Don’t fool yourself into thinking that ordering seafood or vegetable katsu (which means “cutlets” in Japanese) are that much better than pork tonkatsu. Tradutional katsu is breaded and deep-fried, ergo, still bad news for your health.

However, eating healthy doesn’t mean a diet that looks and tastes like cardboard. Trendy treats, like your favorite katsu, shouldn’t be taboo for you. This recipe shows you how to retain that satisfying crunch without frying, letting you enjoy a crispy, hearty meat dish minus the guilt. The best part? You can try it on different ingredients, too!

Makes three to four servings
Per serving (126g): 250 calories, 4 g fat, 80 mg sodium, 43 g carbs, 12 g protein
Note: The katsu is best eaten immediately.

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300 g block of firm tofu, rinsed and drained
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch or potato starch
¼ cup water
1 cup Japanese bread crumbs
Cooking spray or vegetable oil as needed
2 to 2 ½ cups finely shredded cabbage
2 tomatoes, quartered
Cooked brown rice
Tonkatsu sauce (from the Asian food section of large grocery stores)
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450 F / 230 C / gas mark 8. Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray.
2. Slice the tofu into ¼-inch slices. Blot dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Rub the tofu with the salt and pepper.
3. Place the flour in one bowl. Mix together the cornstarch and the water with a fork in another bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a third bowl. Coat each tofu slice in the flour, patting off the excess. Dip in the cornstarch mixture, making sure all sides are coated. Move the tofu to the bread crumb bowl and press the crumbs into the tofu.
4. Transfer the breaded tofu slices to the baking sheet and spray with cooking spray (or you can brush the tofu’s surface with vegetable oil). Bake in the center rack of the oven for 10 minutes; flip over, and bake for another five minutes until crisp. Remove from the oven.
5. Optional step, but great for color: turn the oven broiler on; broil the tofu a few inches from the top for two to three minutes until golden.
6. Place scoops of rice on each plate. Slice the tofu diagonally; place on the side of the rice and drizzle with tonkatsu sauce. Add a big handful of shredded cabbage on each plate, drizzle with the miso sesame dressing, top with the tomatoes and sesame seeds, and serve.

Makes 1 2/3 cup

2/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
2/3 cup water
¼ cup rice, cane, or apple cider vinegar
¼ cup Japanese miso paste
5 tsp coconut or muscovado sugar

1. Place the sesame seeds and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the power of your blender, this could take a few minutes.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until well mixed. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

See more healthy food hacks in the October 2013 issue of Women's Health, out on stands now! You can also subscribe to the magazine's digital edition.

Also in this issue:
Your Fittest Body Ever
The Food Lover's Diet
Get What You Want in Bed

(Photo by Kai Huang)

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