Innovative food companies continue to release products targeted at helping those with unique dietary needs. Here are some that have caught my eye.
Let's say you're a vegetarian who relies on tofu as a source of protein. Then one day you find you have an intolerance to soy, the base of tofu. What to do? Create a different tofu base, of course.
This was the route that Adam Biddle and Danny Eurich took when they started the Colorado Springs-based Lambert's Tofu Co. Eurich is the executive chef at Coquette's Bistro and Bakery. Biddle is a vegetarian with a flair for marketing.
"Danny and I talked about making a tofu that tastes good, for years," Biddle said. "I'm vegetarian, and he used to work at a tofu factory years ago. Then my wife developed a soy intolerance, and that pushed us to create non-soy tofu."
They experimented until finally creating something that would perform like conventional tofu. I spotted Biddle selling the black bean tofu at the Denver Neat Market and picked up a package of the product labeled spicy. He recommended cutting the 1-pound block into four slices and cooking them on the grill. I found the product to be a perfect substitute for regular tofu, but with a great flavor on its own. Soy-based tofu requires seasoning to have any flavor.
You can buy a 1-pound package of black bean tofu at Mountain Mama and Coquette's Bistro and Bakery for $5. It comes in regular and spicy flavors. By the way, Lambert is the name of Biddle's cat, also the logo for the product.
If you practice a vegan diet, you might be interested in Just Mayo, an eggless mayonnaise produced by the San Francisco-based Hampton Creek Foods. The spread is made from about a dozen plants, including peas, sorghum and a type of bean that has properties similar to eggs. The spread is non-GMO, lactose-free, cholesterol-free, egg-free, soy-free, dairy-free and kosher and contains no artificial colors or flavors. It's available as regular mayo, Garlic Aioli Mayo, Chipotle Mayo and Sriracha Mayo. I like the chipotle and sriracha, but the aioli is tasty as well. The regular version is ideal when you're looking for a binder for egg or tuna salad. The products recently have been introduced at Costco.
Hampton Creek Foods is using that same egg-substitute bean to make a cookie dough-like product called Eat The Dough! It can be eaten raw or can be baked. It has not been launched, but I will let you know what I think when it hits the shelves.
Finally, how about some chips that boast around 50 percent less fat than potato chips? Check out Simply 7 chips, which you can find at Safeway. They are made with bases of hummus, lentils, quinoa and pomegranate. I'm especially enthralled with the Pomegranate Chips with Black Pepper. They have a slightly sweet, tangy pomegranate flavor with a black pepper finish. They're shaped like cups so they make excellent dip scoops.