Risotto you’ll rave about

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

SC Carrot and Zucchini Risotto

The USDA recommends, “at least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains”(1). Whole grains are packed with nutrients such as folate, B vitamins and iron that are lost in the processing of refined grains. These nutrients from whole grains are extremely important in the diet and have even been proven to “prevent high blood pressure, heart disease diabetes and even cancer” (1).

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Whole grains are generally heartier and more course than refined grains, which can make it difficult to transition from refined grain to whole grains.  The key to a smooth transition and delicious substitution is preparing whole grains properly to receive all the health benefits with a desirable texture.

The Sargent Choice Nutrition Center dietitians have expertly created SC Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto that has the same creamy and rich texture as standard risotto without the usual added butter and refined grains.

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Dry farro rice

How did we make the risotto?

First, we combined our chopped onions, carrots, zucchini, oil and salt in a saucepan and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. To add depth and bring out the natural flavors of the vegetables we added thyme and garlic. The thyme and garlic were stirred into the vegetables until the delightful scent filled the test kitchen.

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Before adding the risotto, the directions on the bag indicated to rinse it with cold water.

We added the farro and cooked it until toasty.

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Next, water and broth were added and we brought the mixture to a simmer.

This was my first experience making whole wheat risotto and I doubted my ability to acquire the proper texture. As I watched over the simmering saucepan, the thin layer of liquid on top of the farro rice made it appear more like soup than risotto. After a slight moment of panic, I allowed the rice time to simmer and with a blink of an eye it became creamy and thick.

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Sometimes the risotto needs more than 25 minutes to simmer. Don’t be worried if it looks soup-y, just let it keep simmering.

The risotto was rich, creamy and savory with the infusion of thyme and garlic. The zucchini and carrots were slightly crisp and served as a balanced contrast for the smooth yet slightly chewy farro.

Sargent Choice Carrot & Zucchini Farro Risotto

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients
1 small onion, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 small zucchini cut in ¼ -inch dice
1 ½ Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 ½ cups pearled farro
2 cups all-natural vegetable broth, low sodium
1 ½ cup water
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Combine the onion, carrot, zucchini, oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large Dutch oven or saucepan
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 8 to 10 minutes
  3. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute
  4. Stir in the faro and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes
  5. Stir in the broth and water, raise the heat, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, stirring often, until the faro softens but is still a bit chewy, about 25 minutes
  6. Stir in the parsley and lemon juice
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Green

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Eat the Rainbow: Green

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Nutrients

Green fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamin A, folate, potassium, vitamin K, and calcium; they are also packed with cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Vitamin K is necessary for making proteins that cause your blood to clot when you bleed to stop the bleeding. It also plays a role in helping the body make other body proteins for your blood, bones, and kidneys. Folate’s primary role is aiding in the making of new body cells by helping produce DNA and RNA. It has also been linked to protecting against heart disease as well as helping control plasma homocystine levels, which are linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk.

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Fruits

  • Green apples
  • Green grapes
  • Green pears
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwifruit
  • Limes

Vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados*
  • Basil
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Cilantro
  • Cucumbers
  • Edamame
  • Endive
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Green olives
  • Green onion
  • Green peppers
  • Jalapeno
  • Kale
  • Leafy greens
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Zucchini
  • Assorted green herbs

Recipes

Karen Jacobs’ Sushi Night

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This week we gathered at Karen Jacobs’ SC Test Kitchen for our biannual sushi night! SC Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi is one of the most beloved SC recipes. It gives us the opportunity to be creative with vegetable combinations, test new ingredients and create personalized dishes.

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This week we experimented with the following ingredients and received wonderful reviews.

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tofu
  • Cucumbers
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Avocado
  • Sesame seeds

Here’s how we made our sushi rolls.

Sticky Brown Rice

Before we could begin rolling our sushi, we prepared the sticky brown rice. First, we followed the cooking directions on the bag and added rice vinegar and soy sauce to while it cooked. Later, the brown rice was transferred to a bowl and was tossed with vinegar.

