Tag Archives: tofu

Healthing up holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Maybe I’m just a little out of it due to my recent follow up brain surgery. Or maybe because it barely feels like fall here in Georgia since the leaves in our backyard have just started to turn red, gold, orange and brown. Yet, it’s holiday party and entertaining time!

I’m always on the lookout for healthy and easy to make appetizers and this one from the folks at Prosciutto di Parma fits the bill. I don’t know about you, but I love the taste of bacon wrapped anything when it comes to appetizers – dates, mushrooms, scallops, and so on. But not very healthy, right? Well, you can still get that wonderful salty pork flavor, avoid the grease, and make a much more sophisticated and elegant appetizer with prosciutto. Best of all Prosciutto di Parma is 100% all-natural and gluten free – perfect since so many people have issues with gluten these days.

You can take slices of prosciutto and wrap them around asparagus spears or melon. Or try them in this recipe for Prosciutto di Parma Caramele. The prosciutto is wrapped around a simple-yet-delicious filling of fresh ricotta cheese and herbs to look just like little Italian candies, or carameles. Make this even healthier by using a low fat ricotta.

If you have dairy free guests, substitute extra firm tofu for the ricotta. Use a blender to make the tofu smooth and then add the parsley, chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper to it. If you find the mixture is too dry or maybe missing a little flavor, add some fresh squeezed lemon juice to the tofu mixture.

Holiday entertaining: Prosciutto di Parma Caramele appetizers | At This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Prosciutto di Parma Caramele

Recipe courtesy of Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti


  • 16 ounces ricotta, strained overnight
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chervil, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces Prosciutto di Parma (approximately 16 slices)
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large bowl, combine strained ricotta, parsley, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the chives, chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper; mix until herbs are evenly distributed; set aside.
  2. On a cutting board, cut each slice of Prosciutto di Parma into 2 to 3 squares. Place a heaping teaspoon of ricotta mixture onto the center of each square; roll prosciutto around ricotta mixture so that the seam faces down. Gently pinch the two ends of the roll to achieve the shape of a caramel.
  3. Repeat with remaining prosciutto and ricotta mixture. Drizzle caramele with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of chives.
Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: Makes 16 servings
  • Serving size: 1 appetizer

Recipe and photo used with permission

Marinated Vegetables with Tofu cooked three ways

Grilled Marinated Vegetables with Tofu #hollandhousecw

My husband likes to go mushroom hunting in the forest behind our home. A couple of weeks ago he came home with a Berkeley's Polypore. If you find a young one (the older ones are too tough) you can eat them as long as marinate them overnight. I used a vegetable marinade recipe from The Wild Vegan Cookbook: A Forager's Culinary Guide (in the Field or in the Supermarket) to Preparing and Savoring Wild (and Not So Wild) Natural Foods, which I found on the author’s website.

Since the mushrooms reminded me of cooked marinated tofu, I thought I’d try doing something similar with store bought vegetable and tofu, and would improve the marinade using Holland House’s new Champagne Vinegar and a few additional ingredients like soybean paste and lemon grass.

To sauté: place in a hot skillet and cook until done, stirring occasionally. To roast: preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place vegetables and tofu in a large roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables and cook for another 15-20 minutes until done. Combine ginger, lemon grass, oil, wine, Worcestershire sauces, Holland House vinegar, soybean paste and sorghum in a large, non-reactive glass or plastic bowl.

I tried cooking the vegetables three different ways – sautéing on the stove top, roasting in the oven, and grilling in a grill basket. Grilling gave the vegetables a smoky, grilled flavor and the tofu tasted like hamburgers done on the grill. This would be a perfect party recipe for your vegan or vegetarian guests! However, I preferred roasting them in the oven, since that method brought out the flavors of the vegetables and the marinade. Sautéing had a similar effect, but required a bit more effort.

You can serve the vegetables hot as a side dish or cold as a roasted or grilled vegetable salad.

If you cannot find soybean paste, you can use 1 tablespoon of soy or tamari sauce instead. Instead of sorghum, you can use honey or agave nectar.

