Meatless Monday: Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Kebabs + Weekly Menu

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One of my patients is currently trying to eat meat-free once a week.

While he isn’t able to verbalize his reasons for doing so, his nephrologist questions his motive every month during rounds. The patient gives the same, very vague answer every month. Together, the patient and I review the best vegetarian options given his lab work and we move on. Clearly, the physician challenges the patient’s decision…for whatever reason. I would hope a physician would support a diet with more antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients!

Per the usual, my co-workers gawked over my leftovers when I pulled out these skewers one day for lunch.

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I was asked, “If you’re not vegetarian, why do you eat tofu?”

The simple and quick answer is that I actually like tofu. A lot. Plus, a pound of tofu runs me about $2, whereas chicken costs closer to $4/lb. Cost aside, vegetarians have lower cholesterol levels, healthier weight statuses, lower rates of cancer, lower blood pressure, and they live longer than their omnivore counterparts.

But I figured that was a bit too preachy and intense for the casual lunch time chat.

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In retrospect, I regret not sharing those facts in some capacity. While I fully realize that a “teaching moment” has to be done in the right way and at the right time, I do think I could’ve worked in some basic facts on the benefit of eating meat-free. Though, I’m not likely to part ways with meat entirely.

While the blogosphere is saturated with nutrition and healthy eating bloggers, we have to remember it is still a small group of the population that goes to such lengths to educate themselves about health and wellness in terms of food…or even care, for that matter. Helping others learn from our choices is one great way to educate on the powers of food and nutrition.

The next time my coworkers interrogate my lunch…I have answers! ;)

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Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Kebabs adapted from Vegetarian Times and The Swanky Dietitian

1 (14-oz) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into cubes 1 large pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into cubes (1 tbsp set aside for sauce) 1 large red or orange bell pepper, cut into chunks 1 large onion , sliced into wedges 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tsp honey 1 pinch red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Spray a baking sheet with olive oil. Arrange tofu cubes on the baking sheet and mist with olive oil. Bake for about 12 minutes, while you chop the veggies for the kebabs.

Thread each of 7 bamboo skewers with tofu, cubed pineapple, bell pepper, and onion and place in baking dish.

Simmer soy sauce, sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, honey, and red pepper flakes 3 minutes in skillet over medium heat. Add thinly sliced tablespoon of pineapple and garlic to skillet, and simmer 2 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.

Pour sauce over kebabs, and bake 20-30 minutes, turning once to keep kebabs coated in sauce.

Yield: 7 large skewers.

Nutrition Information (per skewer): 127 calories; 5 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 372 mg. sodium; 13.7 g. carbohydrate; 2.4 g. fiber; 7.4 g. protein

Result: Honestly? I knew they would be good, but they were really good. This is a quick weeknight meal with TONS of flavor. I was a bit weary about all the soy sauce, but I measured and more than half was left in the pan after the kebabs cooked. Using more just helps ensure that flavor gets around to every bite! I pre-cooked the tofu to help give it the texture I enjoy best (a bit of a crisp outside with a soft inside) and if you cook the tofu before beginning any other prep, you really don’t add on any time to the recipe preparation. A summer keeper recipe, for sure!

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Weekly Menu: May 6th – 10th

Another week…here we go!

Be well,

Comments

  1. says

    I am looking away from all the onions! I actually like tofu too – and at my store? It routinely sells for .99 cents a package – score! And don’t be jealous, but boneless, skinless chicken breasts were on sale for $1.39 a pound this weekend :D

    Off to check out that spicy basil chicken recipe . . . happy Monday!

  2. says

    I’m not a huge tofu lover, but the kebobs look good, we grilled some kebobs this weekend too! So fun! I know what you mean about not always being open about food choices … I try not to talk about my food too much at work, everyone thinks I eat weird stuff anyways :) But being at a job where I sit for 10-12 hours a day, I am probably one of the healthiest people , so take that! I guess I try to judge interest and why people are interested before being totally open about what I am eating.

  3. says

    I’ve never had a problem with tofu. It’s not my all time favorite thing, but I think when its cooked right, it’s delicious. Never in my life would I have thought to make kebabs with tofu though. That’s a fantastic idea – kebabs are just so much fun to eat. :)

  4. says

    I eat tofu just because I like it too. This sounds like a great way to prepare it. I love pre-baking tofu, it means you don’t have to press it!

  5. says

    I have never tried tofu. But I know you would never steer me wrong! So I’ll give it a whirl. It looks amazing this way!

  6. Karen says

    I love tofu but hardly ever see any recipes for it. My daughter is vegetarian and when we BBQ she usually scrounges around the kitchen for something else to eat. These kabobs will be perfect for the next BBQ. Thanks!

  7. says

    You are the reason I got brave enough to try tofu for the 1st time! I made your tofu parmigiana. My family thought I was nuts, but I thought it was good! I actually just bought some more tofu….and this sounds delish!

  8. Lori says

    We can’t find how much ginger to put in there! We did 1 Tbs fresh, and it was delish! Great meal.

    • Nicole, RD says

      Oops! I didn’t use any…missed that edit in the directions. Now fixed – thanks! I’m glad they were a hit! :)

  9. Hemay says

    I hadn’t purchased sriracha before. I knew it was hot, but I guess not this hot. I wasn’t clear from the recipe when to add the sriracha sauce and ending up adding in to the main sauce…which, of course, made it really spicy. The recipe was still good, but my eyes were watering and my mouth on fire. :-) Looked back at one of the recipes it was adapted from and discovered not to mix it in. This recipe is definitely a keeper, though. We have leftover tofu, pineapple and veggies, so I’ll make it again tomorrow for lunch and not add the sriracha this time. Also added green pepper to the skewers. Great vegan recipe!

    • Nicole, RD says

      Hi Hemey! I actually used chili garlic sauce/paste, not sriracha. I wonder if that caused all the heat? Don’t get me wrong though, they are spicy! Thank you for mentioning that the chili sauce was overlooked in the recipe directions. I will change that! I did add it to the sauce with the soy sauce, etc. Thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoyed :)

      • Hemay says

        Oh…I see. I’ll have to sweeten it up a bit with more pineapple or honey and/or add less of the sauce I bought. I thought they were the same thing, because I googled “garlic chili sauce” and it retrieved the sriracha sauces. The sriracha I purchased is the “Tuong ot sriracha” or Huy Fong Foods, Inc (The one with the rooster on the front of the bottle and the green cap) brand and it had garlic in the ingredients list. Regardless, I appreciate the great recipe. Thank you!

  10. Joy says

    Hi! Just want to alert you to a page on facebook that has copied and pasted this picture (and many of others too). This page is claiming that they are coming up with a cookbook with recipes to the pictures on their page. Most of these have been lifted from various websites. The page goes by the following name “Culinaria Fusion- Culinary Consciousness Cookbook’

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