Ex-Yorker helps lead national campaign for nutritious meals

Julie Falsetti
For The York Dispatch

A few weeks back, I wrote about the Meatless Monday campaign in one of my columns. Much to my surprise, a few days later I got an email from a representative of the organization.

It turns out that Peggy Neu, the president of the Monday Campaigns, is a former Yorker. Via a Zoom call, she and I shared memories of growing up in York. Although we attended different high schools, it turns out we lived about a mile apart.

Neu joined the Monday Campaigns in 2008, bringing 25 years of marketing experience to the organization. She explained that Meatless Monday is just one part of a public health initiative focused on nutrition, exercise and stress management. The campaign is focused on making Monday the day “all health breaks loose.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, healthy eating is a topic that is definitely on people’s minds. Now more than ever, people are concerned about boosting their immune systems by eating a healthy diet loaded with fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. The Meatless Monday team has obliged by putting together a list of resources for immune-boosting menu items.

After we exchanged recipe ideas, Neu pointed me to the 2020 list of the most popular recipes on the Meatless Monday website. I was happy to see that Jamaican Jerk Tofu, one of my favorite tofu preparations, made the list.

Tofu is the perfect foil for the assertive flavors of Jamaican jerk spices. Paired with rice and some fresh pineapple chunks, jerk tofu will soon become a favorite in your Meatless Monday rotation.

Jamaican Jerk Tofu, served with rice and pineapple chunks, combines nutrition and mouthwatering flavor in a Meatless Monday meal.

Jamaican Jerk Tofu

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained, sliced, and pressed (see preparation instructions below)
  • ½ large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons allspice
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped

To prepare tofu: Slice the tofu in half lengthwise into two thick slabs, then lay the slices on several layers of paper towels or on a clean dish towel and place a heavy plate or skillet on top. Let sit for an hour or two.

Puree the rest of the ingredients in a blender to create the marinade. Place the tofu slices in a bowl, pour in the marinade, making sure to coat all the slices, and cover. Let it sit for an hour or two, flipping the slices about halfway through.

Heat a skillet with a small amount of oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, lay the tofu slices in a single layer and saute until crispy and browned. It will take 6-8 minutes on each side.

Serve with rice and pineapple chunks.

— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at julietrulie11@gmail.com.