Grilled Marinated Vegetables with Tofu #hollandhousecw

Marinated Vegetables with Tofu

Based on a recipe from The Wild Vegan Cookbook


  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh lemon grass
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup Holland House Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soybean paste
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2” thick cubes
  • 1 pound fresh vegetables (peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, etc.) cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1/2 to 1 cup water (optional)


  1. Combine ginger, lemon grass, oil, wine, Worcestershire sauces, Holland House vinegar, soybean paste and sorghum in a large, non-reactive glass or plastic bowl. Stir with a whisk until sorghum has combined with other ingredients.
  2. Cut up tofu and place into bowl.
  3. Cut up vegetables and place into bowl.
  4. Put the cloves and black peppercorns in a stainless steel mesh tea and cooking infuser, a hop bag , or tie into a piece of cheesecloth. Place into center of marinating vegetables.
  5. If needed, add water to bowl so marinade covers vegetables and tofu.
  6. Cover and marinate overnight, stirring once or twice if possible.
  7. Drain in a colander and cook as follows.

To grill:

  1. Place vegetables and tofu and grill over a low flame until done.

To roast:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place vegetables and tofu in a large roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. Stir vegetables and cook for another 15-20 minutes until done.

To sauté:

  1. Place in a hot skillet and cook until done, stirring occasionally.
Prep Time: 12 Hours
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 to 6
  • Serving size: 1 to 2 cups

Meatless Monday: Tofu Chili #vegan #glutenfree

Meatless Monday: Tofu Chili #vegan #glutenfree

Between the finches visiting our bird feeders and the trees starting to blossom, spring is certainly in the air here in northeastern Georgia. We’ve even managed to eat a couple of dinners outside on the deck, though we had to wear light jackets and sweaters. Even though it’s warming up, there’s never a bad time for a hot bowl of chili, especially on Meatless Mondays when you can substitute healthy tofu and beans for ground turkey or beef.

This vegan chili recipe from the folks at House Foods is high in protein and low in fat. With the extra vitamin C from the chili pods and the capsaicin revving up your metabolism, House Foods’ Tofu Chili is packed with both flavor and health benefits. House Foods Premium Tofu is non-GMO verified, made from certified organic soybeans grown in the US, kosher-verified and gluten free.

While great on its own, try serving the tofu chili on brown rice or quinoa.

Tofu Chili

Recipe by House Foods


  • 1 package House Foods Tofu Extra Firm, drained and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 large clove)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1  16-ounce can kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can low sodium tomato sauce
  • dash paprika


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender. 
  2. Add vegetable broth, bell pepper, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and kidney beans, stirring to combine.
  3. Add tomato sauce and simmer for about 30 minutes or until kidney beans and peppers are cooked through.
  4. Add cubed tofu and cook additional minute or two.  Serve and enjoy!

Recipe and photo provided by House Foods and used with permission.

Meatless Monday: Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry #meatlessmonday #glutenfree

Tofu and Green BeansThis week’s Meatless Monday post comes to you courtesy of San-J and Carol Kicinski, renowned chef, food writer and gluten free blogger at Simply…Gluten Free. Carol created a quick and easy weeknight dish that only uses six nutritious ingredients, which you can use as either a main or a side dish.

I always have a bottle of San-J Gluten-Free Tamari in my cupboard, which I substitute for regular soy sauce. San-J also sells an organic version, which I like even better. Both versions have a low sodium variety as well – love how San-J gives us lots of choices!

Tofu and Green Beans

Tofu and Green Bean Stir Fry

by Carol Kicinski of Simply…Gluten Free


  • 1/4 cup San-J Gluten-Free Tamari
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free sweet chili garlic sauce
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons oil, use divided
  • 1 pound green beans, cleaned trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces


  1. Combine the San-J Gluten-Free Tamari with the chili garlic sauce, set aside.
  2. Cut tofu into 1/2 inch cubes, pat dry with paper towels and put into a mixing bowl with the cornstarch, toss to coat.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat until it starts to shimmer, add half the tofu in an even layer in the pan. Cook the tofu undisturbed for 2 minutes. Gently flip and stir the tofu. Continue to cook and stir until the tofu is lightly golden brown on all sides, 3 - 4 minutes. Remove the tofu to a plate and set aside. Heat 1 more tablespoon of oil in the pan and cook the remaining tofu the same way. Remove from pan.
  4. Reduce heat to medium; add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the green beans. Cook the green beans, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup of water and continue to cook the beans for 3 minutes or until they are bright green and crisp tender. Increase the heat back up to high, add the reserved sauce mixture and boil for 1 minute or until it reduces slightly.
  5. Add the tofu and cook for 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side dish
  • Serving size: 1/r4 to 1/6 of recipe

Recipe and photo used with permission.

