This is an easy go-to dinner for any night of the week! I regularly use coconut oil to sauté because unlike most oils it does not turn to a trans fat when heated to high temperatures and it provides short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. Also, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries.
The tofu in these tacos may help lower LDL, or bad, cholesterol and triglyceride levels contributing to a healthy heart. Tofu is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, another heart-healthy substance which help the blood clot properly. These fatty acids are also necessary for the nervous system and brain development in unborn children. One serving of tofu contains 18% of an adults daily requirement for protein which is important in building muscle. It also contains a healthy amount of iron, manganese, copper, selenium and calcium. These nutrients help to maintain energy levels, protect against a myriad of cancers and fight bone diseases such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Because tofu is nutrient dense and a low caloric food it can be a great food to help maintain a healthy weight.
Seasoning the tofu with cumin adds many benefits to these tacos. Cumin is exceptionally rich in iron which makes the blood richer in hemoglobin, the substance that transports oxygen to all the cells of the body. It has powerful antioxidant properties which help to strengthen the immune system. Research indicates that cumin may slow the growth of breast and colon cancer cells and effectively scavenges for free radicals throughout the body. Cumin may help boost the metabolism and facilitate the absorption of nutrients contributing to healthy weight maintenance. It is believed that consuming cumin will make childbirth easier and improve the milk supply of nursing mothers.
The corn in the tortillas of these tacos and also in the salsa provides necessary minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper and selenium which are essential for normal growth, bone health and kidney function. Corn is a fantastic source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble fiber binds with cholesterol from the liver. It then passes from the body taking the cholesterol with it. Corn is also rich in folate which helps to lower levels of homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine can damage blood vessels leading to a heart attack or stroke. The fiber in corn also keeps the digestive system healthy thus lowering the risk of colon cancer. Corn is a rich source of ferulic acid, an anti-cancer agent which fights against breast cancer and liver cancer. It also contains beta-cryptoxanthin, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties that can be associated with reduced risk of lung cancer.
CUMIN-CRUSTED TOFU TACOS WITH AVOCADO SALSA AND CHIPOTLE CREAM
For the tofu:
2 T ground cumin
2 t paprika
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 lbs. extra firm tofu, pressed
2-3 T coconut oil*
For the salsa:
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, peeled and cubed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from 1 large lime
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
For the chipotle cream:
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 (12 oz.) container non-dairy sour cream (Tofutti)
2 cups spinach leaves
16-20 corn tortillas
Press the tofu by removing from package, wrap in several layers of paper towels and place on a plate. Place another plate, upside-down, on top of tofu and a heavy book on top to gently press out the remaining liquid. Allow to press for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Combine the 4 seasoning ingredients to make a rub. Place all the salsa ingredients in a serving bowl, toss to combine and set aside. Add the chipotle chiles and soy sour cream to a Blendtec* blender and whirl for about a minute. Pour into a serving container. Remove paper towels from tofu and place on a cutting board. Slice each block in half to make thinner blocks and then slice each into eight sticks. Slice the sticks in half so as to make sixteen tofu sticks from each of two 1 lb. blocks. With the tofu laid out on a cutting board sprinkle half of the seasoning mix on top of the sticks and gently rub or press into the tofu. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. Place the tofu, seasoned side down, in the skillet. Sprinkle the remaining seasoning on the tofu while in the pan. This may need to be done in two batches. When the tofu is heated and a slight crust has formed flip to heat the other side. When thoroughly heated, toss gently to coat all sides with the seasonings. Assemble tacos by placing tofu sticks, salsa and spinach in the corn tortillas as desired. Drizzle with the chipotle cream. Serves 8.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com