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Hi there! I'm Katherine, and Beloved Kitchen is where I share healthy gluten free and vegetarian recipes, as well as the stories and travels that intersect my life. I hope you enjoy your time here!
-xo KA

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Simple black pepper tofu {vegan & gluten free}

Simple black pepper tofu {vegan & gluten free}

I started following a vegetarian diet about 7 years ago. It was early 2012, I was finishing my undergraduate degree in Ottawa, and I was struggling with worsening digestive problems. It was the new year, I was starting to get really fed up. I had been to see my family doctor in the past, and the advice I was given was to try eliminate certain foods from my diet and to identify what made me feel better or worse, noting key irritants like dairy, gluten, and soy. I had put off doing this for a long while, frustrated that my doctor couldn’t just give me a pill or a magic supplement to fix my problems.

Simple black pepper tofu | Beloved Kitchen

But as I mentioned, by this time I was starting to get really fed up, and so I finally took the leap and placed my health into my own hands. It wasn’t until I started experimenting with plant-based foods and elimination diets that my doctor agreed to send me to see a gastroenterologist. After an initial consultation, I was sent for an endoscopy to test for coeliac disease. Luckily, the test came back negative, and the gastroenterologist told me I had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and that I needed to manage the symptoms through my diet and lifestyle. She recommended that I continue on a gluten free diet if I found that it helped me manage my IBS symptoms.

Simple black pepper tofu | Beloved Kitchen

Fast forward to today - I’ve been following a very strict gluten free and vegetarian diet for the better part of the last 7 years, I know which specific foods might lead to flare-ups, and I’ve learned to observe what I eat and understand when a food makes me feel bad. As a result, I feel so much better now, and I have been able to avoid IBS flare-ups on the whole - I now get them as little as once or twice a year. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard at first, but I believe that feeling well in the long term far outweighs the short-lived pleasure of indulging in a flakey croissant.

So when I first started out trying different foods back in 2012, one of my key go-to protein-rich foods was extra firm tofu. I was only recently reflecting on that time, when I remembered my favourite way of preparing tofu back then: tossed in barbecue-style spices and pan-fried in olive oil. It must have been my coping strategy for weaning off meat, and I used to love the stuff.

Simple black pepper tofu | Beloved Kitchen
Simple black pepper tofu | Beloved Kitchen

This black pepper tofu is a spin off from that 2012 version, using only 4 ingredients: tofu, olive oil, salt and black pepper. It makes a killer topping for a big salad or a good source of protein to serve with a larger spread of veggies and grains. I’ve been making this tofu on repeat over the last few weeks - I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been!

-xo KA

Simple black pepper tofu | Beloved Kitchen

Simple black pepper tofu {vegan & gluten free}

This is my favourite way to prepare tofu when I’m short on time. You can make this with as much tofu as you like - just make sure not to crowd the pan too much. I don’t measure out the salt and pepper when I make this, I normally grind the salt and pepper over the pan and add a bit more towards the end if needed.

Ingredients:

  • 1 blog extra firm tofu, cut into 1.5cm-thick strips (or any size you like)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Freshly ground pink salt (or any fine salt you like)

Method:

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu strips, gently tossing the tofu to coat in olive oil. Grind a good amount of salt and pepper over one side of the tofu, then flip the tofu and add more seasoning. Fry the tofu until golden on all sides - this should take about 10 minutes, flipping the tofu every once in a while to get each long side golden brown.

Serve immediately as a salad or veggie bowl topper.

Makes 12 strips of black pepper tofu.

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