Eating for Menopause: Part 2 (TOFU)
In the previous blog post we talked about some foods and tips for women who are in menopause or are peri-menopausal.
On this post we will focus more on Tofu, a great food for menopause and pre- menopause stage and share some recipes as promised.
Tofu is an especially nutritional food that I wanted to consume more often but sadly I don’t have many ideas on how to add it in my life…
You see, we didn’t really have tofu in my village.
Tofu is a product of soy milk, and the way it’s made seems identical to that of cheese but the basic difference is that milk is replaced by a white thick liquid coming out of soy beans while being soaked in water. Tofu is especially popular in Japanese and Chinese kitchens. Keep in mind that its production and texture are similar to mozzarella. So it’s basically the Asian version of mozzarella. Its taste has nothing to do with mozzarella; it’s basically tasteless, so it is mostly marinated when served. What’s good about it being tasteless is that it can be easily manipulated as an ingredient and can be used in many recipes to give a cheesy texture.
It’s a rich source of protein as it includes all 8 amino acids our body cannot produce. It’s also a very good source of calcium and iron. This combination makes it extremely desired by vegans and vegetarians as it offers elements that are difficult to acquire in an exclusively plant based diet. Tofu also includes magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. Its phytoestrogens levels which are essentially similar to the estrogen hormones our body produces, reduce the risk of breast cancer and make tofu a good thing to consume after menopause when our body ceases producing estrogens, and is therefore in higher risk of osteoporosis.
The fact that tofu is made of soy, which is the top processed ingredient in the USA, means that we need to be extremely cautious when buying tofu and that we need to avoid eating it in restaurants. I personally use Silken tofu by Clearspring which has a biological certificate, is produced in Europe and the company is trustworthy in general.
Tofu is good for menopause not only because it is rich in isoflavones but also it is a good source of calcium and protein, all beneficial during this phase. It is also such a flexible ingredient that can be used instead of cream in desserts.
If you want to start using tofu but not sure how to include in your diet I ve got two delicious food recipes with tofu, plus one more for a dessert, using tofu instead of cream.
FOOD TOFU RECIPES
Marinated Greek vegetable & tofu skewers
These vegetable skewers are the best! Delicious and succulents, oozing barbeque and summer flavours. You can either bbq these or grill them in the oven, either ways the taste is divine and reminds me of home. The secret of their taste, as with any good bbq cut, lies in the marinade. Tofu is a great source of plant based protein, calcium and iron, nutrients that might be compromised in a plant based diet, so personally I am trying to use tofu as frequently as possible, and I think this recipe is definitely a winner. Its pretty tasteless and borrows its taste from the ingredients you soak it with, in this case the marinade. I ve used a firm tofu in this recipe as its easier to pin on the sticks. If you don’t find tofu you can substitute with mushrooms. This is a great idea to add more veggies in your kids diet if they are fussy eaters or in the diet of avid meat eaters (usually the hubbies). As for the vegetables I used peppers, red onions, mushrooms, courgettes and tomatoes, because that’s what I had available, but aubergines would be a great addition too. The marinade is finger licking and you can use it with any meat or fish you would like to bbq. Just make sure you leave the veggies and tofu miminum 20 mins in the marinade, even better overnight, so that they can soak in all the flavours. And a tip: if you soak the skewer sticks for 20mins in water, you will avoid them burning!
Ingredients (for approx. 10 skewers)
2 portobello mushrooms, cut in cubes (double the quantity if you don’t use tofu)
200 grs firm tofu, cut in cubes,
1 red onion, cut into chunks
1 large courgette, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
10 cherry tomatoes
For the marinade:
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup of balsamic vinegar
Juice and zest of an unwaxed lemon
3 garlic cloves, grated
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp dry basil
Salt and pepper to taste
For the tzatziki sauce
100gr Greek yoghurt
1 garlic clove
3 mint leaves or dried mint
1 tbs olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a big bowl and mix well with a spoon
Add the tofu and veggies and make sure they are covered well in the marinade.
Leave in the fridge for minium 20mins or overnight (ideally)
preheat the oven to 200C.
take the skewers sticks and push the marinated veggies and the tofu on the skewers.
Place the skewers on the edges of the tray so that the marinated veggie and tofu sit on the air
Bake for 20 mins until golden
For the tzatziki sauce: mix all the ingredients in a food processor.
Almond butter tofu with sauted veggies
I’ve used it in previous posts to make delicious mousse, as if you blend it in a food processor it can easily replace whipping cream. It can also replace ricotta cheese in lasagna.
In this particular recipe I introduce it as cheese, spread on delicious sautéed vegetables with an Asian miso and almond butter sauce, a homemade peanut butter satay sauce. Tofu’s multiple healthy fats, fibre and protein make this quick and delicious dish a full meal.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
For the tofu
A soft Clearsping tofu
1 spoon almond butter
1 tsp white or brown miso paste
For the sautéed vegetables:
200 gr fresh spinach
2 heads of leek cut in circles
For the peanut butter sauce:
1 spoon peanut butter
1 spoon olive oil
1 tsp honey
1 spoon tamari sauce or soy sauce
1 chopped garlic clove
2 centimeters of chopped ginger
Strain the tofu and press it on a kitchen paper so excess water is absorbed. Cut it in 2 slices horizontally. Place it on a pan cautiously so the tofu doesn’t break, and cook it on the grill for about 15 minutes (take it off before it starts to melt). We stir the sauce ingredients in a processor or in a bowl with a spoon. When the tofu heats up a bit, we take it out of the oven and use a brush to spread the almond butter sauce. Garnish with some sesame and cook for 5 more minutes.
Sautee the vegetables in a pan with some olive oil until the spinach turns intensely green. Stir the peanut butter sauce ingredients in the processor or in a bowl. During the 5 last minutes of sautéing, add the peanut butter sauce in the pan and stir the vegetables.
Serve the vegetables on a plate and place the tofu on top.
DESSERT TOFU RECIPE
Mastiha Pannacota Tofu with Passion Fruit
This sweet will become one of your favourites. Being light and refreshing, mastic blends incredibly well with the special, exotic flavour of the passion fruit. While I enjoy mastic’s flavour very much, I don’t use it as often in my recipes and I promise you that this will change, as it is both particularly tasty and rich in benefits (will post more about mastiha benefits in a future post)
In this recipe, I used mastic “tears”: grains that I beat using the pestle. If you find mastic oil, it may be easier to use.
The cream is made of silken Tofu Clearspring which I often use in my recipes to replace cream and believe it has excellent results for creams and mousses. The tofu is a soy product and a complete source of protein. It is also particularly rich in iron and calcium.
Ingredients (6 servings)
2 Silken Tofu clearspring boxes
4 tsp of sweetener (maple syrup, pecemezi, agave, or brown rice syrup)
6 mastic “tears” or 1 tsp of mastic oil
6 passion fruits
Preparation for the panna cotta:
Crush the mastic “tears” using a pestle until they become a think powder
Strain the tofu in a towel until the fluids are removed
Add all the cream ingredients (tofu, mastic, sweetener) into a food processor and beat until all the ingredients are mixed and become a delicate cream.
Cut the passion fruits and empty their interior with a spoon.
Put the cream in jars and garnish with passion fruit seeds
Refrigerate for about 2 hours