New Bacon: Smoked Tofu

Ok, so it's not bacon-bacon, per se. But if you're of the school of thought that all these smoked, cured, generally processed nitrate-tastic meats are probably not the greatest for you, try swapping in smoked tofu now and then. You've heard that tofu, while relatively flavorless on its own, is great at absorbing other flavors. Smoke permeates pretty deeply into tough, dense meats, making them succulent and tender. Just imagine what it could do to tofu.

One place you can reliably find smoked tofu is pad thai. That's what those dense little pieces of "something" are. It goes great in quinoa salad, complementing the chewy, dense grains and adding tons of depth. Make your own miso soup? That is to say, can you dissolve miso paste in boiling water and add a little seaweed? Replacing the flavorless little cubes of firm or silken tofu with its extra-firm, smoked, borderline-overachieving cousin makes for an especially hearty and still incredibly healthy dish.

Now back to that bacon comparison. I'm not making wild claims that smoked tofu has a crunchy-chewy texture or tastes like pig. If you're jonesin' for bacon, nothing but bacon will satisfy your craving. But if it's just the smoky umami experience you're after, swapping thin slices of smoked tofu in your BLT will most definitely do the trick. And hey, with a smear of Veganaise, you just inadvertantly made a tasty vegan BLT. Who would have thought such a thing existed?

Experiment with smoked tofu when it comes to your favorite recipes. It's surprisingly delicious in pasta carbonara instead of guanciale or pancetta cubes (again, not a permanent arrangement). Plus, smoked anything is automatically trendy. I actually swooned when I saw smoked beets on a menu. I've been served food atop smoked hay (not edible, as I discovered). Hop on that old bandwagon with the rest of the hippie foodsters and give less-outwardly weird smoked tofu a shot.