It’s been a really long time since I have created a recipe for you using tofu. I shared my tempeh wraps quite a few weeks ago, but tofu-wise I don’t think I’ve given you anything since my scrambled tofu recipe. To be honest, I think this has mainly been influenced by some personal food intolerance testing I did a year or two ago showing soy reactivity, though now I find I can thankfully (thanks to a nice strong and robust gut) enjoy soy again.
Tofu is one of those ingredients that so many people avoid due to fear surrounding soy. I’ve written about this before so I won’t go into great detail here, however if you’d like to get more of a breakdown on this you can check out the blog post here. I find that when I ask clients in clinic about eating tofu as a protein source they often reply “no I don’t eat tofu, it’s bad for you… isn’t it?” The funny thing is so many people are avoiding tofu yet they are not even sure why.
What I will quickly reiterate here is that dietary soy is a modulator of the oestrogen within our bodies, and a weak one at that. If we were to be concerned about something affecting our oestrogen levels exogenously it should be our use of plastics, especially heating food in plastics. These types of xenoestrogens can have quite a profound negative effect on our hormones.
Soy conversely encourages oestrogen to be metabolised down more beneficial metabolic pathways and in fact discourages oestrogen from being converted to metabolites associated with oestrogen driven health conditions. It’s ironic to me that people are avoiding food like tofu and tempeh because of fears related to oestrogen excess when in fact these wholefood soy based foods can help by down regulating dysfunctional oestrogen.
On the other side of the coin I do see soy being problematic occasionally from a food intolerance point of view and also in relation to poor gut function (both of these issues have nothing to do with soy affecting oestrogen levels). Soy provides an abundance of fermentable carbohydrates that can be problematic in a poorly functioning gut, especially in the presence of SIBO and dysbiosis (inbalanced gut flora in the lower bowel). Of course when we correct our gut imbalances, remove inflammation and build a strong, robust gut lining we can often tolerate, if not thrive with these types of foods in our diet.
Well there you go, I still managed to have a little bit of a rant about soy even though I’d said I wouldn’t. I think I’m just particularly passionate about this currently as it seems to be a topic that comes up a lot. My hope is this recipe and blog post makes you think more fondly of ingredients like tofu and tempeh and find room for them within your diet, as they truly are delicious and nourishing ingredients.
Pre-heat oven to 200c fan forced.
Chop eggplant and tofu into cubes around 2 to 3 cm in size. Place in a baking dish and toss with tamari, honey, ginger and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with pepper and place in the oven to bake for 50-60 minutes removing every 20 minutes to toss.
Add sesame seeds and the cashews at the 60 minute mark and toss through coating them in the marinade. Increase the temperature to 220° and place back in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes. Once everything is lovely and sticky and golden remove from the oven. To serve, top with sliced shallots with a side of brown rice and some easy greens.