Taco Tofu (aka Deer Meat?)

My daughter is a history buff. If left to her own devices she often creates a world around her that is the 1880s, a fantasy which is charming (and socially acceptable) because she is only eight. When she or little brother sense I am busy in the kitchen they are inspired to ask me to do one thousand things, including play with them. 

On one such occasion this summer, while I was prepping burrito makings, I pretended to add a log to my new GE profile range. When this little prairie child asked what I was cooking, I said deer meat (showing my non-meat eating habits by not thinking to call it venison). My little plant eater looked at me like I was insane for a moment before giggling and falling back into her make-believe world. And that is how my taco tofu became known as deer meat. This is a flexible taco or burrito filling that will are texture and flavor to your meal and probably be acceptable to your meat-eating guests as well. 

I prefer it a million times over faux meats because I can better control the flavor, it is less processed and it is super cheap. One package of organic extra firm tofu rarely costs more than $1.79 at Whole Foods or any other grocery store I visit regularly.

When you cook the tofu, the water will be reduced and the spices and flavors will intensify. Remember this when you are seasoning to taste. If you need to multitask or working to reduce calories from fat, skip cooking on the stove and put it right into the oven, for approximately 40 minutes.

Ingredients 

  • One pound of extra firm tofu 
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin 
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1  teaspoon smoked paprika 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (if you’d like to punch up the heat!)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil/neutral high heat oil (and 2-3 more to cook)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F
  • Remove tofu from the package and rinse. In a medium size mixing bowl, crumble/smoosh the tofu with your hands and drain any water pooling in the bottom. 
  • Add spices, nutritional yeast, oil and soy sauce and evenly coat the tofu. If you aren’t in a hurry, let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • I prefer to heat 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil on medium heat and cook the tofu on the stove top to add a little extra flavor and reduce the amount of water in the tofu. 
  • When the tofu begins to turn brown and crumble texture,  transfer it to a pan (spread evenly!) and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, it depends on how much water first cooked out of the tofu. I will cook it a little longer to let tofu a rich golden brown and even burn the smallest piece a bit. 

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