Gluten Free Coconut Crusted Tofu with Apricot Salsa


Coconut crusted tofu with apricot salsaReminiscent of coconut crusted shrimp, these tofu pieces are warm and creamy on the inside while nicely crusted on the outside.  Paired with the sweet-hot bite of the apricot salsa, this one is a nicely balanced forkful of colorful, healthy yum. 

Coconut crusted tofu with Apricot Salsa
¾ block firm tofu, drained and sliced into 4 pieces
1/3 cup arrowroot powder
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ cup rice flour
¼ cup almond meal (optional, but adds nice nutty flavor and enhances color)
salt and pepper

¼ block firm tofu, drained
½ cup almond milk
4 Tbsp lime juice

Salsa
1 apricot, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Thai red chili paste
1 tsp lime juice

  1. Prep the salsa so the flavors have time to combine.  Toss everything with the chili paste and lime juice until well combined.  Taste.  If you need to adjust the seasoning, do it.  Add a bit of honey, maple syrup or agave if you need a bit of sweet to cut the heat.
  2. For the tofu, drain the block and wrap it in a clean kitchen towel.  Set a heavy pan on top of the wrapped tofu for 10-15 minutes to encourage the moisture to drain.
  3. In the meantime, combine the coconut flakes, rice flour and salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Set aside.
  4. Pull out your Vitamix or blender and whiz the ¼ block of tofu, almond milk and lime juice until smooth.  Pour into a bowl.
  5. Heat a skillet and a few tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil.
  6. Slice the pressed tofu into 6-8 pieces.  Dust each piece in arrowroot, then dip into the blended tofu/almond milk/lime mix until coated.  Finally dredge in the coconut/rice flour mixture before placing in the skillet.  Repeat with remaining pieces.  Cook on each side for about 4 minutes or until golden.
  7. Serve a slice or two of tofu topped with apricot salsa and a beautiful mix of greens for a tasty lunch or light dinner.

 

Note:  I am not a huge fan of tofu.  My preference is to use soy in a occasional way and mostly as edamame (because it is the whole, fresh bean) or miso (because it is fermented and easier on the digestive system).  On occasion, a bit of tofu will make it to our plates.  It is definitely not the staple in my kitchen that it was when I was transitioning off of chicken.

The long and short of the soy story is that it is both good and bad…  On the plus side, soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Sticking to whole soy foods like edamame, minimally processed soy food like tofu and fermented soy foods like tempeh, miso and tamari is the way to go.
Once we look at commercially popular fractionated foods like processed soymilk, isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate we start to see big problems.  The solvents used to make these products are nasty and simply not something you want to be injesting.  Aside from the processed aspect, soy can be very difficult to digest, so the closer to the whole bean the better… and the more fermented, the easier on the digestive system.  Soy beans are also one of the most highly genetically modified crops in the US.  When eating a soy product, choose ORGANIC to avoid the horror of the GMO.  For those of you using infant formula that is soy based, please, please, choose organic for this reason.

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