Necessity is the mother of invention which is where this meal came into play.
You know those weeknights when you have no idea what you’re going to make for dinner but you know you better come up with something before either you or a family member has a meltdown? Yeah, those nights.
Well this meal prevented meltdowns in our house.
It’s also vegan depending on the cheese used.
And very flavorful thanks to the salsa. The salsa verde I used packs a little heat and kick.
Depending on the type of salsa used, you can take it from a lil’ kick to a ka-pow kick.
And it uses one of my favorite appliances, the microwave.
If you don’t have a microwave, you could likely prepare this on the stovetop, warming and melting the ingredients that way.
You could also try using a slow cooker.
But since I have a microwave, and am not shy about using it, and because I am usually running late on dinner prep and wondering what am I going to make for dinner?
…I decided to give microwaved tofu a try.
And you know what, it worked.
It worked so well that even those people, ahem Scott, who don’t really “love” tofu asked for more.
Skylar is my little plant-based garbage disposal. She eats raw broccoli, likes really hot and spicy foods, and will gladly eat Brussels’s sprouts, so this was a big, plant-based hit with her.
She calls tofu ‘toe-food’. She asked for “More toe-food, please, Mommy.” I loved that.
And I loved that it was done in about 6 minutes from start to finish.
And let’s not forget that it’s
1 block of tofu: $1.49 TJ’s
1 jar of salsa: $1.99 (used half the jar, $1 worth)
1 bag of cheese: $1.99 (used half the bag which was 1 cup, $1 worth)
= $3.50 to feed the entire family dinner
All I have to do is buy another block of tofu and I can feed us again with the unused portions of the salsa and cheese.
Two meals, for 3 people, for $7 total.
$1.16 per person, per meal
Microwave Salsa Verde Pepperjack Tofu
1 c salsa verde (or any salsa you enjoy; red, green, spicy, mild, etc)
1 c shredded pepper jack cheese (or Monterrey Jack, Mexican blend, or preferred blend/type, i.e. Daiya, soy-based, goat, etc.)
1 block tofu (pressed, diced. Optional: use pre-cooked/leftover chicken, turkey; or mock chicken nuggets, veggie burgers, etc.)
Press the tofu. If you don’t have a tofu press, simply press it between two heavy pots/cookie sheets and place something heavy on top for at least 15 minutes, and get the paper towels ready to absorb the liquid. After the tofu has been pressed, dice it into cubes. Place tofu in the bottom of a microwave-safe bowl and add the salsa. Add a piece of plastic wrap/Saran Wrap over the top of the bowl and microwave for about 2:30 to 3 minutes on high. Remove from the microwave and add the shredded cheese to the bowl and stir. Re-cover with plastic wrap and microwave for another 2:30 to 3 minutes on high, or until cheese is melted and mixture is hot and bubbling. Give a final stir and serve.
Notes: If you don’t have a microwave, you could do this on the stovetop, warming and melting the ingredients that way. You could also try using a slow cooker.
This tofu would be fabulous as a filling in tortillas shells or in wraps of any kind.
After it’s done cooking feel free to hit it with more salsa if you’re a salsa fiend.
You can make extra (buy two blocks of tofu and use 1 full jar of salsa and 2 cups of cheese) and eat any leftovers cold, too.
People eat cold pasta salads all the time, and Whole Foods has made a small fortune selling prepared tofu salads that are cold from their deli case.
I tried this one cold (planned leftovers, love them) and it was tasty that way, too. In fact, the flavor was actually better the next day because the salsa really marinated into the ‘fu and the flavors intensified and married together even more. Kind of like what happens in chili (vegan) the next day.
Tofu is such a versatile food.
And now, I can say I’ve made it in the microwave.
Radiation never ceases. Wonders never cease.
1. Do you like tofu? Know anyone who doesn’t like tofu? Or confused how to prepare tofu at home and have it turn out properly?
I wrote a Tofu Preparation & Cooking Tips post that may be of interest to you. It focuses on baking or broiling tofu, which I prefer to pan-frying. There is something about cooking tofu on the stovetop that I generally avoid due to splattering oil. Not really a fan of grease burns and tofu always splatters and burns me.
Now I can add the microwave method to my repertoire.
I also have a Tofu Recipes section with previous ‘fu creations.
2. Have you ever tried to microwave tofu?
This was a first for me and I will be doing it again. And again. Using different kinds of salsas, fruit butters, cheeses, chutneys, and trying my hand at more microwave tofu versions because this was just too easy and good not to repeat.