Disclosure: San-J recently sent me samples of their gluten free products to try out. All experiences and opinions are my own.

Healthy holiday desserts: Chocolate Ginger Mousse

Chocolate Ginger MousseIt’s always a challenge to cook up healthy desserts for the holidays. That’s why I’m sharing this recipe for Chocolate Ginger Mousse from Chef Anthony Stewart, Executive Chef of the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa. Regular chocolate mousse can tally up 8 grams of artery-clogging saturated fat, which is more saturated fat than many cheeseburgers! There’s zero saturated fat in Pritikin’s Chocolate Ginger Mousse.

Chef Anthony has worked with thousands of guests to create healthier versions of their favorite, tasty foods. He’s won accolades worldwide, including five gold medals in top culinary competitions, for his masterful use of foodstuffs like fresh seafood and tropical fruit from his native Jamaica. When not in the kitchen, he’s in the classroom, and has inspired thousands of Pritikin guests “to have some fun!”

For more information about Pritikin, please visit pritikin.com.

Chocolate Ginger Mousse


  • 4 ounces Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Splenda
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 12 ounces firm or extra firm silken tofu
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger juice (Slice off skin of ginger root, then grate the root and squeeze to extract juice.)
  • Optional garnish: 4 fresh raspberries


  1. In a small stainless steel bowl, combine cocoa powder, Splenda and hot water. Stir till mixture has a smooth, thick, fudge-like consistency, adding more water as you stir, if needed.
  2. In a food processor, blend tofu till completely smooth, about 10 seconds. Then add fudge, vanilla extract, and ginger juice, and blend until smooth.
  3. Place mixture in parfait glasses. If desired, garnish each glass with a raspberry, and serve cold.

This Mama’s tips

  • Party serving idea: place the mousse in a mini dessert glass and garnish with a single raspberry and mint leaf.
  • For variation, add mint leaves or mint extract, or sugar-free orange marmalade.
  • You can also garnish with a few shavings of dark or white chocolate.

Recipe and photograph courtesy of Pritikin.

Thanksgiving meal planning: Moist Tofu Cornbread

Moist Tofu Cornbread at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

As an Udi’s Gluten Free Community Leader,  I know that the Thanksgiving holiday is especially hard for anyone who’s gluten free, has food sensitivities or allergies, or are just trying to eat healthy since everything seems to have wheat flour, cream, sugar, butter and nuts. That’s why we’ll be having a chat at Udi’s Gluten Free  Community next week on Wednesday, November 7 at 8 pm EST to discuss the challenges Thanksgiving brings. You can find the chat here. Hope you can join us!

It’s also why I’d like to share a recipe I got from Simply Soy, a wonderful cookbook put together by the Soyfoods Council. It was given to me earlier this year when they invited me to Iowa to learn about soybean production and the benefits of soy in your diet.

Vegan Tofu Cornbread at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Planning a Southern Thanksgiving

I’m making a southern-style Thanksgiving this year as it’s our first year living in Georgia. To me, nothing is more southern than cornbread dressing with the turkey, so I’ll be making Bon Appetit’s Cornbread, Sausage, and Pecan Dressing, but using pine nuts instead of pecans since my daughter’s allergic to nuts.

Unfortunately, most cornbread mixes contain wheat flour or “from scratch recipes” contain milk or eggs. Instead, this recipe from Didi Emmons, author of Entertaining for a Veggie Planet, uses tofu to make a dense, moist bread, and I’ve substituted an all-purpose gluten free baking mix for the flour. You can make it in any size pan, including an 8-inch square or round cake pan. It’s also a great cornbread for vegans as it contains no butter, dairy or eggs.


