My blog post on Tofu Recipes for Tofu Haters got a lot of love so I wanted to make a part 2 with some more amazing recipes that I've recently discovered! Tofu is great because it's high in protein and comes with zero cholesterol and it's so versatile you can make it into almost anything. Plus, since it's spongey by nature it absorbs things very quickly meaning if you're pressed for time you only need to marinade it for a few minutes and it will still taste like it was marinated for hours.
Crispy Baked Tofu
Okay I got this recipe from Goodful when Rachel made Chicken Souvlaki into a vegan dish for her mom. And while the recipe overall looked amazing I couldn't get the way she baked the tofu out of my head so I went to the store and bought skewers just to try making tofu this way and hoped for the best. Not going to lie it was phenomenal. The tofu crisped up perfectly all the way around and in the marinade tasted amazing. This is now our go-to tofu cooking method when we have the time for it and it tastes amazing in so many dishes!
Here is the recipe--
Marinade (you can easily change this to match any dish but this is a good place to start):
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (if you don't have this & aren't vegan powdered chicken broth works just as well)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Mix this all together in a bowl and after pressing the tofu for 30 min rip it apart in bite sized chunks and slowly stir into the marinade. The recipe I found this from said to marinade for 2 hours but I found 15-30 min works perfectly fine!
After the tofu is done marinating skewer the pieces and lay across a baking pan to catch any drip. Then put in the oven at 375F for 30-35 min. About halfway through cooking rotate the skewers to ensure they cook evenly.
It seriously comes out delicious! We've now put it over a greek salad as our protein and over Avgolemono Soup and it was amazing every time!
As a small hack/waste savings since tofu isn't raw meat I kept the marinade in my fridge and reused it for the next batch!
This is a great lunch recipe with tofu! And fairly simple/customizable too. I just started out with my spinach wrap and topped on hummus, spinach, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. And then of course some pan fried tofu just quickly seasoned with a home-made salad dressing that Kyle made. This was a delicious and easy lunch for the week for me!
These tacos might be my nw favorite at-home-taco I've made! Here's the recipe we used.
For the Tacos:
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
Then crumble the tofu into the marinade and mix well making sure the tofu is evenly crumbled. Then place onto a baking pan and bake for 30-35 min at 350F. Be sure to stir the tofu every 10 min or so, and more frequently towards the end to ensure it doesn't burn. Once done and you take it out of the oven pour the salsa into the baking pan and mix to incorporate.
While the tofu is baking make the avocado-cilantro dressing.
For the Dressing:
In a blender or food processor mix together-
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 lime juiced
This makes a perfect creamy dressing that can be used in place of sour cream and can be made entirely zero waste! Not to mention we both loved it so much I had to make a second batch mid-week, now that's a 5-star rating if I've ever seen one!
Lastly we decided to pickle some onions to place on top which truly was the perfect thing to add! Kyle made these without a recipe so here's a Quick Pickled Onion recipe for anyone who's a little more like me and needs to go off a recipe!
Crispy Baked Tofu
This recipe took us a couple of tries to get right but after we did it tasted amazing! We found this in a cookbook Kyle's parents had called Mostly Plants. I'll give you our edited version here.
Put it all together over some rice and be sure to add some more chopped peppers and green onions to garnish!
These are just a few of the tofu recipes I'm currently loving, what tofu recipes should I try next? Comment them down below!
A day of Zero Waste Meals
Eating zero waste is definitely not easy, especially at first. Right now I am working on slowly building up a portfolio of meals that I love and that I know I can easily make zero waste. So I wanted to share with you what that might look like when putting together an entire day of zero waste meals!
Having to part with my beloved ham and scrambled egg english muffin sandwich was pretty hard I won't lie. But I really wanted to find a better (and healthier) breakfast for myself. I need something fast and easy because I don't want to spend a ton of time making breakfast in the morning. I landed on oatmeal, I especially love this idea because I can change out the toppings based on the season and what fruits are available to me. Right now I've just been using quaker oats because the package can be recycled but I do plan on filling up a jar the next time I go to the nearest bulk bins.
With my oats I've been adding in walnuts that I got from a bulk bin store, cranberries which I got canned in aluminum, and half a pear which I got package free in the produce section. I also like to add in a splash of coconut milk to help sweeten it up.
