Tag Archives: pudding

Tofu: the Culinary Chameleon

5 Feb

Tofu seems to be gaining a little bit more respect from the masses than it used to garner.  Nevertheless, I think it’s safe to say that it’s still considered to be bland and unappealing by most.

One of the beautiful things about tofu is that it easily takes on the flavour of other ingredients.  It’s truly a bona-fide culinary chameleon.  After a conversation about protein with a couple of friends several weeks back (you know– a usual Saturday night topic of discussion!), I went looking for a hummus recipe that incorporates silken tofu.  I thought this might lend a nice creamy texture to hummus while adding protein of a higher biological value.

The recipe I found was titled “The Most Awesome Hummus Ever.”  While tasty, I still think “my” spicy roasted red pepper hummus is the most awesome. Ever. No question about it.

Tofu and Chickpea Hummus

The tofu-hummus was a milder, creamier version of traditional hummus.  Initially, I wasn’t sure if I was a fan– the chickpea flavour wasn’t nearly as potent as I’m used to– but over time I really came to enjoy its subtleness.  This hummus is also a lot creamier than usual (thanks to the tofu), making it ideal for dipping.  Like a fine wine, this hummus gets better with age.  Wait at least one hour to taste this hummus, particularly if you’re weary of tofu in the first place.  The tofu flavour is just barely noticeable at first but vanishes with time.

With the extra tofu, I decided to make silken chocolate pudding.  A true testament to the chameleon nature of tofu: the same ingredient was used in both a garlicky hummus and a rich chocolately dessert!  Believe it or not, the tofu was virtually undetectable in the pudding (again, providing you allow the pudding to sit for at least one hour).  If you can’t resist the temptation to lick the bowl/spatula/any other surface that comes in contact with the chocolate pudding… be warned: you will taste the tofu, and you’ll probably be turned off of the entire dessert.  However, if you’re patient the result is an incredibly rich, chocolately mousse-like pudding… that also happens to be high in protein for a dessert.  It’s particularly amazing topped with sliced bananas. Yum!

Silken Chocolate Pudding

 

Chickpea and Tofu Hummus  (from Circle B Kitchen)

1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup silken/soft tofu  (approx a third of a package)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Blend ingredients in food processor until very smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and cover. Let sit at room temperature for an hour before serving.  Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.

Makes approximately 2.5 cups.  Per 1/3 cup serving: 110 kcal, 5 g fat, 5 g protein, 2.5 g fibre, 175 mg sodium.

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Silken Chocolate Pudding
(from Moosewood Restaurant’s Cooking for Health cookbook)

This is the scaled down version of the recipe, which will allow you to use up all of the tofu leftover from the hummus.

2/3rds of a 16oz package of silken tofu
2 tablespoons icing sugar
5 ounces semisweet chocolate (I’ve used as little as 3 ounces and it still tastes sufficiently chocolately)
4 tablespoons water (or milk)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. In a food processor, whirl the tofu and icing sugar until well blended.  In the microwave, warm the chocolate, water/milk, cocoa, and vanilla until the chocolate melts.  Stir until thoroughly mixed. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
  2. Pour the chocolate sauce into the food processor with the tofu mixture.  Whirl again until smooth and silky.
  3. Spoon into 4 serving cups and chill for at least one hour.  Tastes best if left to sit overnight.

Per 1/3 cup serving (of 4): 245 calories, 14 g fat, 6 g protein, 3 g fibre, 9 mg sodium.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia! Pudding

10 Jul

Remember Chia pets?  I never owned one but the commercials always gave me a little chuckle. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to take a peek)

The seeds used to grow the Chia pet’s “fur” are– you guessed it– chia seeds, and they just so happen to be a nutritional powerhouse.  One serving (2 tablespoons) contains 5 grams of fibre and 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (approximately double the recommended minimum intake).  In addition, chia seeds are a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, and selenium.

Chia Seeds

How to eat chia seeds, you ask?  They are neutral in flavour and can be eaten raw so the sky’s the limit.  The brilliant thing about them is that they absorb liquid readily, forming an interesting gel-like consistency.  For this reason, they’ve become popular as a thickening agent in smoothies and as an egg substitute in vegan baked goods.

I tried eating them raw but I wasn’t thrilled with their crunchy texture (it was like eating a mouthful of poppy seeds), not to mention the fact that I ended up with most of the seeds lodged between my teeth.  Unwilling to give up, I did some Googling and stumbled across my new favourite (healthy) dessert: chia pudding.

The concept sounds odd, the pudding itself looks even more bizarre (check out the photo below), but there’s something about this chia pudding that has me hooked!  It perfectly satisfies my post-dinner chocolate craving and the fibre makes it rather filling.

Note: Chia seeds can be purchased at bulk food stores.  There are two varieties: black chia seeds (Salvia hispanica) and white chia seeds (Salba), with both varieties considered to be equally nutritious.

Chocolate Chia Pudding


Chocolate Chia Pudding
(adapted from OhSheGlows.com)

2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup hot water + 3/4 cup cold or room temperature water
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups soy milk (or cow’s milk, or almond milk, etc.)
2 tbsp maple syrup/honey/sweetener of your choice

  1. Mix cocoa powder with hot water in a large bowl.  Stir with a fork until cocoa clumps disappear.  Add cold water and stir.
  2. Add chia seeds and soy milk.  Stir continuously for 1 minute, ensuring that all seeds have come into contact with the liquid.
  3. Add sweetener of your choice.  Stir pudding every 10 minutes, for 30 minutes.  Serve immediately, if desired, or divide pudding into 4 bowls and refrigerate.  Note: Pudding will thicken as it sits.  For best results, let sit overnight.  This gives you an extra-thick pudding.   

Makes 4 servings, approximately 1 cup each.  Per serving: 130 kcal, 6 g fat, 6 g fibre