Monday, May 7, 2012

Tofu Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

Last week we had an unexpected visit from one of Simon's friends from home.  He wasn't too familiar with vegan food, so what did we make?  Tofu, of course!  Everyone loves tofu, right? 

Decked out tofu tacos
Okay, I'll admit that tofu often gets a bad rap as the poster child for gross vegan food.  When cooked well, however, tofu can be a great part of any meal.  I'm still not crazy about tofu "steaks" (slabs) after being vegan for almost 5 years, but that's probably just because I have yet to master them.  So, in the meantime, here's a recipe for some tasty tofu tacos. 

Tofu Tacos with Cabbage Slaw
  • 8 cups shredded cabbage (or pre-shredded cole slaw mix, without the dressing)
  • 1 large bunch radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large bunch scallions, sliced
  • 2 + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced
  • salt and pepper, to taste 
  • 2 - 14 ounce packages refrigerated extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • your favorite salsa and any other taco toppings you'd like

First, prepare the slaw.  Toss the cabbage/cole slaw mix, radishes, cilantro, scallions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lime zest, and lime juice in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Next, prepare the tofu.  First, toss together the tofu, taco seasoning, and 2 tablespoon olive oil in a bowl until coated.  Then heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  When the pan is hot, add the tofu, ensuring that each cube of tofu touches the bottom of the pan; if your pan is too small, cook the tofu in two batches.  Cook the tofu, turning the pieces after several minutes on each side, until most sides have browned.  Add more olive oil if needed while cooking.

Fill the tortillas with the tofu, slaw, salsa, and any other taco seasonings that strike your fancy.  Serves 6-8 people.

These tofu tacos take standard tacos to the next level.  The slaw is filled with fresh ingredients that brighten things up, and the tofu is so much lighter and healthier than ground beef.  Actually, Simon and his friend compared the taste of the tofu to that of eggs, saying it reminded them of a breakfast burrito.
All of the produce in this dish is really worth it.  You could make your own taco seasoning mix, if you prefer, but I like the convenience of pre-made mix. 
 Ease of Preparation:    
Tofu tacos probably take about the same amount of time as beef (or any other kind of meat) tacos.  Same taco process, different main ingredient.
Non-vegan friendliness:    
Simon's friend claimed to like the tacos and went back for seconds--always a good sign, given that he had never had tofu before!  That said, Simon, Rachel, and our guest added a bit of light sour cream and shredded cheese to their tacos to make them even more non-vegan friendly

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