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free baking mix
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh or dried rosemary, optional
  • 8 ounces firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons canola oil


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil a 9×5–inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, all-purpose gluten free baking mix, baking powder, salt, and rosemary. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, squeeze the tofu through your hands until it is the consistency of scrambled eggs. Stir in the oil and 1 cup water. Add this to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. (The batter will be very dry.)
  4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
  5. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then rap the pan sharply to remove the bread, and cool the bread on a rack for at least another 20 minutes before slicing.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Servings: Makes 12 slices
  • Serving size: 1 slice

Disclosure: As a Udi's Gluten Free Community Leader I'm compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf. In addition, I was invited to an all expenses paid editor’s trip by the Soyfoods Council. All experiences and opinions are my own.

Non-Dairy Tofu Sour Cream

Non-Dairy Tofu Sour Cream from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

As promised in my Healthier Lemon Pasta post for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, here’s my version of Tofu Sour Cream is based on a recipe from the Vegan Epicurean. I made the following changes to her recipe:

Vinegar: I used NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. I find that NAKANO’s rice vinegars have a milder flavor and are less acidic, which I like. You could have a little fun with this recipe and use some of NAKANO’s flavored vinegars, too, like Roasted Garlic or Red Pepper, for a fun flavor twist.

Tofu: I was confused over the type of tofu the Vegan Epicurean used, since I’m not familiar with Mori Nu lite silken tofu (firm). Is it firm or silken? After doing a little research, I found out that all of Mori Nu’s tofus are silken and come in soft, firm or extra firm. However, other brands’ silken tofus are actually soft tofus, which are good for soups, dips and smoothies.

I ended up using Nasoya’s Silken Tofu, so the consistency of my sour cream was very runny. This was fine for my Healthier Lemon Pasta, but next time I want to make something the consistency of sour cream, I’ll use a firm tofu. I also changed the amount of tofu used since I like using the full tub. Having a few ounces left over of tofu means I have to remember it’s in the refrigerator and use it in a recipe before it goes bad. Usually, I forget and find a science experiment waiting for me in the far reaches of the fridge. Hate that!

Lemon zest and lemon juice: I cut back on both ingredients and still could taste the lemon. That was fine since I was using it in a lemon flavored dish. However, next time I may cut back even further. I love lemon, but it doesn’t go with everything.

Non-Dairy Tofu Sour Cream from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Tofu Sour Cream

Recipe based on this recipe from the Vegan Epicurean


  • 1 (14-16 ounce) package firm tofu, preferably organic
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave, stevia or other sugar substitute
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon


  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process several minutes, until very creamy and smooth.
  2. Firms up when chilled. Refrigerate sour cream until it is ready to be used.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 10 Minutes
Servings: 2 cups
  • Serving size: varies

Connect with NAKANO

Sign up for Mizkan’s “Splash Recipe Club!” When you join the club you get exclusive recipes, access to special features and more! Each month one new member could win a $150 leading up to a grand prize of $600 in March 2013. You can also connect with NAKANO on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Disclosure: Mizkan, the parent company of NAKANO, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Healthier Lemon Pasta

Healthier Lemon Pasta at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

It’s not often that I try a new recipe and have my husband, Paul, tell me, “Hun, this is one of my favorite things you make.” So needless to stay, this month’s Secret Recipe Club dish from Jen at Jen’s Journey will be a dinner time staple at our house from now on. He loved. I loved it. The kids thought it was OK, but it disappeared off their plates. So I bet they loved it, too.

Making Lemon Pasta dairy free and gluten free

Jen’s recipe for Lemon Pasta is based on a Baked Lemon Pasta recipe from the Pioneer Woman. I’ve further modified it by substituting a tofu sour cream for the regular sour cream since I can’t eat dairy products, with the exception of cheese, because of my whey food sensitivity. (My recipe Tofu Sour Cream is based on this recipe from the Vegan Epicurean. Here's my version of the Tofu Sour Cream recipe.) If you need to avoid cheese, you can use vegan Parmesan sprinkles or skip the Parmesan altogether.

