We’ve learned endlessly useful recipes and kitchen tips from cooking classes with Pamela Salzman. The popular California food instructor is cherished for her sweet, easy and healthful classes and her latest cookbook Quicker Than Quick, distills the best recipes from her cooking classes down to perfection.
With the economic challenges of 2022 being what they are, we tapped Pamela to share tips with readers for grocery shopping and cooking on a budget. Skim her list of practical advice and try her budget-friendly recipe for tofu tacos below!
10 Tips For Recession-Proof Meals
01. Meal plan and shop according to your plan. Stick to it!
02. Use discount retailers like ThriveMarket or Costco.
03. Shop in season and take advantage of sales.
04. Watch shelf life. Eat items first that have a shorter shelf life, like berries, for example.
05. Shop your pantry, fridge and freezer first to use what you already have.
06. Opt for generic versions over brand names.
07. Steer clear of overpriced prepared foods and make as much as you can from scratch (except rotisserie chicken which is usually cheaper than making it yourself!). Same goes for pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables—you pay a big premium.
08. More bang for your buck: dried beans, tofu, sardines packed in olive oil, cabbage, frozen vegetables, whole chicken cut up instead of buying pieces, old fashioned rolled oats.
09. Cut down on animal protein which is typically more expensive than plant proteins. You don’t have to cut it out completely, maybe try a couple meatless nights and/or preparing less animal protein and filling in with legumes or tofu.
10. Understand how to comparison shop. Many stores have tags displaying the price per pound or ounce.
Here’s a great recipe that utilizes an incredibly affordable protein source — tofu! Full of flavor, these tacos use many ingredients you may already have on hand…
Recession-Proof Chipotle Tofu Tacos
1 (12 to 15 ounce) block extra-firm tofu, preferably organic/non-GMO and sprouted
Notes: A tofu press is a great tool to have If you make tofu regularly.
For the marinade:
1 tbsp unrefined cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp shoyu, tamari, or coconut aminos
1 tbsp fresh orange juice or apple juice
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp arrowroot starch or non-GMO corn starch
1⁄2 tsp chipotle powder
1⁄2 tsp chili powder
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder
1⁄2 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
For the avocado-lime crema (optional)…
1 large ripe but firm avocado, pitted and peeled
1⁄2 cup soy-free Vegenaise, whole unsweetened Greek or regular yogurt, or sour cream
1⁄2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tablespoons)
1⁄4 tsp of salt + more to taste
Warm corn tortillas or whole lettuce leaves
Ideas for accompaniments: pickled onions, shredded cabbage, radishes,
1. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
2. Squeeze the moisture out of the tofu. Slice in half lengthwise, wrap the blocks with paper towels, and place on a cutting board. Place something heavy, such as a skillet filled with cans, on top and allow to sit for 15 minutes or longer, if possible. (Or a tofu press is a great tool to have If you make tofu regularly!) Cut into 1-inch cubes. Don’t worry if they can only sit for a couple minutes.
3. In a medium bowl or a container that can hold the tofu in one layer, mix together all the marinade ingredients until well combined. Add the tofu and gently coat each piece, trying not to break the cubes. If you have time, allow to marinate for 30 minutes, up to 4 hours. Otherwise, proceed to the baking step below.
4. Meanwhile, make the crema: in a food processor fitted with the metal S blade or in a blender, combine all the crema ingredients and process until smooth, adding a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out, if necessary.
5. Arrange the tofu in one layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, tossing the tofu halfway, until the tofu is golden on the edges.
6. Serve with tortillas or lettuce leaves as a taco with the avocado crema or on a salad.