As many may know, we have partnered with Living Harvest to recommend their products in our new cookbook (get it here) and to engage in some cross branding with them as well.
I’ve been working with Candi on all the details, and although I’ve not met her in person or spoken over the phone, she comes across as a very sweet and positive person over email, and I’ve enjoyed establishing this working relationship with her.
So, Candi asked us to do a review of their new product that’s just hit shelves in the last few weeks, and we were DELIGHTED to oblige! When I discovered soy did not agree with my body (or our son’s), a LARGE stable item in our diet was cut out… TOFU. Soooo… hearing that Living Harvest Tempt had developed a hemp based tofu… well, I nearly cried.
There are so many things you can use tofu for as a vegetarian or vegan, we had definitely been missing this staple item in our household. I was also very excited because there are so many health benefits to having hemp in your diet, that who wouldn’t welcome another delicious way to bring it in as a regular option.
So, when I looked at the packages we selected, the first thing I noticed was the hemp seeds in the tofu. That’s different, but I’m fairly open minded.
We selected 3 flavors: Sweet & Spicy Chili Lime, Original (plain), and Mexican Chorizo to try the product out in three different recipes. We decided to do a quesadilla with the Mexican Chorizo, a burrito with the Sweet Chili Lime, and to season the plain tofu with sausage seasoning for a Louisiana dirty rice recipe.
First was the quesadilla…
I wanted to see how well the hemp tofu would brown in a pan. So, I sauteed some onions and garlic first, and then added the tofu. The hemp tofu crumpled well into the pan, and looked like a pale white version of hamburger substitute… COOL! It did seem to have a different texture than soy based tofu, not unsavory… just different. However, and I will preface here that I am definitely NOT and expert chef so it could have been my technique (or lack thereof), despite copious amounts of oil, the tofu stuck to the pan and most of what turned brown was what was stuck. So, I proceeded to scrape off the brown bits, paired with the cooked but not brown bits, and finish my quesadilla filling by adding some spinach to saute.
I was in a bit of a rush so I forgot to taste the seasoning level before I proceeded to actually assemble the dish, but other than it being a little under salted, it was a really great edition to our family staple quick meal. The Mexican chorizo seasoning paired nicely with the Daiya Pepper jack vegan cheese alternative we used and the texture, although different from soy tofu, was pleasant to the mouth. I can’t think of anything to compare it to, or I would use it as an example. It was somewhat soft and moist made this way, but not in a way that felt too alien or obtrusive… just different. The seeds didn’t stand out in the texture either.
And when we were finished eating, all three of us (me, hubby, and son) were left wanting more.
Next, we tried the Sweet Chili & Lime Hemp Tofu in a tofu and bean burrito. I decided to bake the tofu crumbles this time in an attempt to create a more faux hamburger like product with the tofu. That required a few steps.
First, after I preheated my oven to 350 degrees, I crumpled the hemp tofu in a bowl with a fork.
I decided, using the marinade it came in as a foundation, that I would add several Mexican spices to make it more like a taco meat.
I also added some oil to help with possible sticking to the baking pan.
I also oiled the pan before I spread the seasoned tofu crumbles in a single layer for baking.
Since this was my first time, I baked in 10 minute increments, moving the crumbles around a bit for even cooking. After 20 minutes, the tofu looked almost brown enough, so I cooked it another 5 and removed it from the oven. This was the result.
It tasted really great as a stand alone, but we were making burritos! So, at this point hubby took over to finish the meal.
…and the result was, a VERY tasty hemp tofu and bean burrito! The mouth feel of the hemp tofu was MUCH better than when I had pan sauteed it for the quesadillas. Again, we wanted more…lol. Can you tell we love food?
So, the last experiment was with the Original Hemp Tofu. This one had no marinade on it. I chose this one specifically for this dish because I wanted to see how well the plain tofu picked up on seasonings on it own, and what would happen when you added the baked tofu to wet ingredients.
I began by cooking rinsed long grain rice with some Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillon with Herbs, finished off with a couple bay leaves.
While the rice was cooking, I sauteed the mirepoix (celery, onions, carrots) with a little salt.
I crumbled the tofu like the last recipe and seasoned it with herbs that would be used with sausage as well as a smoked paprika and a coconut enzyme for both color and flavor.
I baked it 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
This was the finished tofu that I added to the dish. The coconut enzymes, along with the paprika and browning in the oven gave it a great color!
I added the mirepoix along with some salt and pepper and let it sit for a few minutes for the flavors to mingle.
Hubby and I decided to saute some asparagus for the side and voila!
This Louisiana style dirty rice was full of flavor and the texture was GREAT! The hemp tofu stood up beautifully in this dish when introduced to moisture from the vegetables and rice. This dish was TRULY delicious!
As a person with multiple food allergies (with a son who has them too), I am completely delighted that we have a new source of protein in our diet thanks to Living Harvest Hemp Tofu, and I am looking forward to further food adventures with this product in the future!
The Allergy Friendly Vegetarian.
For the recipes to the three dishes featured here, follow our blog.