If I get hungry while it's still morning I go for a green smoothie as my second breakfast. I've still been loving this one from a recent blog post but will definitely be changing this up soon now that Spring is here!
Now that the weather is warming up I'm wanting to make more salads for lunch! As a kid every time we we went to Red Robin for about a year I ordered their Chicken Fiesta Salad and I loved it. I decided I wanted to try to re-create that sans chicken. For this I used black beans from a can, red peppers from the wholesale produce market, a red onion package free, tomatoes package free and some lettuce.
Now at our local Walmart we weren't able to get lettuce plastic free, however I know that some stores do have lettuce without packaging which is why I am still sharing this as a zero waste meal. You could also add corn to this either from a can or buy the ears package free and husk them at home. I just personally didn't want to add corn to mine. The recipe I went off of also said to add a jalapeño, however the one we brought home was rotted on the inside so I ended up using some chilis in adobo that we had left to substitute.
For this recipe I combined the onion, red bell pepper and chilis in adobo into a bowl and covered with a tablespoon of lime juice, chili powder, salt, pepper and some canola oil in a bowl mixing it together. Then I put on a pan over medium high heat and cooked until the onions became translucent. From there I added the black beans- drained and rinsed from their can, and cooked for another few minutes after that.
While that was cooking I diced up a tomato and sliced my lettuce so I could combine it all in one bowl.
I also made an avocado dressing in the food processor which is a great zero waste dressing! I combined an avocado, 1 clove of garlic, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tbsp cilantro, salt, pepper to taste. I also ended up adding in a few tablespoons of water to get it to the consistency I wanted. Whip this all together in a food processor and you've got a great salad dressing to last you all week. Use the leftover avocado and cilantro on your salad too!
I just made a blog post about my favorite zero waste snacks so be sure to go check that out but my go-to is always apples and peanut butter!
Dinner: Medeterranean Bowls
I just made these last week and I am *obsessed*. Honestly this is one of the best meals I've ever made.
For my mediterranean bowl I use a lot of produce that I can get package free at the grocery store like tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers (from the Philadelphia Wholesale Market and roasted at home), and carrots. I used quinoa for a grain which I've seen can be bought plastic free in a cardboard box or at a bulk bin (I was finishing off an old bag I had still).
For protein I made some chickpeas from a can. (IMPORTANT: save the chickpea water from the can because that's what we're going to use to make a zero waste dessert!) I covered them with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley and cooked them on a pan with some oil. You could also bake them in the oven for 20-25 min on 350F too.
Lastly I topped it all off with homemade romesco sauce and some vegan feta cheese (unfortunately this came in plastic). For the romesco sauce I had the tomatoes and red peppers package free and I got the almonds in bulk. Everything else I had on hand at home.
Dessert: Chocolate Mousse
Okay now for the fun part- dessert! I found this recipe from one of my favorite blogs Pick Up Limes. This dessert is something you need to prepare at least an hour in advance so you can make it right after you eat your lunch or leave it overnight.
Measure the chickpea water (also known as "aquafaba") that you saved from the can earlier and then put it into a pot on the stove over medium low heat with a tea bag of your choice (I chose raspberry to make it chocolate raspberry flavored but you can do any flavor you like). I found that you should use one tea bag per half cup of aquafaba. Let the aquafaba with tea bag simmer for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat up the same amount of chocolate that you had in acquafaba in the microwave. Run it for 20 seconds at a time and mix until entirely melted.
After the acquafaba is done simmering, take out the tea bag and move the liquid into a mixing bowl. With a hand mixer, mix the liquid for 6-8 minutes. This step is very important, I even set a timer for 8 minutes because hand mixing can be very boring. You should keep mixing until stiff peaks form like in the photo below. I also found turning up the speed on my hand mixer helped speed the process along.
Slowly stir in the melted chocolate into the aquafaba being careful to not over mix it either. Scoop into jars or bowls and let refrigerate for one hour or overnight, then enjoy! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of the end result but check out the post from Pick-Up Limes to see what theirs looked like!
Let me know your favorite zero waste meals too! And if you try any of these let me know what you think.
Zero Waste (& Healthy) Snacks
I think that one of the best things we can do when we start to live more sustainably and consciously is to look at one aspect of our lives and work on making that thing sustainable. Food overall personally I find is the hardest area to be "zero waste" in, but I actually think snacks are quite easy. So if you're looking for your one thing to tackle when it comes to living sustainably why not start here? These are my zero-waste and healthy snack ideas.
