The Iron Detox: Tofu Lettuce Wraps
Wanting to go on a New Year's resolution style detox after doing my first Ironman was not what I expected. I thought I'd spend this downtime after the race seeking out cakes and cookies and sinfully caloric treats. But after two weeks of a very disrupted Ironman-specific diet, I'm craving only clean eating and a ton of vegetables.
What do I mean by this Ironman diet? My personal nutrition plan, it starts with a fat loading meal of a burger, fries, and a milk shake a few days ahead of the race. And then leading up to the race, I start to cut down on protein, fruits, and vegetables in favor of boosting carbs. On the race day itself, I relied on sports nutrition products (like XRCEL) to provide the energy to fuel 226k's. After the race, I had no appetite for a few days, but forced myself to fuel with protein shakes. So you can see why, after a week or so of eating without a healthy dose of fruits and vegetables, I just ordered one of everything from the Amazon Fresh produce page.
This recipe is one of my favorite clean, simple dinners. It also takes hardly any time to prepare. You can substitute any vegetables you have on hand for the cucumbers and red peppers. And if you are extra ambitious you can quick pickle the cucumbers for added flavor. When I made these for Laurel, she asked where the dipping sauce was. I handed her a lime wedge. This is a detox meal after all!
TOFU LETTUCE WRAPS
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a main course.
For the Tofu:
1 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained and cubed*
1 tablespoon Tamari
1 tablespoon Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean Chili Sauce)
2 teaspoons ghee (or coconut oil)
1 head Romaine lettuce, leaves wash, dried and stacked
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced into strips
1 Cucumber, cut into matchstick shaped pieces
1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving
Drain tofu and press as much moisture out of it as you can. Mix the tamari, rice vinegar, and chili sauce in a plastic container with a lid. Add tofu to the container, mix it around, and cover. Marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours.
Heat ghee in a large frying pan. Add tofu, shaking off any extra marinade. Don't just dump the contents of the container in the pan - you don't want too much of the marinade in the frying pan. Allow tofu to brown slightly before turning, this may take up to 5 minutes. Then, turn the tofu pieces every 1-2 minutes until all sides are golden and the edges are crispy. Don’t leave the pan alone for too long: the sugar in the chili sauce can cause the tofu to darken quickly.
Serve with a platter of lettuce leaves, the fresh vegetable slices, sunflower seeds, cilantro, and lime wedges.