Spicy Barbecue Tofu

Tofu tends to get a bad rap. If it's not prepared properly it can feel like eating an old sponge and taste of absolutely nothing. On the other hand, when treated well, tofu can be a scrumptious treat for the senses as well as powerful nourishment for the body.

I first fell in love with tofu through my local Chinese takeout. They have deep fried tofu with sauteed vegetables. Deep fried tofu has the perfect chewy exterior and pillowy soft center. It tastes of all the vegetables, oil and soy sauce from the wok.

I've experimented with cooking tofu at home. I don't really deep fry. But there are other great ways to prepare tofu as a main protein. I like to broil it. I use a classic meat eaters method to give it flavor. I brush it with a glaze before and mid cooking. It works brilliantly both in terms of flavor and texture.

It's totally vegan.

1 package extra firm tofu
4 tbls olive oil
2 tbls hot sauce
2 tbls sriracha
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp…

Sauted Pasta Salad (Vegan)

This is a simple pasta dish that's great both hot and cold. Pasta in garlicky olive oil with lots of crispy vegetables and some beans and nuts.

Instead of cooking your pasta in a big pot of water make your life simpler by using a really big non stick frying pan with high sides. Some people call them chicken fryer pans. They're about 14-16 inches and have extra tall edges. Fill that half way with water and bring to a boil. Once it's come to a boil add hafl a box of pasta and 1 tsp of salt.

1/2 box pasta
1 red or green bell pepper diced
6 cloves garlic diced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen cauliflower
1/2 cup frozen crinkle cut carrots
1/2 cup dry white wine or zest and juice from one lemon
1 cup rinsed canned black beans
3-4 tsp olive oil
3 tbl smart balance light buttery spread
salt, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste

I like to use a mix of fresh and frozen produce. It helps keep the cost down and the flavors bright. I add the smart balance because it is fortified with B12, calcium and other good things. You can leave out the butter spread and add nutrutional yeast instead. Or if you take a supplement and B12 isn't an issue you can use olive oil all on its own.

When pasta is finished cooking drain and remove from pan using a large slotted pasta spoon. It's less clean up than using a colander. Set aside temporarily in the storage container you will use to hold the finished product.

Add pan back to burner and heat on medium. Cook frozen carrots and cauliflower covered in dry pan for 3 minutes or until mostly thawed. Add oil, some salt and black pepper and pasta. Saute uncovered for 3 more minutes. Add bell pepper pepper, corn and buttery spread. Cook 2 more minutes stirring often.

Add garlic and saute one minute longer. Add wine (or lemon if avoiding the wine) and beans and cook about 3 more minutes to cook off the wine. Taste. Add more salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to taste.

It's great hot from the pan or delicious after a stay in the fridge to chill.

Optionally, sprinkle individual servings with a small handful of almonds for texture, crunch and additional flavor.