If you can have dairy, you can health up the Lemon Pasta by using a low fat sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt. I also cooked this with a buttery spread to further lower the saturated fat. I used I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light, but Earth’s Balance spreads are very good and vegan to boot. I like both brands and go back and forth depending on where I’m shopping and what’s on sale. (Note: ICBINB is not vegan as it contains a little bit of milk.)

As for pasta, I used whole wheat, but gluten free brown rice pasta would work well, too. Variation wise, I’m wondering if capers would be good in this, since capers and lemon work well together in dishes like Chicken Piccata. Or maybe some sliced black olives. Hmmmm, maybe next time!

Healthier Lemon Pasta at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Healthier Lemon Pasta


  • 1 box spaghetti
  • 4 tablespoons buttery spread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 2 cups sour cream, vegan sour cream or non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • Flat-leaf parsley, chopped – to taste for garnish, plus extra for serving


  1. Cook spaghetti al dente in salted water. Drain, rinse, and place spaghetti back in pot. Place lid on pot to keep spaghetti warm and set aside.
  2. Juice one lemon into a bowl. Strain to remove pulp and seeds.
  3. In a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over medium low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic and lemon juice. Turn off heat.
  4. Add your sour cream (or sour cream substitute) to the butter and oil mixture. Add lemon zest and salt. Stir everything together and taste. Add more salt if necessary.
  5. Pour sour cream mixture over drained spaghetti and toss. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water or milk.
  6. Place spaghetti in a large serving bowl and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  7. Serve with extra grated cheese and parsley on the side.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

More from the Secret Recipe Club!

Want to join the Secret Recipe Club? You can sign up here.

Wordless Wednesday: Making tofu at Iowa State University #soyfoods #wordlesswednesday


Whey and pressed tofu



Pressing the tofu

Making tofu is very much like making cheese, except you put soybeans and water in a blender and make milk instead of getting it from a cow, goat or sheep. To learn more about making tofu at home, read “How to make tofu—no fancy equipment required.” from La Fuji Mama.

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comAs I promised a few days ago in my post for Gluten Free Asian Cobb Salad, here’s another San-J recipe by Carol Kicinski of Simply Gluten Free.

This would be a terrific gluten free dish for Meatless Monday as it’s vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Also, even though Carol’s directions are to serve it hot, I bet it would make a terrific summer time cold pasta salad dish, too.

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Gluten Free Spicy Ginger Tofu Noodle Salad


  • 1/3 cup San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicier)
  • 1 pound gluten free brown rice fettuccini style pasta
  • Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 pound firm tofu
  • 4 ounces shitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds


  1. Whisk together the San-J Gluten Free Tamari Ginger Dressing with the garlic powder and red pepper flakes.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and rinse with hot water. Add the dressing and toss to coat.
  3. While the pasta is cooking pat the tofu dry with paper towels and cut into 1 inch pieces. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray the pay heavily with non-stick cooking spray and add the tofu pieces.
  4. Let cook for 1 – 2 minutes undisturbed or until they are golden brown. Flip the pieces over and continue cooking until browned on all sides. When the tofu is done, remove from the skillet, add to the pasta and add the mushroom slices to the hot skillet and cook until browned, stirring often, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pasta.
  5. Peel the cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, scrap out the seeds with a spoon, cut into thin slices and add to the pasta. Reserve some of the chopped cilantro for garnish and add the rest to the pasta along with the green onions and bell pepper. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the reserved cilantro leaves and the sesame seeds.
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 as entrée and 6 as appetizer
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

Recipe and photo used with permission. © 2012 San-J International. All rights reserved.

Baby Bok Choy and Tofu in Bourbon Sauce

 Baby Bok Choy Tofu Bourbon Sauce at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Meatless Monday post. Frankly, they’re a bit of a challenge since I usually cook around some sort of animal protein I can find in my freezer like venison or fish. Even so, it’s not much of a challenge for anyone to substitute slices of firm tofu instead of chicken, especially since tofu’s perfect for soaking up the flavors of anything you cook it in like Sun-Bird’s Bourbon Chicken Seasoning Mix.

Add some baby bok choy and you have a quick, Asian inspired Meatless Monday dish. You can serve this alone or add some brown rice or quinoa for a heartier dish!

