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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sweet and Sour BBQ Tofu Lettuce Wraps

GLUTEN-FREE | GRAIN-FREE | DAIRY-FREE | VEGETARIAN


Looking for a new take-along lunch? This meal is light and healthy but also filling. And it travels well.

Serve it one night as an appetizer alongside a pile of fresh lettuce leaves. Each person can spoon some of the tofu mixture onto a lettuce leaf, then wrap it up and eat it. Take the leftovers for lunch the following day. Pack the lettuce leaves and tofu mixture separately, and re-heat the tofu mixture or eat it cold. Either way it's a winner.

The sweet and sour BBQ sauce is complex and slightly smokey, thanks to a chipotle chili pepper. If you prefer an non-smoky sauce, substitute any chili pepper you wish. If you don't like your sauce spicy, discard the seeds of the chili pepper or omit it completely. The sourness in this sauce, and some of the sweetness, comes from using a whole orange. It's also a source of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer compounds.

This sauce is very versatile and you'll make a bit more than you'll need for this recipe. Slather the excess on grilled chicken, toss it with slow-roasted pulled pork, or stir it into a pot of beans with a splash of bone broth or cooking liquid.

I used extra firm organic sprouted tofu from Trader Joe's. If you can't find sprouted tofu, substitute any organic, extra firm tofu.

This recipe serves 4.

To make Sweet and Sour BBQ sauce:

2 tablespoons unsweetened rice vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Freshly ground peppercorn
1 inch grated fresh turmeric root or 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ cup roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1 chipotle pepper
1 clove garlic
1 whole organic orange, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  1. To a small sauce pan add the vinegar, honey, salt, pepper, turmeric, ginger, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  2. Hold the chipotle by the stem end over the saucepan and use a clean kitchen shears to cut it, seeds and all, into small pieces. Allow them to fall into the saucepan and discard the stem.
  3. Stir the mixture, then place the orange pieces on top. Cover the sauce pan.
  4. Over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer it for 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  5. Once cool, add the contents of the saucepan to a blender or Vitamix and purée until smooth. Taste it for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to thin it out a bit, but avoid diluting it too much. Taste it for seasoning every time you add water.
  6. Serve the sauce immediately or store it in an air-tight container in the fridge.



To finish the dish:

2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound (or 15.5 ounces) extra firm organic sprouted tofu, pressed and drained for two hours
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup chopped cilantro leaves, stems, and roots
1 cup chopped blistered or dry-roasted peanuts
Sweet and Sour BBQ sauce
1 head butter lettuce, leaves separated and cleaned
  1. Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, crumble the pressed, drained tofu into the skillet, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until the tofu pieces become browned and crispy. 
  3. Turn off the heat and transfer the tofu to a large mixing bowl. Add enough Sweet and Sour BBQ Sauce to dress the tofu lightly, starting with a quarter cup and adding more as needed.
  4. Add the scallions, cilantro, and peanuts to the tofu mixture and toss together until everything is evenly distributed. Taste the mixture for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments. 
  5. Serve the tofu alongside lettuce leaves for wrapping. If you're making it in advance, cool it to room temperature then store in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to eat.


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