Crispy Tofu Tacos

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Tofu is one of the most unsexy foods to behold on this earth. It’s a wet, taupe-colored block of soy and it’s no wonder many people take one look and say “Thanks, but I’d rather lick my own foot.” But it is deliciously adaptable, weirdly addictive, and, well, just plain fantastic. After you get over the initial weirdness of it all, it’s hard not to become a tofoodie. Tofudie. Tofudite?

Whatever we call ourselves, tofu lovers are always finding new ways to embrace the king of soy. Cholita Linda got me hooked on their spicy tofu tacos and I wanted to recreate it on my own. In my world, the best tacos have a lot of different toppings and components. It makes them a bit complex, grocery-list wise, but completely worth it in the end (ie, don’t be scared off by the ingredient list below!). And the best part is that everyone gets to pick exactly what they want to craft their dinner time masterpiece.

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I’m a saucy gal and wanted lots of it to top the crunchy slaw and crispy tofu, so I made crema and chipotle garlic sauce. Tangy, spicy, and extremely messy, I was very pleased with how it all came together.

Crispy Tofu Tacos

makes about 4-5 tacos

1/2 c vegetable oil
Small corn or flour tortillas, warmed
Cotija cheese, crumbled (optional)
Refried pinto beans or black beans (optional)
Tofu marinade
10 oz firm tofu, cut into 1″x 3″ rectangles
1 lime, juiced
1/4 t chipotle powder
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 c sour cream
1 lime, juiced
1/2 t salt
Chipotle Sauce
1 chipotle pepper (canned), with 1 T adobo sauce
1 garlic clove
1 t paprika
1/2 lime, juiced
1/4 c sour cream
1/2 c greek yogurt
1/2-1 t salt (to taste)
1/2 head cabbage
2 T olive oil
1/2 lime, juiced
1/2 t chili powder
1 t salt
1/2 jalepeno, seeds removed and sliced thinly
1 shallot, sliced thinly

Prep the tofu by pressing it in-between paper towels, until some of the moisture is removed. In a rectangular dish, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Lay the tofu pieces flat and marinade for 20-30 minutes, turning occasionally. You can also marinade it overnight. Meanwhile, make the crema by whisking together the sour cream, lime juice, and salt. Set aside. With an immersion blender, in a Cuisinart, or in a regular blender, puree all the chipotle ingredients until smooth. Salt to taste. *Note: the chipotle peppers are spicy. If you are sensitive to spice, start with half a pepper and work your way up. Make the slaw by very finely slicing the cabbage, so that it is very delicate and thin. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, then toss in the cabbage. Place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and remove the tofu from the marinade, patting dry. Add the oil to the pan and, when shimmering, lay the tofu down. Cook until brown and crispy, about 5-7 minutes per side. Assemble tacos by layering beans, tofu, slaw, sauces, and cheese on top. Enjoy!

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Crunchy, Crispy Chick Peas

This is a fantastically tasty, addictive, and healthy snack to have in your back pocket. I ate one can’s worth for dinner a few weeks ago and, although I was stuffed, I didn’t feel the least bit bad about it.

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The key to getting the beans to crisp is to dry them thoroughly before tossing them in the oil-spice mixture. If they are moist then they will not brown and you’ll have a bit of a soggy mess to deal with.

I like them with the below mix of spices, but you can mix it up and go with just garlic-rosemary, maple-cayenne, dill-dry mustard, etc.

Crunchy Chick Peas

borrowed from Menu Musings

1 15-oz can chick peas, rinsed, drained, and dried
2 T olive oil
1T minced garlic or 1/2 t garlic powder
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t salt (because canned beans are usually salted, be careful with how much you add in)
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t Italian seasonings
1 t chopped fresh rosemary
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, mix the oil and all of the seasonings except for the rosemary. Add the chick peas and turn to coat them thoroughly. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Shake them up a bit and bake for another 10 minutes, or until sizzling and crispy. Take them out and toss with the rosemary and, if you like, some grated Parmesan cheese.

They will be very hot, so try to resist. I know– it’s very difficult. I burned my mouth because I have the patience of an angry rhino.

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