Fruit is a great zero waste snack! I personally love eating an apple with peanut butter every afternoon because it gives me a little protein boost to feel full until dinner. But other zero-waste fruits you can enjoy are things like oranges, pears, and bananas (always try to buy them in single vs. in bunches since those get thrown away most at stores - therefore saving perfectly good food from the landfill!)
2. Veggies and Dip
Another great snack is making a little veggie tray with whatever you have on hand and adding a dip to go with it. I recently made Romesco Sauce entirely zero waste and it was so good.
Outside of eating fresh produce which is relatively easy to find package-free, think about what you might be able to buy in either cardboard packaging or at a bulk re-fill store. Here's what I came up with that you could find.
Cashews, peanuts, almonds, walnuts etc. can all be found in bulk bins at grocery stores and are a great, easy to pack, filling snack! I also love that unlike fruit and vegetables they don't go bad as quickly and they're great to have on the go.
Another bulk bin find or really easy to make on your own is granola! You can eat it as is or pair it with yogurt and fruit and it's a totally satisfying snack.
Everywhere I look I see zero-waste people making popcorn as a zero-waste snack. Personally, I haven't been able to find any popcorn kernels in bulk but if you can find them in bulk you can pop them on the stove and have a great zero-waste snack.
What other zero-waste snacks do you love? Comment them below
Tofu Recipes for Tofu Haters
Okay hear me out, I thought I hated tofu. It never looked appetizing to me and it just felt too spongey to get past. That was until I started cooking tofu myself and experimenting with different ways of cooking, marinating, and making tofu! Now I'm obsessed with tofu it's cheap, filling, and healthy - not to mention it can be delicious! So even if you think you hate tofu too give some of the recipes a try before you ignore it on the shelf!
1. Marinated tofu bowls:
This recipe was the first recipe where I truly realized how delicious tofu could be. I found this recipe for marinated tofu and we figured we would make bowls out of them with some rice, vegetables, and top it all off with peanut sauce.
To make the tofu marinade, first take the extra firm tofu and wrap it in either a linen towel or some paper towels and press it with a heavy pan or cookbook etc. for 20-30 minutes. While that's pressing mix together the marinade.
To cook the tofu I put a few tablespoons of oil on a pan and let it warm up, I added the tofu to the pan on medium-high heat and let it sit for 3-4 minutes. After that with a spatula I would shift the tofu around to different sides and let sit for another 3-4 minutes without touching it. I kept doing this until all the sides were cooked and crispy! It's especially important to not stir the tofu in between because you want the sides to all crisp up.
While that was happening I had rice on the stove and to top off my bowl I added steamed broccoli, roasted red peppers, carrots, red cabbage and peanut sauce!
For peanut sauce I don't have a true recipe, usually I find a quick recipe online to get me started and then I continue to adjust to taste preferences. This is the recipe I went off this time:
2. Thai Red Curry Noodle Soup with Crispy Tofu:
I found this recipe from a blog I love called Pick Up Limes. I will say, I messed it up a little and it still turned out amazing, but the photo wasn't as appetizing so please enjoy the photo from their blog post instead to entice you to make this! I made this for lunches for a week and found it to be very filling as well and it reheated great throughout the week.
For the tofu: add coconut oil and one block of pressed and cubed tofu to a pan on medium high heat and let sit for 3-4 minutes before stirring.
Then in a large pot on high heat add:
Let it cook for 2 minutes adding in a splash or two of water if needed. Then add in 3 tbsp of Thai red curry paste and let cook for one minute before adding:
Then add in noodles that can cook in 3 minutes or less and let simmer for 3 more minutes.
Once done, add in the tofu and enjoy!
3. Sesame Tofu and Brocolli
This recipe made me feel like I was ordering Chinese food for lunches, while also being very healthy. In the recipe (linked above) she made her own sesame sauce. That seemed a little difficult for me given the ingredient list was a lot of things I didn't have on hand or know where to buy, so I ended up buying one at the store that was in an all glass container with an aluminum lid so I feel okay about "cheating" a little bit on the recipe here.
