Meat is a big part of Thanksgiving and whether we want to admit it or not, this holiday has steered away from its core values and turned into an excuse to have turkey for dinner (or lunch). If your lifestyle or diet doesn’t allow meat, it can be hard to find something to make that’s simple and doesn’t call for weird fancy ingredients to replace the turkey. Throughout my meatless journey, I’ve found two recipes I hold near and dear to my heart and I want to share them. If you do eat meat, I’m sure giving up the turkey on Thanksgiving will be hard, but I hope you get inspired to make these two dishes on any other day.
Both of these recipes require tofu and tofu honestly doesn’t have a taste. It’s also a little gross in its uncooked state, but most foods are. Tofu takes the taste of whatever you add to it, so you have to allow the tofu to marinate, just like most meat. Not doing so, means you have tasteless slabs of nothing on your plate, and nobody wants that. To marinate tofu, there’s a process you need to follow, starting with draining it. It’s important to take all the water it comes in, out of the tofu so it can absorb the new flavors. The easiest way to drain tofu is to use a tofu press, but not everyone has that, especially if you don’t cook with it often. If you don’t have a tofu press, you can put a few paper towels on a plate, place the tofu on top, put more paper towels, put another plate on top of the tofu and then set something relatively heavy on top (like a book) so it presses down on the tofu and squeezes all the water out. You don’t want the item to be too heavy though, or it’ll squish the tofu and break it since it’s a little on the delicate side. Another thing people might not do other than not marinate tofu, is not getting rid of the texture. The texture of uncooked tofu is straight up gross and mushy, and while some people don’t mind that, I hate that texture. To get rid of that, I fry my tofu, I’ve even oven baked it before, but I rarely just heat it up on the pan until it's golden brown and left it at that. The edges might be crunchy, but the inside is still soft.
The first recipe is the one I made last year: Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Tofu. The name says it all. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy and it’s just delicious. I love spicy food, so that’s why I gravitate towards this simple recipe. I made this last year with some rice, loaded potato salad and some stuffing on the side. I’d never tried stuffing until last year, and I loved it a lot. It was a simple store-bought box of stuffing, nothing fancy. Here’s the recipe.
The second recipe is the one I go for any time I have tofu in my fridge. It’s a vegan orange tofu recipe and it’s amazing. I used to love orange chicken back when I used to eat meat, but this one is just as good, if not better. Not eating meat doesn’t mean you have to eat bland, tasteless things. This recipe is delicious and if you’re into that, it’s also gluten free. I don’t like broccoli all that much, so their serving suggestion is just that; a suggestion. I just typically have the rice and tofu by themselves. You can find it here.
Thanksgiving is about being with your loved ones and giving thanks for all the blessings you have in your life, not a dead turkey on the table. Even if you’re going through a tough time, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Even if it’s something as silly as being thankful for the device you’re reading this on, some people don’t even have that. This thanksgiving, I’m thankful I’m even alive. I’m very thankful for my supportive family, my friends and of course, my awesome partner. Happy Thanksgiving!