How can it already be time to get the kids, or yourself, ready to go back to school? In my neck of the woods, summer weather just arrived, it just doesn’t seem fair. Unfortunately, it is what it is, so instead of whining, just wine, because that always makes things better. Another thing that makes going back to school, or work, better is being armed with an arsenal of easy and healthy vegan lunch ideas. This week I’m going to help you create a yummy menu that will make you and the kids look forward to brown bagging it, beginning with this rockin’ Jamaican Jerk Tofu wrap.
Did you see the Jamaican jerk tofu recipe that I posted last week? If not, click here for the recipe. You’ll need to make it ahead of time. Make a lot so you can enjoy it all week. Once you’ve done that, the wrap is EASY, and oh so good.
Your kids will love the colors in this healthy beauty. You know that my motto is, eat the rainbow, and this Jamaican jerk tofu wrap will help them do just that. It’s filled with emerald green spinach (vitamin A and C, Iron, and potassium), and yellow bell pepper (excellent source of carotenoids, vitamins C, B6, A, E, and folate), ruby red tomato (more vitamins A and C), and savory tofu (protein, iron, and calcium). It’s visually appealing, it tastes great, and it’s full of things that will help keep their immune system strong.
I love Jamaican jerk spices so much. I was literally craving this wrap while I was battling for the USTA national championships with my incredible team this past weekend in Indianapolis. If you read any of last week’s posts, you know that our woman’s 3.5 team won the Illinois championship and moved on to play Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio for a chance to go to nationals in Indian Wells, CA. Words can’t describe the energy and emotions that filled the courts over those three days. It was unbelievable.
On Friday we played back to back matches. Our first was against the Michigan team. We won four out of five courts. I played court one singles against a lovely woman, but I think the tofu wrap that I had the day before helped me beat her in straight sets. Then we played Ohio, who walked on the court fresh.
We lost three courts in third set tie-breakers, myself included. My opponent was nineteen years old and had a large cheering section that started applauding and hollering from the first point. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it got in my head, because it did. She won the first set 6-3. I told my team that I think that I have multiple personalities when I play tennis because there are lots of voices talking to me during matches. The whiners in my crazy brain were out in full force during the first set, but then the rational adults made an appearance midway through the second set, and I came back from being down a few games to win 7-5, which meant that we had to play a ten point tie break.
Let me just paint a quick picture of the conditions before I tell you what happened. The sun was out in full force, it was about 86°, and we were playing on hard courts that absorb the heat and made it feel like it was 100°. And remember, I’m fifty-one and my opponent was nineteen. UGH! Fortunately, for the tie break I had my own cheering section and my spirits lifted, although I was beginning to feel the beginning of heat stroke.
So, two hours into our match, we started the tie break and I moved ahead quickly. It was my serve and I called the score 2-1 and won the point, so it was 3-1, I served on the deuce side and won that point, and then it was 4-1. Because it was so hot, and we were tired, I accidentally served again in the add side and she won the point, making it 4-2. We should have switched sides at 4-1 and she would have served, but because I served a third time we got into a disagreement about the score. It was 4-2, but she said it was 3-2, then my teammates confirmed it was 4-2 and her cheering section started screaming at my team to be quiet. My opponent and I agreed on the 3-2 score, switched sides, and began playing again, which resulted in me losing a point. When the score was 8-8 my head began to tingle and I felt like I was going to be sick to my stomach. Our points were long, and the heat was getting to me. Sadly, I just didn’t have anything left and I lost 9-11. Sadder, I knew that my team needed me to win that match to beat Ohio, so I left the court in tears. In all of my years of tennis I’ve never cried over a loss, but this was for a spot at nationals, and I felt like I had let my team down. Although, they didn’t see it that way and they gave me tons of love and support. BEST. TEAM. EVER!
On Saturday we lost to Wisconsin and then rallied back on Sunday and beat Indiana, finishing in second place. Ohio won all four rounds and is heading to Indian Wells in October. They totally deserve it.
We may not have taken home the gold, but knowing that we’re the second best 3.5 team in the Midwest isn’t too shabby. And the comradery and team bonding that took place was so incredible that I feel like we won anyway. Funny enough, if you look at the stats between Ohio and our team, it was a tie. We lost two less sets and eight less games than Ohio. Breaking it down further; we won twelve straight sets and OH won 7, and we lost three straight sets and OH lost two. I wish we could have played them again, without having played a match before. 😉
Overall it was an incredible experience that I’ll never forget. And I pray that I don’t get bumped up to the 4.0 level again (it seems to happen to me often) so I can play on this team again next summer.
This is only part of the team who helped us get to the Midwest sectionals. There are many more talented players on our team who couldn’t make it. Look at all of those gorgeous tennis legs!
On another note, I was worried about eating well in Indianapolis, because we ate at a lot of chain restaurants. My worries were for nothing. There were healthy vegan options at every restaurant that we went to. Did you know that the Cheesecake Factory has a vegan Cobb salad? It’s really good! And P.F.Changs now has vegetarian lettuce wraps! That made me happy.
After playing four intense singles matches in three days my body should be stiff and sore, but it isn’t. I actually feel great. I’m going to give some of the credit to me for staying fit and making exercise an important part of my lifestyle, but I’m also going to give credit to eating a whole foods plant-based diet. If you eat healthy and exercise regularly, you’re not going to carry excess weight to slow you down, you’re not going to have inflammation to make you feel stiff, and you’re going to have an abundance of energy. It’s that simple.
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Slightly spicy and savory marinated jerk tofu wrapped up with bright and crunchy veggies! A healthy and delicious lunch, snack, or light dinner.
- 14 oz tofu Sliced into 1/2 inch long pieces
- 1/4 cup of Soy Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons of maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper add more if you like it spicier
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of ground sea salt
- 2 teaspoons of nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons of allspice
- 2 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 small scotch bonnet pepper – seeded and minced
- 1 teaspoon of avocado oil to coat the pan for cooking optional if you have a non-stick pan
- 2 whole grain tortillas
- 2 cups of baby spinach leaves
- 1 yellow bell pepper – seeded and cut into strips
- 1 small tomato – seeded and finely diced
- 4 to 5 strips of Jamaican jerk tofu
- Sriracha or your favorite condiment optional
Cut it into thin slices (approximately 1/2 inch thick) and press them between paper towels. Put something heavy on top of the top layer of towels and keep changing the towels as they become soaked with water. Do this for about 10 minutes, or until the tofu feels drier.
In a large shallow bowl, add the marinade ingredients and whisk together until fully combined. Put the tofu in the marinade. Turn the tofu a few times to cover both sides in the marinade. Marinated for 1 hour (turn the tofu after 30 minutes).
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and cover with a thin layer of avocado oil. You need the oil or the tofu will stick because of the maple syrup that’s in the marinade. When the pan is hot, place the tofu in the pan and cook for approximately 5 to 8 minutes. It will turn a beautiful caramelized color. Now gently flip to the other side and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes.
- Put one cup of spinach on a tortilla, then half of the bell pepper strips, half of the diced tomato, and 4 to 5 strips of jerk tofu. Drizzle with sriracha or your favorite condiment if you like. Wrap tightly and cut in half.
The Nutrition Facts are an estimate only.