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Sumac, a gorgeous burgundy-hued spice, is made from ground Sumac berries. I know what you are thinking, and no, these are not the poisonous version you see out while hiking in the woods, however they are related. I was introduced to sumac this past spring at a wedding shower I was co-hosting. The beautiful, Persian bride showed me how to simply sprinkle the spice on top of salads and grilled meats, as this is a common ingredient used in Middle Eastern cuisine. I quickly fell in love with this lemony, tart flavor and knew I had to incorporate it at home for a vegetarian version of a grilled summer dish.
Since the spice makes an excellent dry rub for meats, I thought it would make a great marinade for tofu. I tried two versions, one with greek yogurt, and the other (vegan) with olive oil as a base to make a fun little taste test in the kitchen (testers being myself and my husband).
I kept the tofu marinating for an hour in the refrigerator, but in all honesty, giving it more time would have given an even bigger flavor boost. I would suggest at least two hours, or even overnight if you have the time to make it the night before. Also, the extra firm tofu would be the best type for grilling the tofu, unless you want it looking like a tofu scramble (doesn’t sound too bad actually!).
I threw in peppers on the grill pan, and after doing some research on some of my favorite blogs, such as Serious Eats and The Kitchn, these veggies, and even cauliflower, were suggested due to their neutral flavor balancing out the tartness from the sumac.
This recipe was incredibly easy and super light for a nice summer grill. I threw my tofu and peppers on top of some brown rice. Feel free to also try it on top of a whole wheat pita!
- Ground Sumac, 4 teaspoons
- Non-fat (or lowfat), Plain Greek Yogurt, 1/2 cup
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup (handful) of cilantro, chopped
- 1 14 ounce package extra firm tofu
- 2 medium bell peppers, thickly sliced
- Remove the tofu from the package and drain out the liquid; press firmly onto a towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Cut the tofu into 1 inch slices face down (makes about 8 pieces) and set aside.
- To make the marinade, mix together the sumac, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, and yogurt.
- Coat the tofu slices and set aside for one hour in the refrigerator (or overnight for even more flavor).
- Once the tofu is ready, heat a greased grill pan to medium high heat.
- Place the tofu and peppers face down. Cook until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes and repeat after flipping to other side.
- Top off extra greek yogurt, sumac, and/or cilantro if desired; feel free to serve the tofu and peppers on brown rice or whole wheat pita!