The proper amount of rice vinegar is important for the rice to be sticky enough to bind and hold together a roll. Last semester, Karen advised that 2 Tablespoons of rice vinegar should be tossed with the every 2/3rds a cup of brown rice.

Rolling Away

1.                 We set the nori down with the shiny side face down.

2.                 Spread the brown rice evenly to create a 1 ¾ inch border.sushi2

3.                 Next, we chose our ingredients and neatly stacked them on top of the brown rice.sushi3

4.                 We gently, yet firmly tucked the edge of the roll in toward the bare side of the nori and continued to roll until it was tightly packaged.

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5.                 We dabbed some water on the ends of the nori to help seal the roll

6.                 Finally, we cut our sushi into 6 pieces and enjoyed with soy sauce and wasabi.

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Take a look at last semester’s sushi night for more inspiration for your own rolls!

Sargent Choice Vegetarian Brown Rice Sushi

Yield 2 servings, 6 rolls each

Ingredients

2/3 cup dry short-grain brown rice
1-cup water
1-teaspoon water
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1-teaspoon wasabi powder
2 (8 ¼ by 7 ¼ -inch) sheets roasted nori (dried layer)
½ Kirby cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/16-inch thick matchsticks
½ medium carrot, cut into 1/16-inch-thick matchsticks
½ small California avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices
¾ ounces radish sprouts, roots trimmed
6 ounces firm tofu, cut into several long pieces

Directions

1.         Prepare brown rice as directed with 1 teaspoon soy sauce

2.       While rice is standing, stir together vinegar and remaining teaspoon soy sauce

3.       Transfer rice to a wide, nonmetal bowl and sprinkle with vinegar mixture. Toss gently with      a large spoon to combine. Cool rice, tossing occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

4.       Stir together wasabi and teaspoon of water to form a stiff paste. Let stand for at least 15 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

5.       Arrange 1 sheet of nori shiny-side down on a sushi mat lengthwise. With damp fingers, gently press half the rice onto the nori with a 1 ¾-inch border on the farthest edge.

6.       Starting 1-inch from the side nearest you, arrange half the cucumber matchsticks, carrot    matchsticks, avocado slices, and tofu pieces in an even strip horizontally across the rice (You may need to cut pieces to fit). Repeat with half the radish sprouts, letting some sprout tops to extend beyond the edge.

7.       Roll the bottom edge of mat toward the top edge while holding the filling in place and pressing firmly to seal roll. Let stand for 5 minutes with the seam down and cut crosswise into 6 pieces with a wet knife.

8.       Repeat steps 5-7 with the second sheet of nori.

1 Serving
Calories250Fat10 gSaturated Fat1.5 gProtein12 gCarbohydrates28 gFiber6 g

Eat Bright

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

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Picture Source

Eat the Rainbow: Orange and Yellow

Nutrients

The first nutrient that usually comes to mind with orange foods is beta carotene. More than just a pigment, beta carotene is an antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage and my have a protective effect against some cancers. Beta carotene is also the precursor for Vitamin A, commonly known as the vitamin for good night vision. Vitamin A is important not only for eye health but is essential for immune strength. Many orange fruits and vegetables are also vitamin C powerhouses. As with vitamin A, vitamin C supports a strong immune system; it also helps rebuild collagen in the skin and protects against cardiovascular disease

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Fruits

  • Apricots
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lemon
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Papayas
  • Peaches
  • Pineapple
  • Tangerines
  • Yellow pears
  • Yellow watermelon

Vegetables

  • Butternut squash
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet corn
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yellow peppers
  • Yellow potatoes
  • Yellow summer squash
  • Yellow tomatoes*
  • Yellow winter squash

Recipes

A New Spin on an Italian Classic

By Lauren Kennedy, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center Dietetic Intern

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Boston University’s Registered Dietitian Laura Judd cooked up Tofu Parmingiana during her “Healthy Cooking on a Budget” class last week. This dish is a perfect starter if you’ve never tried tofu before because it incorporates familiar ingredients, flavors and cooking methods. Master this method and you can use it for chicken or eggplant parmesan. We found a package of tofu for a mere $1.79- you can’t even find a cup of coffee that cheap anymore! Preparation from start to finish only takes about 20 or 30 minutes, depending on your experience and skill level. Breading the tofu was the most labor intensive part and it can get messy (which is part of the fun!). Leftovers? Make a Tofu Parm sandwich for lunch the next day. Pack a side salad and a fruit to round out your meal.

