Crispy baked tofu tacos with cilantro lime slaw make a simple and satisfying vegan meal!
One thing I've learned from traveling is food with a gross sounding name is more often than not, actually pretty gross. Most recently, this belief was reinforced in Hawaii with poi (which makes me think of koi fish) and durian in Vietnam, for which I still see a therapist weekly after tasting. Then there was sea urchin, which kind of had the texture of snot.
Still, every once in a while, I come across something that sounds disgusting, but is actually quite delicious. Nutritional yeast is one example. It's a type of deactivated yeast sold in yellow flakes, often used in vegan and vegetarian cooking. The name, well...isn't so appetizing. If it makes you feel better, feel free to call it by it's nickname, hippie flakes. To be honest, if you were to taste a spoonful, it doesn't taste great by itself. But when blended into sauces, stirred into grits or mixed into cashew cheese, it adds a nutty, almost cheesy flavor that's incredibly tasty, especially for something called nutritional yeast - bleh!
Although cheese is by far my favorite food in the world, I love to use nutritional yeast as a way to cut back on dairy a bit and save a little money, since I could easily spend an entire paycheck on artisan cheese. It's also a great way to sneak a little extra nutrition into meals. Here's a look at some of the benefits:
- With about 8 grams of protein in 2 tablespoons, nutritional yeast is an easy way to sneak protein into vegan/vegetarian meals. It's also a complete protein, providing all 18 amino acids.
- Nutritional yeast is also a concentrated source of fiber, with 4 grams in a little 2 tablespoon portion. Compare that to an equal amount of fiber in a full cup of brown rice.
- Nutritional yeast is literally PACKED with B vitamins! A 2 tablespoon serving contains 640% DV of thiamine, 570% DV of riboflavin, 280% DV of niacin and 480% DV of B6. It's essentially an edible B-complex supplement!
- Although it does not contain B12 naturally, many brands are fortified with the vitamin, which is only found in animal foods and is of concern in vegan diets.
I like to buy mine in the bulk aisle of our local health food store, where it makes a super inexpensive flavor booster and lasts virtually forever stored in a mason jar. Here's some more ideas for using nutritional yeast:
- Sprinkle it on popcorn.
- Toss vegetables with olive oil, salt, pepper and nutritional yeast before roasting (it transforms cauliflower!!)
- Stir it into vegan or regular cheese sauces for macaroni and cheese, adding extra nutrition and umami flavor.
- Use it to make cashew cheese, or my favorite, cashew queso!
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast over a salad in a grain bowl.
This recipe was inspired by a tofu taco I had a few years back in Sonoma, California. The tofu was baked with this addictively savory coating, and while I knew nutritional yeast was involved, it took me awhile to pick apart the recipe! I'm still not 100%, but this is pretty close to what I remember. Regardless, it makes a darn good vegan taco!
These crispy baked tofu tacos with cilantro lime slaw via @RHartleyRD make a simple #vegan weeknight meal! Tweet this
Crispy Baked Tofu Tacos with Cilantro Lime Slaw
- 1 16-ounce block extra-firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 10 ounce bag shredded cabbage (~ 4 cups)
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 corn tortillas
- Hot sauce, for serving
- Drain tofu. Wrap with a clean kitchen towel and weight down with a heavy skillet or can to remove liquid for 30 minutes or refrigerated overnight.
- Chop tofu into 1 inch cubes. In a large bowl, whisk soy sauce, nutritional yeast, cumin and olive oil. Season with black pepper. Add tofu cubes, toss to coat, and marinate at least 30 minutes.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Place tofu cubes evenly on a large, oiled baking sheet, discarding extra marinade. Bake 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway.
- While tofu is baking, make slaw. Mix cabbage, green onions and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Add to slaw and toss to combine.
- When tofu is baked, remove from oven. Char tortillas lightly by placing over low flame on a gas stove for 30 seconds.
- Serve tortillas filled with a scoop of slaw and baked tofu, topped with hot sauce of choice.