Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegan Panko-Crusted Tofu With Dijon Mustard

The Dijon mustard gives this panko breading intense flavors!

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Soy is a Healthy Food
I have always come squarely down on the side that says soy is a healthy food. Obviously you shouldn't eat soy if you are allergic to it, but eating moderate amounts of whole soy foods such as edamame or tofu is good for most people. It's an excellent source of vegetarian "complete" protein. Soy has been shown to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and is linked with lower risks of breast and endometrial cancer. The FDA claims that eating 25 grams of soy protein per day may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Eating lots of fake meats with soy isolates or taking it as a supplement is not recommended. 

But despite the positive studies, eating soy remains a controversial subject. This topic comes up at every health conference and this year's 2013 Health and Nutrition conference was no exception. Dr. Weil discussed it the first day. He feels that there is a lot of misinformation about soy, most of which comes from the meat and dairy industries. The controversy arises from the fact that soy contains isoflavones that have estrogenic activity and some claim that they might accelerate some breast cancer cells or be bad for developing young boys. Studies have shown, and Dr. Weil agrees, that soy blocks access to estrogen receptors and is even safe for women with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. And no, it does not feminize boys.

Today's recipe
I enjoy tofu once or twice a week. Here's a incredibly easy and flavorful way to prepare it.
The Dijon mustard in this recipe not only serves to hold the breading onto the tofu, but it adds an intensely wonderful flavor to the dish. Other than heating the tofu and browning the breading, there is not much to cook so the entire recipe goes together very quickly.
I serve it with Thai Cabbage, Daikon and Carrot Salad.

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Panko-Crusted Tofu
Requires a shallow roasting pan
[makes 3 (2-piece) servings]

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus some to grease the pan
1 pressed garlic clove
1 packed teaspoon grated lemon zest
2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 (14 to 16 ounce) block extra-firm organic tofu
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a shallow roasting pan with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and cilantro (or parsley). Drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the bread crumbs are well coated. Set aside.

Make the breading.

Cut the block of tofu into 6 slices. Lay them down in the greased roasting pan and spread each evenly with 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard. 

Coat the tofu with Dijon mustard.

Sprinkle the Panko mixture over the tofu. It should stick to the mustard.

The breading should adhere nicely to the mustard.

Bake in the oven until the tofu is hot and the bread crumbs are slightly toasted and brown.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Serve with Thai Cabbage, Daikon and Carrot Salad.

Per serving (2 pieces of tofu): 272 calories, 18 g fat, 2.7 g saturated fat, 421 mg omega-3 and 3,996 mg omega-6 fatty acids*, 17 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 2.2 g dietary fiber and 356 mg sodium.

* Nutritional information for omega-3 and omega-6 excludes any contribution from the Panko bread crumbs since that information is not available from the manufacturer.

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