TOFU PARMINGIANA

Makes 4 servings

INGREDIENTS
14 oz package extra firm tofu
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 tbsp Italian Seasoning Mix (dried basil, oregano, thyme)
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½-3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce
½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Drain the tofu and press to get out excess water. Slice tofu in ¼-1/2 inch thick slices widthwise. You should end up with 8-10 slices
  2. Measure flour onto a plate big enough to fit a tofu slice. Beat egg in a swallow dish. Mix all breadcrumbs, spices, salt, and parmesan cheese in another dish.
  3. Take one tofu slice and dip it into the flour. Coat tofu on all sides with flour. Next dip into the egg mixture. Finish with coating in the breadcrumbs, again on all sides. Repeat with remaining tofu.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. If your pan isn’t large enough for all slices, use only ½ the oil the first round. Gently place tofu slices into pan and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
  5. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more.
  6. Preheat oven to 400F. Place tofu slices on a cookie sheet or in a swallow baking dish, top each with a spoonful of marinara sauce and shredded cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. (Make-ahead tip: prepare through step 5, refrigerate. Then add about 5-10 minutes to baking time to heat through).

“KEEN-wah”

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This week at Karen Jacob’s Sargent Choice Test Kitchen, we made SC’s Quinoa Stir-Fry with Chickpeas and Veggies. Quinoa has recently received more recognition in the past few years for its health benefits and also its obscure pronunciation. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, phonetically it is pronounced “keen-wah.”

Quinoa is considered a superhero of the whole grain family. As a complete protein, it contains all of the essential amino acids and has been shown to combat heart disease, diabetes and even cancer (1). The ADA explains that quinoa is also high in fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and many beneficial phytochemicals. Quinoa is a very diverse grain and tastes delicious served both hot and cold. With its many health benefits and a quick cooking time, it can be served as an easy side dish or as the main course.

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Quinoa usually has to soak before cooking, but Karen purchased the pre-soaked quinoa to save us time. The quinoa was rinsed and then boiled with salt and water.  Once the quinoa appeared fluffy, we let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

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Next, we prepared the vegetables to brighten up our quinoa! We added the olive oil, garlic and onions and let them “sweat” out their natural flavors for about 5 minutes before we added the spinach, chickpeas and tomatoes. Then we lowered the heat and combined the vegetables with the quinoa. Finally, to create a more complex flavor base and enhance the vegetable flavors, we added lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper.

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The spinach, tomatoes and chickpeas were fresh and delicious against the slight nutty background flavor of the grainy quinoa. The vegetable quinoa was hearty yet light — the perfect combination for a meal or side dish.

Reference:

http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442451737&terms=quinoa

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quinoa

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Sargent Choice

Quinoa Stir-Fry with Chick Peas & Veggies

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup canned chick peas, rinsed
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
1 T fresh parsley, chopped

Directions:

1. Pour the uncooked quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with running water for two to three minutes, agitating the seeds with your hands to remove any residue.

2. Bring the quinoa, salt, and water to a full boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Reduce to medium heat, cover and simmer until the quinoa is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

3. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in minced garlic and onion. Cook until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minute.

4. Lower the heat, add in cooked quinoa, chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach and stir for about 2 minutes. Stir in lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro) to finish.

1 ServingCalories160Fat3.5 gSaturated Fat0 gProtein6 gCarbohydrates27 gFiber5 g

Grain of the Month: Wheat Berries

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

The first Tuesday of every month we will be featuring a grain. The posts will include background on the grain, nutritional information, instructions on how to store and cook it, and, of course, one or two healthy recipes for using the grain. Our goal is to help you add variety to your meals in 2012!