For the tofu however it couldn't have been more simple. After pressing the tofu rip it apart into bite sized pieces. Then with 2 tbsp of corn starch, sprinkle it over the bowl and then with your hands mix it all together helping to coat to tofu on all sides.
She also says to add in 1 tbsp of sesame oil and 1/2 cup of soy sauce here - I didn't but only because I totally missed it! I'm sure it would have tasted even better had I done this extra step.
Then lay the tofu out on a pan and bake in the oven for 25 min at 400F. After baking, I put mine in a bowl with some broccoli and covered in sesame sauce! It was delicious. You could put it over rice too but I just didn't because I was eating rice a lot the week before and just wasn't in the mood for it.
I hope that these recipes help convince you to give trying tofu a try! Honestly, you can buy a block of tofu for ~$1 at any grocery store and one block typically makes about 2-3 meals worth for me, so it's a rather cheap thing to try once! Plus it's a huge amount of protein (36 grams per block) and no cholesterol so it's great for you too. Happy eating!
I think the hardest part of going zero waste for me has been surrounding meal times. I find that so much of the stuff I need to make a meal come in some kind of plastic packaging because of what's available to me. It's a huge relief to me when I think of a great meal to make that I already know and love and is easily low-waste too. Last week I decided to make egg fried rice for dinner and it was easy, delicious, and could be done with zero waste as well.
I love fried rice as a go-to meal because you can make it with whatever you have on hand, plus it's really easy to make and change up too.
To make fried rice you want to use a large pan or wok and heat up some oil, then you want to put in your leftover rice (this is important: if you cook the rice fresh to use it will just turn out mushy so make sure it's been in the fridge for at least 30 minutes). After you fry the rice up for a minute or so, add in all the vegetables you want and cook for another few minutes. After that, add in a few eggs and cook for a few more minutes. Add in some soy sauce, salt, pepper, etc. and you're all set for a great meal!
For vegetables I like to add in roasted red peppers from a jar or you can use raw red peppers too, onions, carrots, spinach, broccoli and even pineapple! Trust me on the pineapple, it's amazing. We didn't necessarily add everything on the same night either. One night we did the peppers, onions, carrots and frozen peas. The next night we did peppers, onions, pineapple and broccoli! The frozen peas did come in a plastic bag but you don't need to buy them if you prefer, everything else we got in glass, aluminum, or package free.
What are your favorite zero-waste meals? Let me know in the comments below!
This week I really wanted to make quesadillas, a favorite meal of mine, for lunches. But I wanted to make them as low waste as possible. I saw a video recently where someone had made their own tortillas and I thought I might be able to do the same to make my lunches.
Normally I would never attempt to do such a thing, but during quarantine I’ve become used to making breads, pastas, and even pizza dough by hand! So I felt confident enough to give the tortillas a shot.
Not only were these really easy to make, they saved me money because the only four ingredients the recipe called for I had at home already.
This is the recipe that I used to make my tortillas, but I’ll summarize below.
I took pictures of the process below to better show exactly what I was doing!
I not only found this recipe incredibly easy to follow, but I was also really impressed with how these came out. They looked just like the store bought ones!
For the quesadilla I added in bell peppers and onions sauteed, I got these all package free. I also added some cheese that we had in the fridge, and some spinach which we had frozen. To go with it I added some black beans and rice. And that’s how I got this delicious low-waste lunch for the week! This could also easily be a great weeknight dinner if you don't work from home like I do at the moment.
Edit: at the end of the week my tortillas were quite stale, I ripped apart what I had left and tossed them on a pan in the oven at 325F for about 20 min and make my own tortilla chips out them!
Zero Waste Pumpkin & Oat Muffins!
Yes it's January and yes I am eating pumpkin muffins. Why? Because they're zero waste and we still had a can of pumpkin puree leftover from fall. And they're good so I'm not going to limit myself to eating them only in the month of October.
If you know me, you know that muffins are a breakfast staple of mine. So it makes sense that this was my next "zero waste challenge" to tackle. Plus, I enjoy baking and muffins seemed like an easy way to start transitioning to a low waste breakfast.
Recipe I used was by Cookie and Kate and can be found here. I'll give the breakdown below here:
They were really that simple! And they were delicious. I'm definitely going to be repeating this recipe again soon. Also, since I had all of these ingredients on hand they were basically free :). Let me know if you have any low-waste muffin recipes in the comments below!
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.