Please note that Sun-Bird’s Boubon Chicken Seasoning Mix does contain wheat, so isn’t gluten free. It also contains soy and milk. Sun-Bird has many seasonings that may work better for your food sensitivities or allergies. Check the ingredient label to make sure!

Baby Bok Choy Tofu Bourbon Sauce at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Baby Bok Choy and Tofu in Bourbon Sauce

To reduce sodium use a low sodium soy sauce.


  • 1 19-20 ounce block extra firm or firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch thick squares.
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 6 baby bok choy
  • 1 packet Sun-Bird Bourbon Chicken Seasoning Mix
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons powdered stevia, like Stevia in the Raw
  • 1 cup water


  1. Prepare the baby bok choy by filling your clean sink with cold water.
  2. Slice the baby bok choy lengthwise in half keeping the leaves attached.
  3. Soak the cut bok choy in the cold water to remove any trapped dirt.
  4. Combine seasoning from the Sun-Bird packet, soy sauce, stevia and water in a bowl and set aside.
  5. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
  6. Lift the bok choy out of the soaking water and lay it, still wet, into the frying pan in an even layer. Cook each side until the leaves have wilted, but the core and stems remain slightly firm.
  7. Remove from pan and place in an oven safe dish. Keep cooked bok choy in a warm oven.
  8. Heat frying pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil.
  9. Add tofu squares and gently saute until slightly golden brown.
  10. Stir in seasoning mixture and bring to a boil.
  11. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  12. Add in cooked baby bok choy and gently stir to combine. Serve.
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4
  • Calories: 353
  • Calories from Fat: 136
  • Total Fat: 15.1g
  • Saturated fat: 2.0g
  • Unsaturated fat: 13.1g
  • Sodium: 1353mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 37.2g
  • Sugar: 15.8g
  • Fiber: 13.9g
  • Protein: 30.3g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Disclosure: Guenther, the parent company of Sun-Bird, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own

Mongolian Tofu with Sun-Bird Seasoning Mix

Mongolian Tofu

After my husband, Paul, got laid off last June, we stopped eating out to cut back on expenses. Even going out to our local (and reasonably priced) Asian restaurant was out of the question. I missed having my favorite Chinese, Vietnamese and Tai dishes, especially knowing how hard it was to replicate those dishes at home. I’ve tried to before and was never successful. (Though I do have to admit that Paul’s one hell of a home sushi chef and Pad Thai cook.)

When I signed up as a Sun-Bird Seasonings blogger, I hoped that I’d be able to make healthy, inexpensive and authentic tasting dishes at home with their seasoning mixes. So far I’ve tried two that I’ve loved: Stir Fry Seasoning Mix and Mongolian Beef Seasoning Mix. Both Sun-Bird Seasonings mixes were easy to make, especially with things I had on hand, like frozen vegetables. Best of all, they were delicious and just as good as any thing I had out at Chinese restaurants by my home – and without the pricy bill and tip!

Healthing up Sun-Bird Seasoning Mixes

Now I’ll be honest. The mixes aren’t perfect. They contain things like sugar, whey (which I have a food sensitivity to), corn syrup, and even MSG. Some of their mixes are better than others, so read the labels.

Luckily, there are ways to health things up. For example, if the label directions have you add sugar, you could use powdered stevia instead. Or if you’re supposed to add soy sauce, you could use a low-sodium or gluten free soy sauce.

I’ve also noticed that the packets create a lot of very thick sauce. To thin it, add more water. This way you can add more food, especially healthy stir fry vegetables. Believe me, a little sauce goes a long way, especially with the spicy mixes.

Finally, serve your dishes with whole grain brown rice.

