Meatless Monday: Tofu Tikka Masala

Meatless Monday: Tofu Tikka Masala

This recipe contains two key components of a vegetarian diet that boast thoroughly researched health benefits: tofu and turmeric.

Modern science has shown that those who follow a vegetarian diet have a lower risk of developing a variety of chronic illnesses, including certain types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

This trend is likely the result of several factors, the first being this: by cutting out meat, vegetarians are also cutting their intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.

Further, many components of a vegetarian diet have been shown to provide added health benefits. The following recipe, for example, contains two key components of a vegetarian diet that boast thoroughly researched health benefits: tofu and turmeric.

Tofu is rich in protein, as well as iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. Tofu is also good for heart health, helping to regulate blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and improve vascular function. Turmeric, on the other hand, contains an active compound called curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit and halt the expression of genes that allow cancer cells to multiply.

The following recipe shows us that meatless meals are anything but bland. It’s from a completely meatless article called “Versatile Tofu,” by Bryanna Clark Grogan. Try it out for dinner tonight, and give the others a shot too—tofu has never been so delicious!

Tofu Tikka Masala

Masala Paste
1/2 Tbsp (7 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground coriander
1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cumin
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper (or more, if you like it hot)
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) thick, unflavoured soy yogourt
1 Tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 in (2.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, grated
1 large garlic clove, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp (1 mL) turmeric
2 tsp (10 mL) beet powder or paprika (optional, for colour)
12 oz (350 g) firm or extra-firm tofu, cut into 1/4 in (0.5 cm) thick slices, patted dry

Spice Mixture for Vegetables
2 tsp (10 mL) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) garam masala
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced*
1 large yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 cup (250 mL) tomatoes, diced
1 tsp (5 mL) organic unbleached granulated sugar

*For best results, mince onion finely in food processor.

To make Masala Paste heat olive oil in small heavy skillet (such as cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add coriander, cumin, cayenne, and salt. Stir constantly until spices smell fragrant; immediately remove pan from heat. Set aside.

In small bowl, mix together soy yogourt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric, and beet powder or paprika, if using. Stir in masala paste; clean out skillet.

Spread mixture in 13 x 9 x 2 in (33 x 23 x 5 cm) non-aluminum baking pan and place tofu slices in mixture. Turn over slices to coat both sides (you may need to spread some mixture on top of the tofu). Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to several hours.

To make Spice Mixture for Vegetables, when tofu is ready to cook, heat cleaned small skillet over medium-high heat. Add coriander, cumin, garam masala, salt, turmeric, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir constantly until spices are fragrant. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

Set oven to broil.

Spread 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil evenly over a 15 x 10 x 1 in (38 x 26 x 3 cm) baking sheet. Place coated tofu slices in one layer, close together, on baking sheet and spread any extra masala paste over tofu.

Place sheet under broiler 4 to 6 in (10 to 15 cm) from heat source. Broil until top of tofu starts to brown and char a bit around the edges. Keep an eye on it! Turn over tofu slices and repeat with second side. Remove from oven and cover pan to keep warm.

Heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil in large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add onion and stir-fry until golden and softened, adding a squirt of water as needed to keep from sticking. Add peppers and stir-fry until limp. Add tomatoes and their juice and sugar; stir briefly just to heat and soften vegetables. Add Spice Mixture for Vegetables and stir well.

Distribute browned tofu over 4 servings of steamed brown basmati rice and top evenly with the spicy vegetable mixture.

Serves 4.

Each serving contains: 194 calories; 10 g protein; 12 g total fat (2 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 16 g carbohydrates; 3 g fibre; 450 mg sodium

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