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Background
Similar in shape to short-grain brown rice, wheat berries are whole wheat kernels from which whole wheat flour is made from. Both varieties, red and white, are whole grains that have only had the hull removed.

Nutritional Profile

Since only the hull has been removed, wheat berries are nutritional power-houses. A half cup of cooked wheat berries contains 3.5 g protein, 4.3 g of fiber, and only 111 calories. They are also loaded with antioxidant vitamin E and magnesium, which is important for bone and muscles.

Buying and Storing
Wheat berries can be found in the natural section of most large supermarkets and in many health food stores as well. As stated above, wheat berries come in red and white varieties, with each being nutritionally equivalent. Wheat berries should be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

Preparing

While wheat berries to not need to be pre-soaked, they do need to be rinsed before cooking. Place in a colander and rinse under running water until the water runs clear then drain. For ½ cup of uncooked wheat berries, place 1.25 cups of water (or broth) to a boil. Add rinsed wheat berries to the water and bring to a boil again. Once boiling, turn down the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. A half cup uncooked wheat berries boiled in 1.25 cups of water yields about 1 1/8 cups cooked wheat berries. If you’re good at planning ahead, wheat berries can also be cooked in slow cookers overnight.

Recipes

Adding Color to Your Diet

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

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A friend who is interested in eating healthier once asked me if he was only going to eat two fruits and one or two vegetables, which are the healthiest. Unfortunately for him and for anyone who was hoping for a definite answer, the reality is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is the healthiest option. Different varieties supply different nutrients, so by eating as many different kinds as you can, you will be providing your body with more types of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.rainbow-vegetables-and-fruit

This month’s theme is Eat the Rainbow. Each week a list of fruits and vegetables of a certain color will be listed along with their general nutrition highlights and some recipes. The goal is not to have a day where you eat all red fruits or all green vegetables, but to use these lists to create meals that are filled with many colors.

Eat the Rainbow: Red Fruits and Vegetables

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Nutrients: The two main pigments in red fruits and vegetables are lycopene and anthocyanins. Found in tomatoes and watermelon, lycopene is an antioxidant that may help protect against several types of cancer, especially prostate cancer. Anthocyanins are found in foods such as strawberries, raspberries, and red grapes. They are also antioxidants and have protective effects on both cells and the heart.

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Blood oranges
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Guava
  • Pink grapefruit
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Pomegranates
  • Watermelon

Vegetables

  • Red bell peppers
  • Red chili peppers
  • Red potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Tomatoes

Recipes

Best of the Foodweb: Inspired Wellness Solutions

By Kelli Swensen, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

Every Wednesday this semester we will be posting about a new blog or cooking website that we love! The internet is filled with food websites, and our goal is to arm you with the “Best of the Food Web”!

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Chrissy Caroll is a registered dietitian on a mission to help even the busiest individuals reach their health and fitness goals through her consultation services and blog. Located in Mansfield, MA, Inspired Wellness Solutions, LCC was created by Chrissy, who not only is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer, but a Boston University grad too! For more information on her programs, be sure to visit her website. Today’s post is focused on her awesome blog. While there have been many blogs featured on Best of the Foodweb that offer healthy food options, very few have authors with the credentials and expertise that Chrissy has. From recipes and body image to fitness and family nutrition, Chrissy covers all aspects of nutrition and wellness. Her posts are packed with pictures and her writing is warm and approachable. For any health-related questions you might have, there is a very strong change that Chrissy has you covered. Here are some posts to get you going:

Disclaimer: The Sargent Choice blog includes links to other websites only as information to consumers, not as medical advice. When you access an external website, keep in mind that Sargent Choice has no control over its content.  Sargent Choice is not responsible for the content found at any of the sites, nor do any links imply endorsement or promotion of the company/organization, its content, services, therapeutic treatment options, or products. Accordingly, you visit any site at your own risk.  Sargent Choice is also not responsible for the policies and practices of these sites, such as their Privacy Policy, use of “cookies”, etc. We encourage you to review the privacy policies of each site that you visit through a link on our website

