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Ten weeks to plant-powered eating – Week 8

Last Modified: February 21, 2022

Heart Health, Nutrition & Recipes


This series was written and created by Sarah Mohrman, RDN, LD, MA, dietitian, program coordinator, PPG – Cardiology.

I hope at least one of the cauliflower recipes from Week 7 made it into your meal rotation. This week, we’re going to tackle tempeh and tofu, two plant-based staples that can intimidate newcomers.   

Both of these foods come from a soybean derivative. Tempeh is fermented soybeans that bind together in the fermentation process and develop into a cake-like form. Tempeh is high in protein, low in fat and cholesterol free. Tempeh has a nutty flavor, but easily takes on the flavor profile of whatever it’s mixed with. Tempeh can be used in chili, tacos, stews and sandwiches. My favorite is to make “bacon” with tempeh and enjoy BLTs

As for tofu, it is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing it into solid white blocks. The tofu blocks can take on various forms from silken to extra firm. Many recipes call for extra firm tofu as a superb protein source and replacement for meat. Tofu eggs are one very common substitute, as well as tofu tacos. Tofu can easily be prepared in a skillet, baked in the oven or made in an air fryer. It’s a fun ingredient to play with in various forms and cooking styles. Try these simple kebabs on the grill to get started!

Recipe to try

Grilled Pineapple and Tofu Kebabs

1 block extra firm tofu
2 cups fresh pineapple
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 package mushrooms
1 red onion
1 cup vegan BBQ sauce
Fresh parsley, to garnish

1. Start by pressing the tofu for about 15 minutes. Place the tofu on a paper towel-lined plate, cover the tofu with another paper towel and put something heavy on top of it (a cookbook works well). Set aside.

2. While the tofu is pressing, cut the pineapple, peppers and onions into 1-inch pieces, and remove the stems from the mushrooms.

3. Once the tofu is done, cut that into 1-inch pieces as well.

4. Skewer the pineapple, tofu and veggies onto metal skewers and place the skewers on a baking sheet.

5. Cover the skewers with a layer of sauce on all sides.

6. Turn the grill on medium heat and grill the skewers for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. After you've flipped, brush with another layer of sauce.

7. Remove the skewers from the grill and brush with any remaining sauce. Sprinkle with a garnish of fresh parsley and serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts (1 kebab): 169 calories, 33g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 1g fat, 534mg sodium, 428mg potassium, 2g fiber, 24g sugar, 875IU vitamin A, 105.6mg vitamin C, 52mg calcium, 1.5mg iron

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