Food companies create soy-free tofu, egg-less mayo and reduced calorie chips

April 8, 2014 Updated: April 8, 2014 at 7:05 am
photo - Lambert's Black Bean Tofu is soy-free and made in Colorado Springs.

Photo from Lambert's Tofu Company
Lambert's Black Bean Tofu is soy-free and made in Colorado Springs. Photo from Lambert's Tofu Company 

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.

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