Cooking

Tofu and Spinach/Roasted Butternut Squash

Like most recipes I create, it's spicy!

I’m on a coconut oil kick lately.  It adds such a wonderful taste to roasted veggies especially with Thai or Indian spices.  If you haven’t had it, it’s a creamy kind of flavor, almost more like a vanilla.  It certainly doesn’t scream “COCONUT!!” when you cook and bake with it.

Coconut oil is one of those foods that’s controversial because it contains a much maligned substance, saturated fat, which is said to raise cholesterol and cause heart disease.  However, there is no proof of this and much evidence to the contrary.  The claim that “saturated fat is bad for you” isn’t as clear as it sounds.  There are different types of saturated fat and just like there is good cholesterol, there’s good saturated fat.  Or so they tell us today.

The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Constantly changing science can be frustrating, can’t it?  I am personally skeptical of everything when it comes to dietary advice because one minute it’s the next miracle food and the next minute it gives you cancer.  I read all the latest health news and sometimes I do adjust my eating habits slightly, but I’m not going to make a huge change to what I eat based on one study.  I am not going to put my faith in the next “super food” but I might have a few more blueberries because I read an article about all the health benefits they bestow.  And I’m certainly not going to cut an entire macronutrient out of my diet like people mistakenly do with fats or carbohydrates.  I do not believe there’s one Evil type of food, though I completely understand the draw of believing it to be so.

I make most of my choices a different way, what you might call the Michael Pollan way.  The base of my dietary choices lies the belief that the least processed, most natural, plant-based foods are the best.  I no longer look at food as a collection of nutrients.  I think it’s a lot more complex than anyone currently understands and that the best route is to eat a wide variety of foods, especially vegetables and fruits.  Coconut oil is made from a coconut.  I but organic, unrefined coconut oil.  It fits in my “closest to plant form, least processing” rule.  And it tastes awesome.

I am aware I am suffering from the confirmation bias when I easily believe that coconut oil is good for me (in moderation) and refuse to believe that potatoes make you fat.  By the way, potatoes roasted in coconut oil- to die for!  Better yet, sweet potatoes!

Recipe: Butternut Squash, roasted in coconut oil

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
  • chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper

Cooking:

  1. Peel and dice squash (instructions here)
  2. In a large bowl, toss with coconut oil and spices (to taste.)  Be sure to toss quickly- coconut oil becomes solid when it gets cold.  So if your squash is cold, this will happen.  It will melt when you put it in the oven.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, flip, and return to oven for another 10-20 min or until desired texture.  How do you know?  Try a piece!

Nutrition:

(based on 3 cups of diced squash and one tbsp of coconut oil)

Servings:3, Calories: 103, Carbohydrates: 16g, Fat: 5g, Protein: 1 g

Recipe: Tofu with spinach tomato sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • About 1 bag or large container of spinach (I make this when I have a lot of spinach I need to use up)
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (or fresh if you can get good ones)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 serrano peppers (seeded if you fear the heat)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Coriander, turmeric, paprika, salt

Cooking:

  1. Boil tofu in water for 15-20 minutes, set in strainer and drain excess water while continuing with recipe
  2. In a food processor, combine tomatoes, onion, serrano pepper and garlic and puree into a sauce
  3. Over medium heat, heat olive oil in a large pot
  4. Add spices and stir for about 30 seconds
  5. Add pureed vegetables (careful adding liquid to oil)
  6. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently
  7. Add spinach, stir until wilted
  8. Add tofu
  9. Cover and cook over low/med heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition:

Servings: 3, Calories: 215, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fats: 13g, Protein: 17g

5 thoughts on “Tofu and Spinach/Roasted Butternut Squash

  1. This sounds wonderful! Just curious as to why you boil the tofu in water ….I have never heard of doing this before….plus….do you cube it before or after boiling??? Keep the recipes coming…..you might make me into a vegetarian yet 🙂

    1. Boiling the tofu makes it have a firmer, smoother texture. If you boil it, it’s less crumbly and will keep its shape when you’re stirring it around in the pan. Meat-eaters can enjoy vegetarian meals too :). In fact, I think the first step to considering vegetarianism is exploring the cuisine and realizing meals don’t have to involve meat to be delicious, nutritious, and satisfying.

  2. I’m sold……I will now boil my tofu…….now when do you cube it……before or after boiling it??? 🙂 Plus……do you salt the water as for pasta?

  3. Oh, so it’s better to boil the tofu first. Got it! That’s how I’ll do it next time. Thanks for sharing this recipe as well as the article about coconut oil. I, myself is a fan of it. I got mine from http://products.mercola.com/coconut-oil/ I used it when I fry something even when I make pop corn. It’s awesome!

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