Spicy Barbecue Nuggets

It’s crispy, it’s spicy, and its barbecue flavor is so intense, you think you’re down home with the Neelys. The crunchy little squares are so filling, so flavorful, that they almost taste like they might be bad for you. But they’re actually… TOFU. Yes, tofu, the often-overlooked protein – boring, white, jiggly, and bland. But not to me.

To me, tofu is like the little black dress of proteins. You can dress it up or dress it down (fancy agedashi tofu or simply fried bean curd), eat it sweet or savory, scramble it, crumble it, cube it, slice it any which way you want. Soft, silky, firm, or dried, tofu easily absorbs marinades and flavors. You can season it with whatever spice you’re in the mood for or add it to any dish and it’ll blend right in. And as an added bonus, it is relatively low in calories, low in fat, and high in calcium and protein.

These Spicy Barbecue Tofu Nuggets is another simple, healthy, nutritious dish that you can easily prepare. Like soup when you need it, you most probably have the ingredients on hand already. Of course you’ll need tofu first. I like Nasoya Cubed Super Firm Tofu but you can buy any firm tofu you want and just dice it. And you’ll need a couple of star ingredients that will make these nuggets packed with spicy flavor:

just pick your favorite hot sauce and barbecue sauce

I really like the Hot Bone Suckin’ Sauce that I get from Whole Foods. It’s so convenient for quick dinners and it tastes great. If you’re the type who makes your own barbecue sauce, then by all means use that. One day, I’ll attempt to make my own – I’ve been eyeing some good sauces from Dan’s beard, I mean Dan’s blog. I also really like sriracha. Basically I really like extremely spicy things. If you don’t like spicy things, you might want to check out my other recipes instead (dark chocolate cookies, anyone?).

Anyway for this dish, this is all you need to do : Preheat the oven to 425F. Toss together one package of drained cubed tofu, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, and about 1 tablespoon sriracha hot sauce. Roast for 50 minutes or until the tofu gets crispy. Then toss with a little more barbecue sauce (about 2 tablespoons) and another squirt of sriracha for even more spice! This will make about 2-3 servings.

During the summer when I like eating light, healthy fare, I use these tofu nuggets like croutons on top of salad greens. I eat the salad with some chopped avocado, sometimes a little feta cheese, and a lemon or balsamic vinaigrette. But now that it’s winter, and I crave hearty, filling meals, I like making rice bowls with it:

brown rice, roasted broccoli, and spicy barbecue tofu

Tonight I made roasted broccoli ala Barefoot Contessa (but nixed the pine nuts). The lemon, garlic and smidgen of sharp parmesan really make roasted broccoli taste special, and the flavors complemented the spicy barbecue tofu. It
was a nice, simple, nutritious dinner.

looks like a greasy Chinese take-out meal, but it’s really the opposite: a healthy, barbecue-flavored homemade meal

In fact I felt so full and healthy after eating this, that instead of having chocolate for dessert, I opted for half a grapefruit. (Okay I lied. After eating the grapefruit and as I’m typing this, I’m eating some chocolate).

Do you like tofu? What’s your favorite tofu dish?


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