By Robin Asbell, Co+op, stronger together

High-protein, plant-based tofu is a perfect lunch starter. It’s an inexpensive source of protein, quick to prepare and super-versatile. One of the best ways to use tofu as the basis for a bunch of lunches is to marinate sliced tofu and bake it. Once you have your tofu “steaks,” you can dice them for a quick stir-fry, toss cubes on a pizza, or slice them into sticks and serve with dip as an appetizer.

These tasty tofu lunches that are hearty and filling could make you the envy of your co-workers, if you dare to share some of your delicious fare. Here are couple baked tofu recipes to choose from: Baked Marinated Tofu and Ginger Baked Tofu (skip the ginger in these recipes when using for the broccoli salad lunch below). Bake about 2 pounds of tofu for the week, then divide into five portions. For greater versatility, you may wish to cut tofu into planks or strips, rather than cubes.

Day 1: Tofu and Zesty Cabbage Slaw Pita

Shred about a cup of cabbage for one whole pita cut in half, and toss with a spoonful of mayo, a drizzle of honey, and a spoonful of grated horseradish. Add some salt and chopped parsley and store your slaw in a small tub. Stuff baked tofu cubes inside the pita halves, and when you are ready for lunch, add the slaw and enjoy.

Day 2: Tofu and Carrots with Peanut Sauce

If you have a favorite prepared peanut sauce or dressing you can always use that. Otherwise, start with a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and stir in a teaspoon or so each of soy sauce, lemon juice, and honey or agave. Stir in a bit of coconut milk or water to thin to dipping consistency. Spike it with hot sauce or red curry paste, and pack in a small container. Pack baked tofu in a tub and bring along a bag of baby carrots. Add cucumber cut in spears or rounds and sliced red bell pepper to your dipper assortment for extra crunch.

Day 3: Tofu Broccoli Salad with Capers

In a food storage container, combine cubed tofu and broccoli florets, and some leftover cooked brown rice or pasta. In a cup, stir 2 Tablespoons olive oil with 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, and a pinch each of sugar and salt. Add a sprinkle of dried thyme or Herbs de Provence. Drizzle over the tofu mixture and sprinkle with a few spoonfuls of drained capers. Toss and tote, allowing the vinaigrette to marinate the tofu and broccoli for a few hours before eating.

Day 4: Tofu, Cucumber and Zucchini Sandwich with Turkish Pepper Spread (Muhammara)

Slice a nice, hearty whole grain loaf for this sandwich. For the Muhammara spread, in a food processor or blender, put in a couple of big roasted red peppers, a clove of garlic, half a slice of bread, a small handful of walnuts and process them. Add a pinch or two of salt, a dash of red wine vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil (just a little oil, because it’s good for the sauce to be thick in sandwiches), and process again. Spread the sauce on a piece of bread. Layer tofu, and thinly sliced planks of cucumber and zucchini on the sauce, and top with more sauce and a second slice of bread. Wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap.

Day 5: Tofu, Quinoa and Mixed Greens Wrap with Sriracha Mayo

You’ll need some large flour tortillas and leftover cooked quinoa for this wrap. A bag of mixed salad greens will cover several sandwiches, or you can use it for side salads. On each tortilla, spread mayo in the center of the round, to taste, and drizzle with sriracha. Top with tofu, then toss quinoa and greens with a little salt and pepper and pack on top of the tofu. Roll the fillings in the tortilla, and wrap the sandwich in foil or plastic wrap.