Original stuffed tofu sticks, with carrot and mozzarella: delicious and revolutionary
Time: prep. 10 min
cook. 10 min
Yield: for 2 servings
Tofu, tofu… As they say, great loves begin with hate. Exactly how I felt about this important and versatile alternative to animal proteins. On the way to a more sustainable world, I remember my exact words: “Nah, maybe I’ll do without tofu”. I didn’t really know how to make the most of it. Are you hesitant too? Pity, because you would also lose its surprising properties, able to influence the levels of specific hormones stimulating sexual activity(1). Joking aside, tofu can be combined with many different flavors, a real ace of sustainable cooking: cheap, proteic and practical. If I finally convinced you to reconsider it, try this recipe: I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
160 grams of natural tofu
1 big boiled and mashed carrot with half a clove of garlic, salt and 3 chopped walnuts
50 grams of mozzarella
10 basil leaves
for breading: 1 small cup of coffee of wholemeal toasted breadcrumbs or corn flour, salt, pepper and paprika if desired
cooking oil: no more than 1 tablespoon of oil, they must not be fried but only golden browned
If you don’t like tofu, often, indeed certainly, it’s because you don’t know how to prepare it properly (it was like that for me too, I said it). But if you heed my advice, you will find an acceptable compromise. First of all, let the liquids retained inside the tofu cake come out. To do this, place it between two-three pieces of kitchen paper towels (per side) and insert it between two cutters/trays. Now create a weight, like one to two bottles of water, or two jars of tomato sauce, and so on. This procedure is not necessary, however, as well as surprising you with the water it contains, it also serves to clearly improve its somewhat bland taste. In addition, always cut it finely, or into small cubes: it will absorb more aromas that you will add
Cut the tofu block in such a way as to create sticks no thicker than 1 cm (ready for stuffing). Slice the mozzarella in order to give it the same shape, but smaller than tofu to prevent it from melting and sticking out during cooking, which would cause scorching and unhealthy smells.
Divide the sticks into two groups: choose the ones on which to spread, on one side only, the puree made of carrots, walnuts and garlic; add a basil leaf and a slice of mozzarella on top. Finally, close with the other slice of tofu (second group), so as to create sandwiches. Handle with care, pass the coupled sticks through the bowl containing the wholemeal breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and paprika mix. After having breaded both sides in this way, place them in a non-stick pan, already hot and oiled. Cook over moderate heat for about 3-4 minutes on one side and 3 on the other.
For a vegan solution, you might fill your sandwiches with vegan cheese by adding a few more nuts inside the carrot puree. The result will always be very satisfying
In winter we can find avocados grown on European soil, so why not take advantage of them? Sticks filled with tofu have very little oil, so combining them with a healthy source of fat, such as avocado, would not be by any means wrong; on the contrary, your palate and liver will thank you. For a very scenic effect, cut the avocado in two, pull out the seed and fill the empty space with a mix of diced tomatoes, chopped onions, all seasoned with lots of lemon and basil leaves. Vitamin C, therefore the ascorbic acid, present in the dish, will serve not only to reinforce the flavor of the sandwiches, but also to make the iron content in the tofu(2) more assimilable. If you don’t have avocado, you might serve the sticks with a generous portion of salad, always dipped in lemon.
Enjoy your meal and have a good revolution, everyone
(1) Wasserman et. al., (2012) UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, (UCB). Estrogenic plant consumption predicts red colobus monkey (Procolobus rufomitratus) hormonal state and behavior. Hormones and Behavior
(2) Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419.Bibliografia