So, let's talk "Meatless Mondays" and the life of a Vegetarian/Vegan. You have made a decision, maybe it's to be meatless for one day a week, or to be meatless ALL the time - either way, you've made a decision. (A hard decision in a world drowning in bacon commercials.) But you went for it, and here you are - looking for recipes to fill in the gaps of your dietary life - and have no fear, I have a list for you, part of one. I want to take it by section, because there are a 1000 lists out there, but I want you to understand why I use what I use. (and don't you fret - at the end is a recipe, for BBQ Tofu. It IS summer! BBQ is a must.)
Meat Substitutes -
|cubed up tempeh|
Tempeh - a soy product - so... if you have a soy allergy, this is not for you. Personally, I love tempeh bacon, but other than that I don't eat much, which is a shame, because Tempeh is by far one of the healthiest of meat substitutes. Tempeh is brittle and will crumble, you can marinade it and use it in sandwiches, or use it as a substitute for ground meat - like in sloppy joes.
|pre-made seitan, by Westsoy, whom I love|
Seitan - a dough like substitute made from wheat gluten - so... if you have a wheat or gluten allergy, this is not for you. Seitan works well in sandwiches, just like tempeh, but since its basically a boiled dough, it slices nicer and doesn't crumble on you. You can marinade it and make a delicious vegan Rueban, or a BBQ sandwich (with a little lettuce, tomato, pickle on a kaiser roll - yum.)
|fried tofu, with slaw|
Tofu - Basically, this is a bean curd loaf, soy bean to be exact. Back in the day when I first went vegetarian (circa 1990) I had no idea what tofu was, and it wasn't until 1997 that I ever bought a loaf - set it on a baking sheet and put it in my oven. (I had no idea what I was doing. None. I'm much better now, thank you.) Tofu may be the most versatile of the three I've listed. If you buy Extra Firm Tofu, wrap it in a nice clean dish towel and press it between two plates for a few hours (or over night) you will change the texture, drying it out, allowing you to grill or bake it much easier. Pressing it also opens to better marinading. Tofu acts as a bit of a sponge- after you press it, place it in a container with your marinade of choice and let it sit for a few hours. Cook how ever you see fit.
The same with the pressing, if you freeze Extra Firm Tofu, it will expand as it freezes, changing the texture of the loaf. Or smash it up and cook it up with some sauteed onions, peppers, tomatoes, - add a little turmeric and make yourself a delicious tofu scramble for breakfast.
And then there is Soft Tofu - that can be used as a substitute in dips, as sour cream, smoothies, and on and on.
**I'm not adding pre-made substitutes, like veggie burgers, sausages, or luncheon meat, to this list because I want these posts to be about making your own, from scratch, and I'll tell you now, if you're trying to pinch the pennies, cooking from scratch is the way to go. That's not to say there won't be recipes down the road that may have pre-made foods in them. I just feel the base of what you have in your house should be versatile enough to make 7-10 different meals, if not more. Soy Chorizo, while delicious, limits you're menu**
And here it is! Your recipe!
Easy Peasy BBQ Tofu
BBQ Sauce that you love
Take your tofu, and drain it, then wrap it inside a kitchen towel, and press it between 2 plates for at least an hour. The longer you do it, the better it will taste. (I do it over night - pressing the tofu I mean...)
Once the tofu has been pressed, slice it into cubes, and set aside.
Heat 2 TBSP of Olive Oil in a frying pan, toss in the cubed tofu and brown. It will take about 5 minutes. Cover with BBQ Sauce, about 1/4 of the jar to start with. Stir it up to coat all the tofu and let it simmer. After about 5 minutes, add more BBQ sauce, and let simmer until the sauce becomes all gooey. Remove from heat.
This is great over rice!