The Perfect Tofu Treat

By Bianca Tamburello, Dietetics Student, Sargent College

This week at the Karen Jacob’s SC Test Kitchen, we made SC Baked Tofu Sticks with Dipping Sauce. Originally, we thought that the tofu sticks would be ideal for a light afternoon snack, but we unanimously agreed that they are delicious and filling enough to be eaten for numerous occasions.

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The sticks are perfect as a savory and healthy dinner party appetizer!  The recipe advises to cut the tofu into friendly sticks but you could also cube the tofu and serve them with toothpicks on a platter. The sticks would also be delicious as a meal paired with your favorite vegetable, such as spinach.

Dipping Sauce

The dipping sauce was really easy to make! We whisked together soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and scallions and transferred it to a serving bowl.

If you do not own individual dipping bowls, small handle-less tea cups or espresso cups are great to use for individual dipping sauce holders instead of a large community dipping bowl.

Tofu Sticks

Cutting the tofu sticks perfectly into 24 sticks is not critical but it is important for portion control. The nutrition facts panel listed below is based on the size of 5 tofu sticks cut from the 24 stick count.

  1. We cut the tofu block horizontally into 3 equal parts then
  2. stacked the slices and cut them into halves
  3. cut them into quarters
  4. and finally cut the tofu into eighths

We made the tofu marinade by simply mixing the soy sauce, rice vinegar and garlic. Next, we drizzled the marinade over the sticks and flipped them after 15 minutes to allow each side to soak up as much flavor as possible from the marinade.

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The outside breading was assembled using bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper and cayenne. Then we whisked the flour and water mixture, that helps bind the breadcrumb mixture to the tofu sticks.

Similar to breading chicken, we thoroughly covered the tofu sticks in the flour and water mixture and then fully coated them with the breadcrumb mixture. Finally, we placed the sticks on a lightly sprayed pan and baked them for 30 minutes.

Step 1: Coat tofu in flour and water mixture

Step 1: Coat tofu in flour and water mixture

Step 2: Bread the tofu

Step 2: Bread the tofu

The tofu sticks were perfectly crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and bursting with flavor. The scallions in the dipping sauce combined deliciously with the parsley and paprika and added moisture to the crunchy breading.

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Sargent Choice Baked Tofu Sticks with Dipping Sauce

Yield: 5 servings

Ingredients
Baked Tofu Sticks
:
1 cake firm tofu, about 16 ounces
3 Tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 ½ cups whole wheat bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
6 Tablespoons cold water

Dipping Sauce:
1 Tablespoon soy sauce, low sodium
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon finely chopped scallions

Directions

Dipping Sauce

  1. 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dipping sauce ingredients

Baked Tofu Sticks

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Lightly spray or oil a baking tray
  2. Cut the cake of tofu horizontally into three equal slices.  Stack the slices and cut down through them vertically in parallel lines, dividing the cake first into halves then quarters and finally eighths, to yield 24 sticks.
  3. Arrange the tofu sticks in a baking dish in a single layer
  4. Mix together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, and garlic and drizzle over the tofu sticks.
  5. Set aside for about 30 minutes, turning the sticks once after 15 minutes so the tofu will absorb the marinade evenly
  6. In a large shallow bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  7. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk together the flour and water until smooth.  Dip each marinated tofu stick into the flour mixture and then coat well with the seasoned bread crumbs
  8. Arrange the breaded sticks on the baking tray so they’re not touching and bake for about 30 minutes, until crisp and hot
  9. Serve Baked Tofu Sticks warm, accompanied by the sauce

~5 Baked Tofu Sticks and 1½ tsp Dipping SauceCalories185Fat5 gSaturated Fat0 gProtein13 gCarbohydrates24 gFiber4 g