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Low Sugar Orange Tofu

Panda Express recently discontinued a Beyond Meat rendition of their (in)famous orange chicken. I never stopped to sample it, but the loss has been felt by many convenience-seeking vegans. While tofu may never be a poultry clone, you never risk a bite of bone. Plus, orange chicken sauce sneaks a sinister amount of added sugar into your gullet. Below is a tried-and-true vegan version of the beloved Asian classic.

14 oz. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed by a heavy object for at least 15 minutes.*

3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 Mandarin orange, zested AND juiced

1 tablespoons blackstrap molasses (or liquid sweetener of your choice)

Ginger in some form (can be fresh, powdered, or a paste.)

2 tablespoons chickpea flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon garlic powder or onion powder

Vinegar or water to thin, if needed

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Whisk soy sauce, everything orange, molasses, ginger, and 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour (or 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch) until you reach a thin paste/thick sauce.
  3. Customize your “chicken”: rustic or cubic? For the former, tear off pieces of the tofu block into perfectly imperfect pieces. For square tofu bites, cut into cubes. Geometry should help you with that.
  4. Toss in a separate bowl with the remaining flour, adding a little oil spray or vinegar to help the starch stick.
  5. Add scantily-coated tofu to orange marinade and drench every craggy chunk of dice shape.
  6. Spread out on a baking sheet and pop in the oven for 30-35 minutes, visiting twice during their transformative process to stir.
  7. Serve with Banza ginger scallion legume rice, stir-fried veggies, or add to salads.

*If you want to fool meaty tastebuds, freeze the tofu overnight after pressing, then defrost it in the microwave and press again until your sweet ‘n’ sticky sauce is ready.

Orange chicken used to be a weekly treat for me on the way back from physical therapy. My mom would buy me a gong-sized plate of marinated meat over white rice and an orange soda. We listened to rock ‘n’ roll or audiobooks in the car before returning to home life. I made these tofu bites on a whim to stir up memories, and the whole famished family fell in love.

Best Dishes,

The Hippie Happy Foodist

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The Hippie Happy Foodist