Peanut butter-tofu pie a prescription for good health

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Is it just me, or does it seem like we the people are being turned into a nation of hypochondriacs by a barrage of pharmaceutical ads on TV and in print? Really, who hasn’t had a little muscle or joint pain, indigestion or lack of libido, trouble sleeping or coping? But attach a medical label to these occurrences, and we’re advised to get immediate medical attention through a pill or injection.

I found myself caught up in this trap when I got the results back from my physical that said there was nothing wrong with me. My first thought was that I needed a second opinion.

Nutritionists will advise you to minimize your dependency on over and behind the counter drugs by including more fruit, nuts and vegetables in your diet while restricting animal fats and processed foods.

The trick is to introduce some of the healthy things while omitting the bad ones without feeling punished. This peanut butter-tofu pie does the trick.

Packed with protein, calcium, omega-3 and -6, antioxidants, and whole grains, this pie has a lot more to offer than the conventional version made from cream cheese, whipped cream and sugar. Yet it still delivers the creamy, chocolaty elements you are looking for in a dessert.

For the crust we used chocolate Cheerios which are whole grain and little better for you than a typical cookie crust. We also have made it using ground up granola with success. Whatever you decide to use the ratio is 4 cups (or 12 ounces by weight) to 6 ounces of melted Earth Balance, Olivio or some other quality butter substitute.

The other thing to watch for in making this dish is the package size of your tofu. Depending on the brand they can range from 12 to 16 ounces. Azuma makes an organic extra firm that comes in one pound packages. Raley’s has it. Otherwise, if you end up having to use a partial package to achieve the one pound required, store the unused part submerged in water, and try to use it within four or five days.

So, it’s that simple. Turn off the TV, and eat more plants. It might be the only “farm-a ceutical” you really need.

Peanut Butter-Tofu Pie

Serves 8

For the crust:

4 cups chocolate Cheerios

6 ounces Earth Balance spread, melted

For the pie:

1 pound extra firm tofu

½ cup Truvia sugar substitute

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon vanilla

For the frosting:

1 ripe avocado

½ cup honey

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 big pinches of ground cinnamon

1 pinch salt

Crust: Place the Cheerios in the bowl of a food processor and grind until most of the big pieces are gone. Add the melted Earth Balance and process until damp crust is formed. Press into an 8-inch glass pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes to set. Allow to cool.

Filling: In a steamer (or you can invert a plate in a large pot with about a ½ inch of water and a tight fitting lid) steam the tofu for about 15 minutes. While it is steaming, process the remaining filling ingredients in a food processor until combined. Add the tofu right from the steamer and process until smooth. Spoon the filling into the cooled crust and spread evenly. Allow to set up for a few hours or overnight before frosting.

Frosting: Place all of the frosting ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. You will need to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all the ingredients have been incorporated. The frosting can be made ahead if you like and stored covered and refrigerated until ready to frost.

Once the pie is set spread as much of the frosting as you like on the top. Store finished pie refrigerated. Any unused frosting will keep refrigerated for a week or so. It’s great on graham crackers or your fingers.

Brian Shaw and his wife, Ardie, own Café Del Rio in Virginia City.


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