Oven-Baked Tofu with Glory Bowls
In truth I’ve been eating glory bowls as long as I can remember, but we just didn’t have a name for them. Now-a-days, they are called other names as well (buddha bowls, hippie bowls), but I prefer the name glory bowls because I want to give glory to our Creator, who made our plant-based food (fruits, nuts, grains) on the third day and told us to eat this as food on the sixth day of Creation week; and who also gave us the vegetables to rebuild the body after Adam and Eve, our first parents, sinned (See Genesis 1:11; Genesis 1:29; Genesis 3:17-19 KJV). I also call them glory bowls because these are simply delicious. Oh, glory!!!
If you love rainbow meals as much as I do, the glory bowl allows you to create these in abundance using various plant-based combinations. You can stack your glory bowl any way you like. One day, you can have rice and beans, a tossed romaine salad, beets, and bok choy. The next day, you can switch it up and have rice and beans, a romaine salad, sweet potato, and kale or collards. You can replace the rice with quinoa. There are numerous configurations of these bowls to meet the needs of your taste buds. You can have them with various grains like quinoa, barley, or millet, instead of plain ol’ brown rice; and there are an array of beans from which to choose. There is also a limitless variety of vegetables, like sprouts, eggplant, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and more! The only thing that pretty much stays the same is the oven-baked tofu…
Growing up, I never saw my mom deep fry anything on top of the stove! She baked everything that other people fried in a great deal of oil. In full disclosure, I still do not know how to deep fry anything on the stove. I can sauté like a pro though! *smile* The times I tried to fry in the past made me even more determined to evade all frying, as oil splattered everywhere and it just wasn’t fun… I felt I was being punished for trying to cook this way each time the hot drops of oil found an uncovered place on my skin and cleaning up these drops was not fun! If you’ve ever been in someone’s house and witnessed a sticky runny-looking residue permanently adhered to their cabinets, then you know a great deal of frying is going on in that house. There is usually a noticeable oil smell too. Why anyone wants to cook this way is really beyond me!
Okay, I know fried foods taste good, but everyone knows they are not good for you. Here, I’ll relate a story from many years ago, when I really tried to conquer frying… See, everyone I’ve ever told my abysmal frying experience to has related that I am not frying the right way. So, I decided to learn by asking the friend who last told me there was a “right” way…. I believe I was making egg rolls (plant-based, no eggs). We used about a whole bottle of my organic oil (not cheap). By the way, oil still splattered, but not as much as it did with me. Then, after we were done, she told me to re-jar that SAME oil for later use. … “Uh, NO…. not doing that!” Then you have to bury the oil in your yard or take it to a recycling facility. I was SO OFFICIALLY DONE! I found it to be a hassle, a waste of oil, and just an over-all hot mess. The oven-bake “fry” way is so much healthier, cleaner, and there’s no leftover oil.
Anyhow, this recipe for oven-baked (or oven-fried) tofu is super-easy. It uses only a very minimal amount of oil (I use the cold-pressed avocado oil because its heat point is 500 °F; while olive oil’s heat point ranges from 350 to 400 °F). You don’t even have to flip the tofu in the baking process. This recipe goes with many dishes, including Asian stirfrys and glory bowls. I rarely do anything different than what’s below in the recipe.
Now, many of you are looking for the “chicken” taste. You can adapt this recipe to a chicken substitute by soaking the cut cubes in a no-chicken stock or broth for 30-60 minutes, patting dry, and then coating with oil and shaking in a seasoned arrowroot flour mixture, just use your favorite seasoning for batter.
Before, I go on, I am going to take this time to tell you a bit about arrowroot flour (or starch). Arrowroot is a nutrient-dense starch, which is commonly used as thickening agent for food, in place of cornstarch (See One Green Planet article on arrowroot powder). According to an article on Nutrition and You.com, arrowroot contains an array of nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin B9, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folate, iron, manganese, niacin, potassium, phosphorus, thiamin, and more! Among other health benefits, arrowroot is great for lowering blood pressure, promoting healthy circulation, digestion, and metabolism, as well as preventing birth defects (See the article on arrowroot from The Health Benefits Times). Research the wonderful benefits and cooking properties of arrowroot beginning with the articles in this post. In this recipe, arrowroot powder adds the crispiness to the oven-baked tofu. If you don’t have the arrowroot powder, simply use organic cornstarch!
Now, one last thing about glory bowls: the dressing! I call the Lemon Tahini Dressing the star of most of my glory bowls because I douse it all over my glory bowl. You may use other dressings. For instance, if I am making a Mexican inspired glory bowl, I will top it with avocado dressing. You can use whatever dressing suits your taste buds, like a hummus dressing, Italian, Greek, or any other dressing that you love. Remember, it’s all about how you like it. Usually, my taste buds are all about the lemon tahini, which, to me, taste pretty good on just about everything, especially this oven-baked tofu! *smile*
Now, without further ado, here is the recipe….
- 1 package (12 to 15 ounces) organic extra-firm tofu (drain and press) or super-firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 1 tablespoon cold-pressed avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or organic cornstarch)
- Preheat the oven to 450 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Drain and press tofu to remove the water, then cut into cubes or strips.
- Transfer the pressed tofu to a bowl and drizzle with liquid aminos and oil and stir to combine. Sprinkle the arrowroot into a plastic storage bag and place the tofu in there and shake until evenly coated.
- Place on prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Be sure there is a little space between each one. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending upon your desired level of crispiness.
- Add to any dish.