Do you like tofu? I LOVE it! I don’t eat it often enough for some reason. This recipe is my version of one that came from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. The idea behind Jessica’s books are to take recipes that are family favourites and boost up the nutritional content of them. The title reflects the fact that in many of her recipes she “hides” vegetables and other such items in the foods by pureeing them and blending them in so that the children can’t tell that they are there. You may think this is a genius idea or you may think this is a terrible idea; genius because what a great way to get your kids eating more vegetables and other nutritious ingredients, especially that they might not normally eat or terrible because then the kids aren’t eating and learning to like the foods in their “normal unhidden” states.
Personally, I agree with both sides. I used to “hide” ingredients within dishes that I would fix for my daughter that I knew she wouldn’t eat so that I was sure she was getting the nutrients she needed BUT I would also serve her those ingredients without hiding them and get her to try a bite from time to time. I would tell her that people’s tastes change (clearly since the last time we ate dinner out, my daughter not only ate all of her veggies but ate them first!) and so she should try it again. Also, I find that nowadays I’m often dining alone. So if I purchase a squash, I either have to eat squash every day for several days (and so I might tire of it) or I have to freeze some of it for later use. Also, because of appetite issues and my health issues, it’s very difficult sometimes for me to get enough of the fruits and vegetable servings in without getting too full or feeling overwhelmed. So for me to have some as they are and to have others as ingredients within my main dishes as well works beautifully. To me, this is the best of both worlds – putting in extra nutrients wherever you can but still enjoying as many of those items without hiding them as much as you can as well. You’ll have to decide what works best for you.
These tofu nuggets are a great substitute for chicken nuggets. I generally serve them with some homemade oven fries – white and sweet potato – that I make by cutting potatoes into strips, dipping them into egg white (adds a lovely crunch), and you can then even apply some seasoning to them like your favourite herbs or spices like paprika. I bake them in a hot oven until they reach the desired “doneness”.
1/2 Panko crumbs
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 T. flaxseed meal
1 T. grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 cup vegetable puree – in the book she suggests spinach, broccoli, or peas but I’ve found that a carrot, squash, or corn puree works well here too
1 egg, beaten
14 oz. tofu (extra firm works best here)
Nonstick cooking spray like Pam
1 T. olive oil or something similar
Instructions: Mix together the dry ingredients (from crumbs to paprika) and put aside as this will be your breading mixture. In another bowl, mix the vegetable puree and egg together – this will be what helps the crumbs stick to the tofu. Cut the tofu pieces into cubes about 1/2 inch in size – or Seinfeld suggests cutting the tofu to a thickness of 1/2 inch and then using cookie cutters to make them into fun shapes. Sprinkle the tofu pieces with a little salt, dip them into the egg mixture, and then roll them until completely coated in the crumb mixture. Spray a skillet with Pam, place over medium high heat, and then add your chosen oil. Cook the nuggets for about 3-4 minutes on the first side, and then 2-3 on the other. Be sure to put them in a single layer in the pan and not to crowd them to allow them to cook properly and create and nice crisp, golden coating on them. There are lots of options for dipping sauces but some of my favourites are cranberry sauce, applesauce, or yogurt that has been seasoned with your favourite herbs and spices.