Mongolian Tofu

When I made Mongolian Beef for my family, there wasn’t quite enough to go around as I knew my husband and son would want more than the usual serving. So I decided to cook up some tofu for myself. Here’s how:

Mongolian Beef mix directions

  1. Cook up the beef as directed on the back of the packet. (I added 1/2 a onion to the beef when I browned it.)
  2. After dishing up the beef, deglaze the skillet with water, broth or maybe a little white wine. (I used water.) Add just enough liquid (1/2 to 1 cup) to thin out the sauce and get the cooked bits off the skillet. Don’t cook to reduce the sauce. (You’ll do that later with the tofu.) Instead, pour the resulting broth into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Heat the skillet over medium to medium high heat. While it’s heating, slice a block of very firm tofu into 1/2 inch slices.
  4. Add a little cooking oil or cooking spray to the pan and lay the tofu slices in the pan.
  5. Cook each side of the tofu until medium brown. Remove from skillet and place in a dish or plate, if necessary, to make room for more slices. Keep warm.
  6. Cook all slices of the tofu and return them all to the skillet, loosely layered.
  7. Add deglazing broth back to pan to cover tofu. Heat until broth thickens.
  8. Remove skillet from heat and serve with stir fry vegetables.

I used another packet of Mongolian Beef mix to stir fry a huge portion of frozen stir fry vegetables – enough for the beef AND the tofu. I then served the Mongolian Beef with vegetables and rice, but just had vegetables with the Mongolian Tofu.

Just a note of warning, this is a spicy dish. My spice-loving husband and son thought it was too spicy! This shocked me, because I loved it – and I’m not into spicy food. Well, I do like spicy Asian food that is sweet, and Mongolian Tofu at home with Sun-Bird Seasoning Mix fit the bill.

What’s your favorite Asian dish to eat out or make at home?


Disclosure: Guenther, the parent company of Sun-Bird, provided compensation for this post. All opinions and experiences are my own.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Tofu Chili

Spicy Tofu Chili

I'm posting my Meatless Monday recipe early as I have a Secret Recipe Club post going up tomorrow. Hope this gives you a extra day to plan for your Meatless Monday meal.

Now that things are cooling down, I’m hankering for some chili. Believe it or not, you can do a chili for Meatless Monday – just use tofu and chili beans for a big serving of non-meat protein. If you need it to be a bit “meaty” looking throw in some soy crumbles. Or you can dress it up with canned diced tomatoes (with or without jalapenos).

What I love about this dish is that it’s ready quickly and doesn’t need to sit on the stove top (or in the slow cooker) for hours. Perfect for quickly fixing just before Monday Night Football starts!

Spicy Tofu Chili

Spicy Tofu Chili

Recipe courtesy of House Foods


  • 1/2 package (7 ounces) House Premium or House Organic Tofu Med Firm or Soft, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup grated fat-free or low-fat cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Coat pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Over medium high heat, stir-fry crumbled tofu with beans, garlic and chili powder.
  3. Cook uncovered for 7 to 9 minutes so liquids evaporate and flavors blend.
  4. Sprinkle with green onions before serving and shredded cheese, if desired.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Servings: 4 servings
  • Calories: 138
  • Calories from Fat: 24
  • Total Fat: 3g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated fat: 3g
  • Sodium: 517mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Meatless Monday: Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

tofu vegetable stir-fry Meatless Monday has become the new norm in many schools and homes. After all, it’s a great way to get kids to eat their veggies. However, like many moms, I’m concerned that if I cook up a meatless dish my kids won’t get enough protein to keep them full and satisfied. One way around that is to use tofu.

Tofu is cholesterol free, high in protein, low in carbohydrates and has been directly linked to heart health benefits. According to the FDA, consuming just 25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce your risk of heart disease.

I’m a big fan of tofu, especially the tofu shirataki noodles made by House Foods. Their recipe for tofu and veggie stir fry is a great way to convince your family that tofu isn’t icky and tastes pretty good when mixed with yummy vegetables and a stir fry sauce. This is also an easy dish to prepare if Meatless Mondays are new to you or you don't have a lot of time to cook up dinner.

tofu vegetable stir-fry

Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry

Recipe courtesy of House Foods


  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 (12 oouce) package House Premium Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1/2" strips
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons, soy sauce or stir fry sauce of your choice
  • 1 (14-16 ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch, rice starch or arrowroot dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 cups cooked rice (brown or white)


  1. Coat frying pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Lightly brown tofu and garlic in oil.
  3. Add soy sauce or stir fry sauce and vegetables.
  4. Cover and “steam” your stir fry for 7 to 10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  5. Add cornstarch mixture, stirring 1 to 2 minutes until sauce thickens.
  6. Serve over rice.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 20 Minutes
Servings: 4
  • Calories: 269
  • Calories from Fat: 51
  • Total Fat: 5.3g
  • Saturated fat: 0g
  • Unsaturated fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 665mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 42g
  • Sugar: N/A
  • Fiber: 4g
  • Protein: 13g
  • Cholesterol: omg
chocolate tofu shake

Chocolate tofu shake sweetened with stevia

chocolate tofu shake

With warmer weather here – or nearly so – my thoughts turn to cooling down with a yummy chocolate shake. However, like other people with food sensitivities to dairy and sugar, I have to forgo ice cream shakes.

