food mixture that has more than one ingredient, can be considered potentially hazardous. Mixtures must be cooked to an internal cooking temperature of 74 degrees C | 165 degrees F.

Issues with Tofu

Although uncommon, there are a few ways in which tofu may cause foodborne illness.

  • You purchase the tofu already contaminated:

  • Unclean equipment at the food processing facility.

  • By the food handler: unwashed hands, sneezing or coughing on foods

  • Contact with pathogens from another food -- such as raw chicken.

  • Exposure to pathogens if stored in contaminated water.

  • Purchasing tofu sold in bulk (stored in a large bin of water): unwashed hands or unclean water

Tofu Storage

Store tofu according to package directions. Some forms of tofu can be kept at room temperature until opened, then need to be refrigerated. Many forms of tofu are individually water-packed and refrigerated.

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