And we avoided meltdowns or devouring a half of a bag of chips standing in the kitchen wondering what we were going to have for dinner or moving on to a handful of this and a handful of that and another handful of this, before realizing a real smorgasboard of nothing was just consumed and you still need to make dinner. We’ve all been there. So that’s why this micro tofu is going to be on rotation for us.
P.S. I have a favor to ask. Please vote here for my No Bake PB Biscoff Cookie Dough Bites in the Delta Biscoff Bakeoff. You can vote once per day for the next week. Thank you! If I win, I could win a culinary dream trip to NYC, Napa or LA. It just takes a second to click and vote. Thank you so much!
Love this micro tofu idea and will be trying it – and planning a Sriracha version (I love the heat!). For the pan frying, I find that well-pressed tofu does very well in a non-stick pan with spray oil, such as PAM. No splattering and all the browning and cooking of the outer layer desired. Happy tofuing!!
Wow, This turned out GREAT! My first time eating tofu really and it’s delicious. I didnt press it for too long because of time and my grocery store only had firm so it crumbled a little, but boy was it good! I used mango salsa and it just is a treat. It tastes so unhealthy but its so hearty and inexpensive! I’ll definitely be making it again.
So glad this was a big hit with you!
I love this recipe and glad you did too…easy, flavorful, hearty and inexpensive…LMK if you try it with other combos of salsa/cheese/cheeze!
So excited to try this tonight…the unseasonally warm weather here in New England is causing cravings for Mexican food…plus I opened my salsa verde earlier in the week so now I need to use the rest. ;)
keep me posted!
Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner…was too busy having a foodgasm from this recipe. ;)
SO glad you liked it! Pretty much the easiest thing going….not sure if you eat meat or not but they did an instore sample of this at TJ’s with their chicken strips, cheese, and salsa, melted in micro and people were going nuts for it, too.
No meat…usually no dairy either. I had planned on leaving it off but post run my body was like “CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESE.” And potassium…so I proceeded to make pan-fried bananas with a cinnamon-maple drizzle. Clearly it was necessary. ;)
This looks so delicious. You could really make it a meal if you put it over rice or in lettuce wraps.
Yes or over salads, or with lentils, beans, quinoa, in wraps, alongside other grains, cook it and then pour broth over it for a soup, so many options.
Love this post! Not only is it convenient, but also healthy and inexpensive! Thanks for sharing this little delight !
This looks fabulous, perfect for a fun dinner! Love the vibrant colors in the photos.
1. Yes, especially the pre-pressed, high protein stuff.
2. Only in leftovers, but not cooking it this way.
I tried this dish. Its actually pretty nice!
I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for the field report!
I absolutely love tofu, and don’t even have to cook it to enjoy it. I can eat it completely plain. I have never microwaved it, usually I throw it into a stir fry.
I’ve never even thought about microwaving tofu!!! I must try!
Squee! I, too, use my microwave constantly and lately have been living off tofu mixed with condiments. Go us! :P
LOL skylar called tofu…toe-food!! omg I watn to hear her say that I bet is so cute!! and you are so amazing for bringing her up around whole, raw foods…she is going to be a food connosuier and so extremely healthy when she is older!
I have never tried microwaving tofu but it sounds like a no-brainer! I definately want to give that a go soon!
OK so I have this vision of one day getting in the kitchen with you and Jessica and just eating my heart out with your amazing baking skills (considering I have ZERO) your cookies and sweets are always so amazingly delicious!!!
I would love to cook and bake with you, and Jess. Oh the fun we could get into!!!
toe-food! so adorable :)
I love tofu! I tried your mango chutney tofu this summer & LOVED it!! it didn’t take me long to finish the whole batch :D
thanks for the report back!
i actually do like tofu and was finally getting into it, but then i went on an anti-inflammatory diet and soy is a no no. i also hear a lot about the hormones found in soy, so i am hesitant to give it to my girls. what do you think about the contraversy?
I think that it’s a very complex question and that each person has to do his/her own research based on other lifestyle choice, health, genetic tendencies, and just go with what feels best and right.
I do not hesitate to give my daughter tofu a few times a week. To each her own. There is soy in most EVERYTHING when you really start reading labels on most of our foods these days.
Again, do your own homework :)
I love the ‘fu, though I’ve never microwaved it. I’m so down for a quick and cheap (vegan) meal though!
Looks like a delicious tofu dish, very creative.
Yum! I am definitely trying this Averie! I have so much Tofu in my fridge that I need to use up ASAP!
Thanks for the recipes – I am always looking for new and delicious ways to prepare tofu! Whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant I am awed at how much flavour they get into it!
Mmmm…economical AND delicious!!! Yum!
