For the last year or so I have noticed that my husband and I have been eating more and more vegetarian meals than meat based meals. I started to ponder why we have been doing this, which to my amazement was much more than just environmental issues (keep reading to find out why). Since I have been more consciously been eating vegetarian meals, I have been exploring more vegetarian protein options, and very recently I started to cook with tofu. Quickly I came up with a simple recipe that has appealed to my meat-loving husband: Tofu and Eggplant Bowl.
Before I dive into the recipe or the reasons why I have been eating more vegetarian meals, let me give you some context. Both my husband and I are from the South of Brazil, different parts, so a bit different cultures. Still, we are from the meat-loving part of the country. Homemade Brazilian Style Barbecue is eaten almost every weekend at my parents’ house. We love meat! And let’s face it: it’s delicious! Still, going full vegetarian seems plausible to me because I love vegetables. I promise you I’m not exaggerating. While people crave for ice cream and chocolate, I crave for steamed veggies seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Yuumm!!! No wonder the name of the blog is Candid Thoughts and a BOWL OF VEGGIES. What is more, is that eggs are my favorite kind of protein. I could easily become vegetarian if it weren’t for the fact that meat eating is something that is practically intrinsic in my soul due to my culture. So giving up on meat completely is a bit unrealistic.
But at the same time, I love this planet that God has given us. I try, to the best of my abilities, use less water and energy; use the car the least I can; recycle and try to produce less waste, and so forth. All because this is the planet we’ve got and I have to do what I can in order to make it last longer. So being vegetarian to me is more about making Earth a better place than animal cruelty. But as I tried to explain before, it’s something that I don’t think I can commit to.
With all that said, I’ve come to believe that compromising isn’t such a bad thing. Just because I eat meat, doesn’t mean that I don’t care about animals or about our planet. Compromising to me means that I don’t buy animal meat more than once a week and I try to be as creative as possible so I can use it in more than one meal. I think that today we might eat two or three meals a week that aren’t vegetarian in our home. My husband has learned to enjoy more salads and veggies and I have become more creative in preparing them in a way that is not only tasty but visually appealing. One of these dishes is the Tofu Eggplant Bowl that I’ve mentioned before.
It’s very simple to prepare, but it will need to plan ahead to make it. Cooking with tofu is relatively simple, the secret is to try to remove as much water from it as possible. So an hour or so before you start your meal, pat dry the tofu block with a clean towel (remember that we are trying to make the earth a better place), cover it with a towel and place a heavy skillet or pan on top of it so most of the moisture is removed. This will allow you to fry the tofu and keep it nice and crispy.
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 package of tofu
- 1 small eggplant
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 small onion
- 1-inch ginger (*optional)
- 1/4 red cabbage
- 3-5 kale leaves
- bean sprouts (*optional)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce (*optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Remove moisture from tofu. Chop it into small cubes. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Chop eggplant in cubes about the same size of the tofu. Finely chop garlic, onion, and ginger. Chop red cabbage into cubes. Roughly chop kale leaves and the stems.
- Fry garlic, onion, and ginger on a lightly greased hot pan. In a separate pan, fry tofu. Make sure that all sides of the tofu are crisp.
- Add the chopped eggplant to the garlic, onion, and ginger. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. Once the eggplant is cooked, add the cabbage. Once the cabbage is soft, add the kale and bean sprouts. Season it with soy sauce and fish sauce.
- Once kale and bean sprouts are soft, add the tofu.
- Serve on top of rice. And enjoy!
This dish is not only super tasty, but it’s colorful and pleasing to the eye. You can add some chopped peanuts on top – if it pleases you – to add some crunch to the dish.
Back to being vegetarian. Most reasons for being a vegetarian are completing and worth considering, but when I was pondering why we have been eating more vegetarian meals I realized that the environmental factor was not the main reason. Again, I’m not saying that I don’t care about the planet because I do care. I noticed that the reasons were threefold: 1. Meatless protein options are less expensive – and we are on a tight budget so it gives me more variety of meals to make. 2. We want to be and eat healthier – vegetarian dishes, when made well, have fewer calories and more nutrients. 3. It’s fun to cook with vegetables – I’m constantly challenging my skills to make things that look and taste good. I also get a lot more excited at the produce section of the supermarket than anywhere else! Dishes like this one fill out all three boxes, especially since I bought the eggplant on sale for $0.79 each.
In my future, I see myself eating less and less meat based dishes. I think even my husband is starting to consider us becoming vegetarians. Today, I’ll stick to compromising. I’d love to know your thoughts on this subject. Thanks for stopping by! And let me know if you tried this dish at home. 🙂
Tchau for now,
Do you have a favorite vegetarian dish?
I love trying out new food! Share it with me in the comment section below.