How are your New Year’s resolutions going?
I don’t really have any because I started making changes in my life a few weeks before the big ol’ ball hit the top. But, I’m stoked to say that I have worked out almost every day (you gotta have rest days!) for the past two weeks or so and have really buckled down on eating better.
I’m always looking for high protein meals because it’s the one thing that I know I need more of in my diet. I don’t eat a lot of legumes (mistake, I know) because I want to use the fresh kind (dried) and make them myself. But, I run out of time.
So, I decided to try cooking tofu. Yikes! Anyone who hasn’t cooked tofu before is probably terrified of the task. But, it’s really not that daunting once you know a few tricks.
For one, make sure you press it for at least 20-30 minutes to get the water out. You can do this with a special contraption called a TofuXpress or put the tofu block between two plates and put something heavy on top, like canned food or books or whatever. I did the latter as I have not invested in a tofu press (yet!).
The second trick to tofu is seasoning or marinating. Once the water is out, it acts like a sponge, soaking up any flavors you put with it. This makes it incredibly versatile.
I do admit that when I made this soup, I didn’t season the tofu enough. It tasted pretty bland by itself. But in the soup, it’s pretty good! So, when you make tofu and you think you have enough seasoning (not salt), add a little extra.
Now, let’s get to this soup. It’s not actually minestrone. There are no beans or pasta. But I didn’t want to call it a strict vegetable soup, because that’s pretty boring. 🙂
But, it is packed full of protein (about 27 percent of it is protein) and lower in carbs than the average minestrone (not that carbs are bad). See full nutritional information at the end of this post.
Ingredients (serves about 7, or a week’s worth of lunches for one person)
3 garlic gloves, minced
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, cut into half moons
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large turnip
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 can diced tomatoes, low or no sodium
2.5 cups water
2 cups kale, chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 package of extra firm tofu
4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (the sriracha kind)
Before you start: Prep your tofu by putting it in a press or using the plate method described above. Once the water is out, cut them length-wise so you have two approximately 1-inch thick patties. Season both sides of each one as you’d like with herbs and spices. Then, sear both sides until golden (a few minutes for each side). I then baked mine for about 20-25 minutes with the turnips (see below).
Start by sauteing 2 cloves of minced garlic and half of the red wine vinegar on medium heat in a large pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and a little bit of the water. Cook until onions are translucent.
While that is cooking, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees (F). Slice your turnip into discs about 3/4 inch thick. Lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been drizzled with a tiny bit of canola oil (just so they don’t stick).
Using the back of a spoon, spread the rest of the garlic on all the discs. I rubbed it into the turnips and didn’t worry about leaving big chunks of garlic on them.
Add a little bit of the parsley, all the rosemary and some garlic salt (or whatever herbs and seasoning you have/like) to the turnips. Bake until you can stick a fork in them easily (like how you check a potato).
Back to the big pot on the stove.
Add the can of tomatoes, water and parsley to the pot. Then add the vegetable broth, chili sauce and kale. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium and cook until the kale is nice and soft, not crunchy anymore. It takes a little while for the chili sauce to really change the flavor of the soup. So be patient and don’t add too much too fast!
Cut the turnip discs into 1-inch to 1.5-inch chunks. Do the same with the tofu, 1-inch cubes. Add both to the soup. Increase heat to high, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 10-15 more minutes. Then turn off the heat and serve!
I put all of my soup into mason jars and store one or two servings in the freezer (for later in the week). The rest are kept in the fridge and I have my lunch for the rest of the week!
Here’s the nutritional information for each 12-oz serving.