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I was raised to “give a hoot, don’t pollute” because my parents raised me to be environmentally conscious. They produced an amazing backyard garden each summer, and their post-depression frugality kept us from creating any more waste than necessary. I often joked that my father created the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto, way before the 1976 national campaign took hold.
Farmers and many other organizations are doing as much as possible to improve their sustainability practices, wasting less resources and energy, and making sure food doesn’t go to waste.
Sustainable Farming Practices
Since it’s also Soy Foods Month, I’ve partnered with U.S. Soy to highlight what soy farmers are doing to produce food in sustainable ways. On Earth Day and every day, soy farmers are prioritizing soil health, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy usage. In fact, the United States is a leading producer of soybeans and has the lowest carbon footprint, compared with soy grown around the world.
By 2025 US Soybean farmers aim to:
- Reduce land use by 10%
- Reduce soil erosion an additional 25%
- Increase energy efficiency by 10%
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10%
Soybeans produce a variety of nutritious foods and ingredients including soy milk, edamame, tempeh, and tofu. Soybeans are full of nutrients like vitamin B, iron, magnesium, and calcium. Soy is also a high-quality protein which makes it a perfect ingredient for creating plant-based foods. Soybeans also produce culinary ingredients like soybean oil and soy sauce.
Waste Less Food: Zero Waste Cooking
When you waste less food you’re doing your part to reduce greenhouse gases. Wasted food ends up in your local landfill where it eventually emits methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Adopting a zero waste cooking strategy helps to divert wasted food from the landfill.
Learn more about sustainable soybean production at the Soy Connection.
Spicy Tofu Broccoli Bowl
This recipe is from the book Zero Waste Cooking For Dummies®. It’s a delicious way to add a plant-based meal to your week. You can use less, or omit, the sriracha if you prefer less heat.
- 1 package package firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 4 tsp cornstarch divided
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or 2 tsp jarred, minced garlic
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped, including stems
- 2 cups cooked rice cook according to package directions
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
Cut tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and place into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of the cornstarch over it and toss well to evenly coat.
Mix the soy sauce, water, sriracha, garlic, honey, and the remaining cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a wok or large nonstick skillet. Add the tofu and brown on all sides, about 15 minutes, turning often (don’t overcrowd pan, if needed, work in batches). Remove the crisp tofu from the pan and transfer to a clean serving bowl.
Carefully wipe out the pan with a paper towel to remove and bits of browned cornstarch. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil and the broccoli to the pan. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes. Return tofu to the pan and continue cooking another 2 minutes over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat and add the sauce to the tofu-broccoli mixture. Stir as sauce simmers and thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer back to your serving bowl. Serve over rice and garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.