So I created this chocolate shake made with tofu and sweetened with stevia for those who want some creamy, cool chocolaty goodness, but who also want to avoid dairy and sugar-sweetened alternative ice creams.

Chocolate tofu shake

Makes four chocolate shakes


Directions to make chocolate paste:

  1. Combine 2 cups of milk, cocoa powder and stevia in a small bowl.
  2. Stir until combined into a paste-like substance.

Directions to make chocolate shake:

  1. Combine paste, tofu and 1/2 cup milk in a blender. Pulse until blended.
  2. Add ice cubes to blender. Mix on high until ice is completely crushed.
  3. Pour into two tall glasses and serve.

Nutritional information

  • Calories 129
  • Calories from Fat 49
  • Total Fat 5.5g
  • Saturated Fat 1.1g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 0mg
  • Sodium 83mg
  • Total Carbohydrates 14.4g
  • Dietary Fiber 3.2g
  • Sugars 6.6g
  • Protein 9.6g
  • Calcium 10%
  • Iron 15%

Nutrition Grade A from CalorieCount 

Weight Watchers POINTS = 2

This Mama’s tips

More salad dressing recipes that use tofu

tofu salad dressings

In my previous salad dressing post, I shared recipes for Creamy Italian and Dill and Lime salad dressings. Today recipes are for Sundried Tomato, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar salad dressing and Spicy Ginger Sesame salad dressing. While inspired by the recipes in Tofu Cookery, they’re based on tastes I love – dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, ginger and brown sugar.

Sundried Tomato, Basil and Balsamic Vinegar salad dressing

I love sundried tomatoes, but preferred the dried over the ones packed in oil. Luckily, I was able to find a big bag of them at either Sam’s Club or Costco (I can’t remember) that don’t need to be soaked in hot water, as they’re already soft. If you can only find ones packed in oil, cut back or eliminate the olive oil in this salad dressing recipe.

Makes 3/4 cup of dressing


  • 1/4 pound soft tofu
  • 1 tablespoon high quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or mini-food processor.
  2. Blend until ingredients are combined and the dressing is creamy. If there are chunks of tomatoes in the dressing, that’s OK.

Spicy Ginger Sesame Salad Dressing

I love the ginger salad dressing that’s served at Japanese restaurants. This one comes close, though it’s creamier and spicier.

Makes 3/4 cup of dressing



  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or mini-food processor.
  2. Blend until ingredients are combined and the dressing is creamy.

This Mama’s Tips

  • When cooking with tofu, buy organic and non-GMO tofu if at all possible. At my grocery store, sometimes the organic stuff is cheaper than the tofu made from conventionally grown soybeans.
  • You want to use a high quality, somewhat light olive oil, because you’ll be able to really taste it in these homemade salad dressing recipes.
  • Big Tree Farms claims that their SweetTree Palm Sugars are one of the lowest glycemic index sweeteners on the market. To me, it’s a great alternative to brown sugar. If you’re diabetic or concerned about calories, substitute it with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Stevia Extract in the Raw or add liquid stevia to taste.
  • If you want, use sushi rice vinegar – which is sweetened with sugar – instead of rice vinegar. Then adjust your sweetener accordingly.
  • You can buy roasted black sesame seeds at many Asian grocery stores.
  • Both sauces would make terrific dips for vegetables, for meat cooked in oil fondues, or for grilled meats and seafood.
  • Most quantities are to taste. If you want to add more basil or sriracha, go for it! Experiment and have fun.
  • If the dressing is too thick, add a little water or unsweetened soy milk.
  • Put leftover in a container and keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.