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For three of four of my college years, I served as an Resident Assistant – essentially, babysitting drunk 20-year-olds in exchange for free room and board. The job was certainly trying, and I came away with a lot of funny (well, only because I’m looking back on it) stories regarding college life.
The hands-down best part of being an RA though, was being on campus the night before a holiday break. When students had gone home for Thanksgiving and the rest of the dorms were empty, we RAs would throw a little on-campus get-together of our own. For my senior year, we decided on a BYON rule: Bring You Own Nuggets. A new vegan at the time, I brought the only meatless dish to our Thanksgiving nugget table.
We had some Sweet Baby Ray’s original barbecue sauce in the fridge, but a quick glance at the back label showed high fructose corn syrup to be the very first ingredient listed. Since homemade barbecue sauce is stupid easy to make, I figured it couldn’t hurt to throw something together while the tofu was baking.
The tofu nuggets are delicious and simple, but the real star here is the blackberry barbecue sauce. Blackberry preserves add unexpected sweetness to the classic tang of ketchup and vinegar, and a good sprinkling of cayenne pepper sneaks up at the end to remind you that this ain’t your mama’s barbecue sauce.
I ate this batch for lunch with a generous slathering of the barbecue sauce and was full until dinner. Bring these to your next BYON party (or any party, really) and watch how quickly they get gobbled up!
12 oz. extra-firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Spices, to taste: garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice tofu into desired size and shapes (use cookie cutters to add an extra sum’ sum’). Freeze and thaw the tofu before pressing for maximum chewy nugget results.
2. Spray nuggets with nonstick spray and toss with the breadcrumbs and spices*. Make sure all nuggets are evenly coated before arranging them on a greased baking sheet.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through until nuggets are brown and crispy.
Nutrition per Serving: 306 calories, 16g fat, 5g carbohydrates, 29g protein.
*After measuring the leftovers, I had only used a tiny bit of the breading. Save the rest of the breading for your next nugget adventure.
Blackberry Barbecue Sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon sugar-free blackberry preserves (raspberry would be good too!)
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powderBrown sugar to taste, optional
Cayenne pepper to taste, optional
1. Combine ingredients well.
Nutrition per Serving: 35 calories, 10g carbohydrates