I gave tofu one shot out to eat last week, and it was terrible. I've had it prepared well before (namely at Thai Express in Clifton) - when they saute the tofu in a sauce so it's crispy and flavorful... but not so the last time I had it (at a different Thai restaurant that will remain nameless. There's gotta be better options than tofu! YUCK!
So my main new discovery has been this seitan stuff. Seitan is wheat gluten - wheat flour is rinsed until all the starch dissolves and what's left is this elastic mass that has a similar texture to ground beef. I got some to try at Park+Vine, and it worked out pretty well. I crumbled it and sauteed in in oil, and it was good both in a salad and later as a "phony coney" - cranberry walnut bread (locally made, also from P+V), seitan and cheddar cheese melted in the toaster oven. YUM.
(pics: Upton's Naturals Seitan and spinach salad with raspberries, oranges, honey sesame sticks and seitan)
I've also had good success with beans. For Super Bowl Sunday I made a really fantastic black bean and sweet potato chili adapted from Serious Eats (using Arrogant Bastard Ale), and tonight for dinner I just made the best freakin' black bean burgers of probably ever. Yes, seriously. Ever.
See? They were fantastic.
1 16 oz can black beans, rinsed and dried
1 8 oz can chopped carrots, rinsed and dried
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
4 TBS minced garlic
1/4 cup flax seeds (gotta get that protein!)
3/4 cup Italian seasoned croutons, smashed
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
seasonings to taste: salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, garam masala
2. loosely chop the onion and red pepper with a knife, put the pieces into your food processor with the garlic and flax seed. (10 points if your food processor is with the immersion blender like mine). Chop it up until it's really fine, then strain out most of the liquid through a mesh colander or one with small holes.
3. Combine the pureed vegetable mixture into the bean bowl. Add egg, croutons and bread crumbs. Add the spices a little at a time until the mix tastes good. Stir to combine - the mixture should be easy to work with and not crazy sticky - if it is, add more bread crumbs. Use your hands, you know you want to.
4. Form into patties whatever size you like - I made 3 big ones and 4 sliders and some meatballs for later this week. It makes a good amount of food - probably enough for 3 or 4 guys. Bake the patties on a lightly greased cookie sheet at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Add a little mozzarella cheese 3 minutes before removing.
I served my sliders on toast with mango chutney and brown mustard.
No fat, all protein and vegetables and wonderfulness - and it was REALLY filling. Enjoy!!