Last WIAW, I mentioned a new tofu concoction I created to accompany a delicious bowl of green soup, enriched at the last minute with a touch of coconut milk. Previously avoiding the tropical fruit, heavy in saturated fat, I adamantly rejected any recipe featuring its milk or shredded form, under the unfortunate stigma that any type of sat-fat harms your health. However, after further researching the nutritional profile of coconuts, I discovered a vast array of benefits rather than concerns. Let’s have a look-see:
- Lower in sugar and higher in protein than most other fruits.
- Great source of fiber, vitamin E, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.
- Has antimicrobical properties (effective for treating candida).
Sweet! Awesome! I’m game! Ooh, but hold on…what about that pesky saturated fat I mentioned earlier? It turns out that lauric acid, a rare medium-chain fatty acid, comprises 50% of the total fats found in coconut. Rather than skyrocketing LDL “bad” cholesterol like most other saturated fats, lauric acid raises HDL “good” cholesterol essential for hormone regulation and other metabolic functions.
Thus…well, I’ll cede my thus-ing for this particular post to Sayward, who sums up incorporating coconuts into the diet with great insight:
“So what’s the bottom line? I believe that in a plant-strong, whole foods diet – in my diet – coconut oil is an awesome, health-promoting food. I think that if somebody is eating a diet that’s rich in animal proteins, animal-sourced saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol, than coconut oil may not be the best choice . . . but really, then coconut oil is probably the least of their worries!”
On to the recipe! After simmering up that green soup, a cup of leftover coconut milk sat refrigerating in a Tupperware container, begging for culinary implementation. “Oh, woe is me! I want to be made into delicious food but alas, I don’t know how!” the poor coconut milk lamented. A box of tofu, its tiny soy ears perking up at the desperate plea, declared in a Superman-esque voice, “Fear not, dear Coco! I have the perfect job for you.”
And thus bore my coconut-marinated tofu. The recipe doesn’t punch you in the face with flavor per se, but it certainly invokes a mild coconutty air. Next time I experiment with a coconut milk marinade, I’ll probably double or triple the amount of seasonings (especially the cilantro) and add a couple cloves of minced garlic and a dash of tamari.
Coconut-Lime Baked Tofu (Gluten Free, Oil Free)
- 1 16-oz block firm tofu, pressed (I pressed mine overnight for optimal texture).
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger (By all means, use minced fresh ginger if it’s on hand. Sadly, I didn’t have any in my refrigerator when I concocted this recipe).
Cut the tofu into shapes of your preference—thick slabs, strips, cubes, whatever your heart desires. Combine all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag, seal tightly, and squish around to adequately coat the tofu. Let marinate in the refrigerator for as long as possible (8 hours or overnight is best, but you could probably get away with just an hour).
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lay the tofu pieces on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, basting the tofu with the remaining marinade twice (once after 10 minutes, once after 20 minutes).
Local Ingredients: Tofu from the Simple Soyman.
Recipe submitted to Wellness Weekend.
After augmenting my green soup meal with the tofu, I threw it into salads throughout the week—a welcome addition to my daily lunch boxes.
Comment Provoking Questions: How do you feel about coconut milk? How do you use it in your culinary ventures? Any recipes you swear by involving the tropical fruit?
Until next time, Ali.