Taco Bell might be one of my favorite fast food fixes as a vegetarian, but obviously eating cheap and greasy doesn’t compare to a wholesome meal at home. Making Mexican work in your own kitchen is a pretty foolproof project; the ingredients are all so basic and easy to prep (though some people find do avocados a little frustrating, I’ve learned that they’re easiest to work with when they’re ripe enough) and the options for building the dish best suited to your unique tastes are unlimited. As such, leftovers from taco night can continue to live on in an endless number of carnitas-less incarnations for the diligent vegetarian, and whipping up a quick and delicious taco salad with tofu is among one of my most loved leftover-using recipes.
Tofu marinated with taco seasoning is incomparable tossed in a skillet and crisped a little bit, then enjoyed in a crunchy corn shell or soft tortilla wrap. But once dinner has passed, those spicy little cubes are still super tasty, even chilled right out of the fridge. I cheat like crazy and use a single packet of the grocery store brand taco seasoning, in low sodium form, to marinade a single package of firm tofu. (You can also create a batch of your own taco seasoning, to cut out some of the preservatives and other additives, while saving a few bucks in the long run.) To make it taste more authentic and feel a bit less like cheating, a heaping handful of chopped cilantro is an awesome addition. Once the bean curd is cubed, toss it into a container with the herbs and spices, and shake it up. I like to give it at least a day to hook up, but if you’re using up dinner remnants it’s sure to already be really flavorful.
Taking your favorite taco components and layering them into a fresh salad topped with seasoned soy is also an easy way for a fledgling vegs to make sure we’re getting enough protein and other nutirtional boosts. “There is a common misconception that vegetarians do not get as much protein as meat lovers do. The only difference between tofu and meat protein is that you have to eat more tofu to meet the recommended dietary protein levels,” according to FitDay.com. “The health benefits of tofu as a meat substitute are numerous. Consuming tofu regularly helps lower bad cholesterol, alleviates symptoms associated with menopause and even lowers the risk of cancer. Other major health benefits of tofu compared to meat include making middle-aged bones stronger and delaying the ravages of age. Tofu has been found to be a great source of calcium and vitamin E as well.” When it’s this easy, delicious and nutritious is always the way to go. — Casandra Armour