I am very intrigued by this! My husband, Aubrey, and I have been experimenting with tofu quite a bit. Trying to find what ways we like it and what ways we don’t. I have found that there is no way to turn him off faster to tofu than when it’s too chewy or “spongey.”
the key to getting it the way you want it I think is to press it really, really well. That’s going to make it firmer and less chewy/spongey. Also freezing it in the package, then thawing it, then pressing it will result in sort of a bread-like texture, see this post. You can use any flavoring but the technique of freezing it may be interesting to him. Not sure just talking out loud…
I tried to make a tofu quesadilla at home and it was a total fail. I haven’t been able to eat tofu since. BUT $7 for that many meals? I may have to give it another try … after I read your post. Thanks for sharing!!
you had me at pepperjack. and I DID just get a NEW microwave yesterday. This is a win.
I love and miss tofu! I wish I could have it again. This looks so good! I love that you used the microwave. I’m all about convenience these days!
I love tofu but never tried using the microwave to cook it. I’m so glad I read this, because I have a block of tofu at home that I was thinking of cooking soon. This is very creative and I love how simple (and cheap!) it is!
I’ve never tried it, but you’ve convinced me quickly that I need to! I love tofu in all kinds of dishes. And that dish looks so easy and yummy!
Ohh this look SO simple. I referenced your ‘fu page when I made tofu for the first time a few months back, but next time I buy it I’m definetely trying this out! Does it stay mushy? I’m not a big fan of mushy tofu…
But awesome combo of flavors too, love salsa and cheese so much!
It’s not mushy to me if you press it, well. That’s key. It doesn’t get crispy but it’s not mushy either. Glad my tofu tips helped you!
I kind of hate tofu – the texture. I know the press method, blahblah. I’ve tried it all. I used to it a ton, but after about two years, I finally admitted that I just don’t like it. But, if it gets crispy, then I’m game. I imagine microwaved would be mushy though. BUT, I’m all about the microwave. Almost every lunch I make at work is in the microwave, and I am not ashamed of that.
“Those nights”? Yep. Every day.
no, it’s not crispy. So for you who already is not a ‘fu fan, just skip this meal :)
Look at that! I’ve actually been craving it recently. Yes, it’s possible to actually CRAVE tofu. I think I’ll do something like this tomorrow night!
I’ve never tried microwaving tofu, but will definitely give this a try next time I need to make dinner in under 10 minutes. Great idea and I love anything that has salsa!
Yeah, I agree with Kristina @Spabettie, I would have thought that the tofu would just grow-like marshmallows or eggs!
Love the simplicity of this. I bet it would be fantastic spooned into tortilla wraps with some lettuce and tomatoes too. I used to hate tofu actually until I finally figured out how to cook it properly.
Okay, I very rarely eat tofu, but now I want to try it! You make it look so easy and delicious!!!! Hmm… so microwaving it is easy? I NEED to do that. And I’ve always wanted to try that green salsa from Trader Joe’s. Guess where I’ll be headed tomorrow. ha!
just make sure you press it well before you micro it and you’re good to go. Great for your boys…a nice protein packed snack for them. Maybe not with the salsa but Skylar loves it :) If nothing else, that salsa is stellar. Enjoy!
This looks great! I love salsa and cheese. I’m one of those people who is weird about microwaves (I know – sorry! And I’m sure I’ll be proved wrong!) but I could totally get into this on the stove-top!
I also wanted to thank you loads for some of your candid (historic) posts about blogging! I started a blog a few months ago but kept getting unhappy with parts of it, and also feeling like I’d just revealed too much of myself etc etc – the whole process was starting to really stress me out – and since the blog was focussing on being happy and healthy (which I usually am!) the fact that my blog was making me unhappy was areal source of stress.. and irony.
Anyways I read your posts, decided to delete my previous posts and start again and (just in my last post) I feel I’ve at last found the stride I want to go with! But I think I would have been way too fretful about ‘not being myself’ by deleting some of the old stuff had I not read your reminder that it is, after all, MY blog. I need to deal with it in the way that makes me happy – sooooo thanks again!
Thanks for the nice comment and filling me in that you’ve gained some insights from some of my posts. Great! And glad you have hit your stride; I’ve been blogging 2.5 years, 2x a day for most of that time, and just about the time I feel like I’ve hit my stride, then life, things, thoughts, perspectives, all change…and I kind of reinvent the wheel again. So enjoy the ebbs and flows of your new blog :)
wow, no, I have never tried to put tofu in the microwave! I am imagining the block getting bigger and Bigger and BIGGER… ;)
I love just about anything with salsa verde.
no girl it doesnt grow. It’s the best thing ever. The whole process was like a 5 min meal. DO IT! I was worried too but I figured, what the heck..worth a try. Glad I tried!