For anyone who knows me well, I’m very much a carnivore – I thoroughly enjoy eating meat. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and it would be sacrilegious not to eat turkey on Turkey day. Nothing solves a nasty hangover better than bacon and eggs and there’s something about a nice crisp refreshing beer outside in the summer with a nice juicy burger! And as I’ve realized while I, by no means, eat an abundance of meat (I eat more fish and pasta than anything else), being a meat eater is definitely part of who I am and wrapped up in a lot of good associations!
I understand the reasoning behind being a vegetarian or vegan. I get that the treatment of animals in this country is cruel. I’ve read books on the subject and watched documentaries. It’s a subject I’m still learning about and coming to terms with in my whole life and my role in an industry I’m propelling by eating meat. The conflict between my taste bud and my ethics and morals is one I’m trying to navigate.
And as such (and because I’m a bit of a masochist who likes a challenge), I decided a couple weeks back that for the month of May I’d abstain from eating meat. I’d remove poultry and red meat from my diet (but keep eggs and dairy) and hopefully learn to eat more veggies etc.
I’m about halfway through this goal… I had one slip where I totally and completely on accident ate a piece of fried chicken that we had in our office. It remains to be seen how well I fare for the next couple weeks. I have really been missing meat… I seem more tired and crankier too… I’ve learned often that removing meat from your diet makes you feel healthier, but that isn’t the case yet at least. I also think I need to learn how to healthily give up meat versus just eating more pasta.
Ultimately though, it’s been a great conversation starter. I’ve talked to a lot of friends and random people at restaurants about it – if they have done it or think they could and their recommendations. It’s definitely opening up my eyes to a different way of eating and new recipes etc.
So this is the first step on that journey… learning to love tofu. And I will say, this recipe is simple and delicious! It’s great over jasmine rice and I even made it a second time for lunches as well.
For this recipe, you’ll need 1 block firm tofu, cubed, 2 tbsp cornmeal (to toss the tofu in) and some diced red and green peppers. First, sauté the peppers until tender and set aside. Add the tofu and about a tbsp. of olive oil to the pan and sauté until golden brown. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate with the cooked peppers.
For the sweet and sour sauce, you’ll need:
Add the sauce to the hot skillet and let thicken for about 30 seconds. Add the tofu and peppers back to the pan and toss until coated. Serve with white or brown rice!
If you’re a vegetarian or even just trying to expand your palate, this is a simple weeknight meal that is flavorful and easy to prepare. And hey! Tofu can actually be super tasty! I will probably not give up meat entirely, but I’d definitely add tofu to my cooking repertoire after May is all said and done!
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed & cubed
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- juice of ½ a lime
- 1½ tablespoon honey
- Toss the cubed tofu with the corn meal and salt in a large bowl.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the tofu and let cook for about 5 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Flip each cube over and cook again until the other side is browned.
- While tofu cooks, make a paste out of the garlic and ginger, add to a small bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and whisk together.
- Remove the tofu to a plate.
- Add the sauce from the bowl to the hot skillet and let cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tofu back to the skillet and toss until fully coated with the sauce.
- Serve with white rice and garnish with scallions.