Lunch today was something wonderful. Sweet, sour, crunchy, chewy, spicy, mild, creamy and crispy ALL on one plate! How, you ask, is it possible to have such variety? As with most things I make, this was quick and easy… start to finish, we're talking about 10 minutes. I think that a raw food focus makes quick, healthy eating very accessible. Cooked foods are great too! As with everything in life, there's a need for balance. For me, that means balancing raw foods with cooked foods. That's how I can make a healthy 10 minute lunch with such great texture and flavor.
These were the components of my lunch:
Carrot = Sweet and mild
Rice Vinegar and ginger = sour and spicy
Fried tofu = chewy, creamy and crispy
Chia and Millet = crunchy
Tomato Coconut Sauce = mild, creamy and spicy
Let's talk about balance. When we're eating something as rich as crispy fried tofu we definitely need something fresh and light to balance things out. In comes the humble carrot. Who doesn't love a carrot?! I often shred or grate carrots and make quick slaws for snack for my kids. My lunch salad took on a new twist and it's worth sharing! Raw chia is a favorite salad topper of mine, but the raw millet is something new. I've used millet as a component of date bars before. I've cooked millet and made killer pilaf before. The revelation today is that a bit of raw millet is a fantastic crunchy addition to salad and slaws and likely many other things!
Crunchy Carrot Salad
1 large organic carrot, grated
1 tsp grated ginger – from about ½ inch piece of fresh ginger
1 tsp raw chia seed
2 tsp millet, uncooked
Splash of rice vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss lightly to combine.
Raw foods make up 80-90% of what I eat. Focusing on living foods means that things stay simple and fresh. (There is a summary of the basics of what I eat on my About Me page if you're curious.) Eating with a raw, nutrient dense focus gives me a bit of freedom when it comes to the occasional naughty fried food. Crispy fried tofu ends up on my plate maybe once every few months. It's a guilty pleasure, but a tasty one!
Tofu isn't something I use much anymore because I don't like eating soy products. There was a time, as a young vegetarian, when I was eating tofu, drinking soymilk, steaming edamame and crunching on soy crisps daily. It was just too much. I wasn't terribly conscious of my soy dependence until I had a few allergic reactions to it. Giving it all up was hard to do, but it made sense and certainly made me feel better! I've been able to phase some soy back into my diet, but it is pretty rare now. When I buy a block of tofu I will use it a few ways during the week that it's in my fridge. Firm tofu freezes well and actually improves texturally for things like baking after it's been frozen. So I find that if I don't use up a block I freeze it and pull it out when I'm in the mood for baked tofu. The block I bought this week has been used in several dishes: I used small cubes of fried tofu on a kale salad, then diced uncooked tofu as part of my egg roll filling, and today the remainder of the block ended up as fried tofu.
[caption id="attachment_126" align="alignright" width="300" caption="crispy outside, creamy inside"]
3 slices of tofu, about ½ inch thick
¼ inch olive oil in a small saucepan
Slice and dry the tofu. Heat your oil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Fry one slice of tofu at a time, turning after a few minutes so that both sides become crisp and golden. Remove the fried tofu and drain on a towel or rack. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Serve hot.
Tomato Coconut Sauce (leftover) --- flavor is amazing because it's been sitting in the fridge for a few days. The sauce is thick, creamy and fragrant. I reheated it to serve as a dipping sauce for the crispy tofu. YUM!