As I search for new and exciting ways to cook (or not to cook) food, one ingredient that has always been very foreign to me is TOFU! I see it in everything at the store from vegan cream cheese to miso soup. I like it in miso soup but the FAKE vegan products like vegan-aise and soy yogurt — I still can not wrap my taste-buds around them. In fact, I have developed many recipes that do NOT include tofu or soy because I quite frankly do not the flavor of it, especially in soy yogurt or other dishes commercially produced–I would rather go without! I do say that I have probably tried it in just about every application. Since I do not like the general flavor some of these store bought products offer, I had to come up with non-soy versions while still adhering to a vegan lifestyle. This prompted me to research and develop new recipes. Although some tofu is palatable (like the firm tofu I put in my miso soup or grill), I feel that it needs to be used or cooked right. One of my first articles I wrote was about TOFU and how it is the other “white meat” (get the article here). I wrote this article in hopes of educating people that tofu can actually be a great vegan protein source. The flavor can be mild and just like other RAW ingredients, it takes on the flavor of what and how you cook it. I personally like to cut it up and marinate it or give it a quick browning in the pan to enhance its flavor. Since I like the veggie side of life, tofu is a great way to add an ingredient that is healthy and high in protein. YES I get all of my protein from a vegan diet but not just from veggies and fruits. I do eat seeds, nuts and beans to help keep the numbers at what my body needs including using soy beans like tofu. Even though it is good for me, I admit that I only like it certain ways like in my TOFU VEGGIE STUFFED PEPPERS.
I believe that an all veggie stuffed pepper is a great way to not only skip the grain, bread or gluten, but it is another opportunity to get creative. Since this recipe uses fresh, vibrant and robust flavors, the ingredient list is simple AND grain/ gluten/ dairy FREE! I know that all of us think of stuffed peppers standardly as containing rice, cheese and bread crumbs- but this recipe does not. I challenge you to at least make this recipe once and you will see that the “stuffed pepper standard” need not apply!
A CHEF’S TIP: Always choose vibrant, blemish free and firm peppers. I like to pick colorful ones like orange, red and yellow bell peppers because they contain more vitamin C and flavor than green peppers. Also I use extra firm sprouted organic tofu, I think it has the best texture and flavor.
8 ounce extra firm sprouted organic tofu, gluten free (packed in water)
1 teaspoon raw organic unrefined coconut oil
4 large organic bell peppers, any mixture of colors
1/4 cup medium diced organic yellow onion
4 large cloves organic garlic, peeled and fine chopped
2 medium organic zucchini squash, large dice
1 medium organic jalapeño, remove the stem and small dice the meat
1/2 cup filtered water
Large wok with a fitting lid
steaming basket (the kind that flowers open)
Cut your tofu in to medium cubes. In a large wok, heat the oil on high until melted. Add the tofu in and stir fry until all sides are golden brown. Remove from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl. Lay your peppers on their sides and cut the tops off 1/2 inch below the stem. Now cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Medium chop the pepper meat that is left from the top and discard the stem. Add the chopped pepper to the mixing bowl. Now add the onion, garlic, zucchini and jalapeño, mix well, this is your stuffing. Lay a large steaming basket in your wok. Arrange the pepper halves cut side up so they will hold the stuffing without tipping over. Now spoon in 1/8th of the stuffing into each pepper piled high, pick up any ingredients that my fall out and put back into the pepper. Add the water to the bottom of the wok and cover. Place the covered wok on high heat and steam the peppers for 10 minutes until the pepper is semi-soft and the zucchini is semi-clear . Gently remove from the wok and serve. ENJOY!