I’m excited to share with you one of my favorite snacks: lemon, basil and pink peppercorn marinated tofu. I love using tofu in recipes. In addition to its health benefits, I love its firm texture and the fact that it takes on the flavor of any marinade beautifully. Here I use pink peppercorns which aren’t necessarily in everyone’s pantry, but maybe they should be! I absolutely love them. They’re not actually peppercorns at all but are berries from a South American shrub. While they have a mild peppery bite, they are also very fruity and are great in marinades and sauces. They can be eaten whole or crushed. If you don’t have pink peppercorns, just leave them out. There really isn’t a good substitution and you’ll still love the recipe! The base is a basic lemon vinaigrette with sweet basil. I like these straight out of the jar, or on a cracker.
Benefits of Soy products
I feel like there’s a lot of confusion around soy products. For me, soy products like tofu are a nutrient dense, great source of lean protein and one I use often. Unlike other plant proteins, tofu contains all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t make on its own. It contains several anti-inflammatory, antioxidant phytochemicals which battle free radicals and inflammation in the body.
Some of the confusion around soy stems from the misunderstanding around isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogens are compounds found in plants and that mimic your body’s own estrogen. If you’re getting phytoestrogens from plant based foods, it’s unlikely you’ll ingest enough for adverse effect. In fact, according to the National Institute or Health (NIH) the health benefits of soy are many, including a lowered risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal and endometrial cancer, and menopausal symptoms. Read more from the NIH here
Cautions around soy products
There is also the GMO concern. Soy is a crop that is frequently genetically modified, making it more tolerant to herbicides. So, basically you can expose it to more of them. Not good! The good news is that I’ve found non GMO and organic tofu easily sourced at local supermarkets. If you want to learn more, this article is comprehensive. https://livingnongmo.org/learn/gmo-faq/?
So, my message is, don’t fear the tofu and buy organic if possible, but always look for the Non GMO label!
What you’ll need for this recipe:
- Olive oil
- Pink peppercorns
- 1 12 oz block of tofu, water pressed out
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tsp pink pepper corns
- ½ cup torn basil
- ½ cup olive oil
- Press tofu for at least 30 minutes wrapped in kitchen towels and by placing a heavy pan or plate with cans or jars on top
- Whisk remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl
- Cube tofu and place into the marinade
- let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes tossing occasionally. (dressing will not completely cover the tofu.
- Will keep for at least a week in the fridge.