This is such a quick, easy and tasty lunch. Simply cut a chunk of tofu off the block, squeeze it in some kitchen roll to get rid of the excess water, cut it into cubes, coat in pesto and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until the outside gets crispy. See, told you it was easy! I had mine in some pitta bread with spinach, olives, sundried tomato, cucumber, spring onion and vegan mayo (Tiger Tiger, which you can find in Asda, or you can make your own). If you want vegan pesto (which is what I used here and doesn’t taste any different to regular pesto), Sacla do one and you can find it in the ‘Free From’ section in Tesco (I don’t know where other supermarkets keep it, but probably somewhere similar).
A lot of people don’t know what to do with tofu. I’d have included myself in this group of people until just a few months ago, but now it’s rare for me not to have a packet of tofu in the fridge or freezer (tip: tofu is firmer if you freeze it first, then defrost it). I’ve even started to have it for lunch on an almost daily basis, usually marinated and grilled on my George Foreman grill, as it’s just so easy and tasty.
Tofu is bland by itself, so it’s best when as much water as possible has been squeezed out of it (just wrap it in kitchen towel and squeeze, or press between two plates with something heavy on top) and marinated for a few hours.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been marinating tofu in the gorgeous lime and chilli dressing from Scarlett & Mustard a friend sent to me but you can use whatever you’ve got handy – in the past I’ve used BBQ sauce, Peri Peri sauce, liquid smoke and sriracha, and even a combination of all of them.
Just cut a chunk of tofu off the block, squeeze the water out, generously coat in your marinade and leave the tofu to soak up the flavours for a few hours. Bake, grill or put in a George Foreman grill for about 10-15 minutes until the outside has crisped up a bit. I put my tofu on top of a toasted pitta bread stuffed with rocket, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and loads of homemade hummus.
Alternatively, prepare the tofu the same way, but chop it up and have it in a wrap instead.
What do you like doing with tofu?
Unfortunately, this didn’t go down too well with The Meat Eater. I loved it – I especially loved the pastry because – round of applause, please – I made it all by myself. I don’t think I’ve ever made pastry before; I might have made some at school I suppose, but that would have been a *cough* few *cough* years ago now.
You’ve got to hand it to The Meat Eater though – he’d do well on Masterchef’s palette test. He said the pastry had an odd taste to it and as I thought back to what had gone into it, I remembered the coconut oil, so that was probably the ‘odd taste’ he was referring to. He did admit to liking ‘bits of it’ though.
Hopefully, the coconut oil hasn’t put you off, so I’m going to post the recipe below as I made it (which is pretty much as it appears in Greens 24/7 by Jessica Nadel, which I talked about a bit more in yesterday’s post – my version is only slightly simplified). The end result is a kind of quiche-like dish which I reckon would be just as nice cold, as hot.
Please don’t be put off by making your own pastry – this was about as simple as it gets and if I can be bothered to do it, so can you.
Although the recipe below states 240g tofu, I used a normal (normal for the UK, anyway) sized block of Cauldron tofu and pressed it (nothing fancy – just between two saucers), this left me with 275g tofu and I used all of it.
- 125g wholemeal flour
- 30g plain flour
- 60ml coconut oil
- 125ml iced water
- 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 whole garlic clove
- 125g spinach
- 240g firm tofu
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper
- Make the pastry. In a large bowl, mix together the flours and ½ tsp salt. Work the coconut oil into the flour, leaving small lumps. Add the water gradually and work until the dough comes together. Roll into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan, add the crushed garlic, mushrooms and a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms release their juices and the juices evaporate. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, steam the spinach until partially wilted, then leave to cool.
- Place the tofu, lemon juice, 1½ tsp olive oil, nutritional yeast and the whole garlic clove in a food processor and process until fairly smooth (you might need to add a bit more oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the spinach and fold in by hand.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. On a piece of baking paper, roll out the pastry to a 30-cm (12") round. Transfer the pastry and baking paper onto a baking sheet and spread the spinach-tofu mixture over, leaving a 5cm (2") border. Top with the mushrooms and gently fold the extra pastry up and onto the toppings, pleating as you move around the outside.
- Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
I’ve wanted to make a vegan chocolate mousse for ages now but most of the recipes I’ve seen contain avocado, and you should all know by now my feelings about avocado but just in case you don’t, my feelings generally revolve around the word ‘bleurgh’.
So, silken tofu to the rescue. Tofu in a dessert sounds weird, I know, but don’t let that put you off making this chocolate pudding – it’s absolutely delicious and only takes a minute to make.
Vegan Chocolate Silken Tofu Pudding (serves 2)
(recipe adapted from Every Day With Rachael Ray)
349g/12 oz packet silken tofu
¼ cup raw cacao powder
¼ cup agave nectar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth, then leave to firm up in the fridge for a few hours.
You can tell by the photos just how good this was. I made this when I was home alone and therefore didn’t feel obliged to make a ‘proper’ dinner, which had the added bonus of allowing me to experiment on myself with something I wasn’t sure The Meat Eater would like.
Crispy seasoned battered tofu, stuffed into pitta bread with salad and mayo – a gorgeous quick and simple meal.
The original recipe came from The Vedge but I’ll post below how I made it. This makes more batter than you need but you can freeze whatever’s left over.
Tofu Popcorn Chicken (serves 1)
- ¼ block tofu, pressed and cut into cubes
- ⅓ cup chickpea/garbanzo flour
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup water
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil for frying
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Slowly add the water, whisking as you go, until you get a smooth batter.
- Add mustard and mix.
- Combine tofu with the batter.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the battered tofu until golden brown.
After seeing someone posting this on one of the vegan Facebook groups I’m a member of, I really wanted to make them. There’s quite a lot to it – it’s not something you’re going to whip up in a couple of minutes – but it’s mostly seasonings and the method isn’t difficult at all.
I don’t think we can get Old Bay Seasoning here in the UK, so I found this recipe on the internet which can be made up and used in its place:
Old Bay Seasoning
2.5 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp cayenne
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme
I halved the recipe for the crab’less cakes, cooked two of them, and froze the rest. The nori sheets give it the ‘fishy’ taste and they make a great alternative to the usual ‘meaty’ stuff.
You can find the recipe for the Gentle Chef Maryland Crab’less Cakes on his website.
I decided to have a bit of a change and not make a soup that simply consisted of ‘throw some veg in a pan with some stock and boil it for a bit’ but to follow a recipe instead and make something a tad more interesting.
This hot and sour mushroom and tofu soup is adapted from the ‘Shroomy Hot & Sour Soup’ in the Isa Does It cookbook. My version, although hot and sour, isn’t as mushroomy as Isa’s as her original recipe has dried wood ear mushrooms and I don’t think Tesco stock them and I’m not a fan of dried mushrooms anyway. She also includes bamboo shoots but … bleurgh …
The tofu soaks up the flavours beautifully, while the sriracha adds a wonderful spicy kick.
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – they’re mostly flavourings and the preparation is minimal. I made this from start to finish in about 20 minutes.
Hot and Sour Mushroom and Tofu Soup (serves 2)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
2 cups vegetable stock
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1.5 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 tsp sugar
2.5 oz cabbage, thinly sliced
7 oz tofu, diced
1/4 cup water
1 tsbp cornflour
2.5 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup spring onions
- Heat the sesame oil in a large saucepan and sauté the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds.
- Add the stock, vinegar, soy sauce, sriracha, sugar and cabbage. Bring to the boil, then lower to a simmer, add the tofu and cook for about 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, stir together the cornflour and water until dissolved. Mix into the soup, along with the mushrooms and spring onions and cook for another 5 minutes.
I can’t believe how simple this is to make and how it totally transforms tofu. I could eat this as sweets, it’s that good. All you need to do is press your tofu (I used the one made by Cauldron Foods), marinate it in whatever you fancy (I used equal amounts of Sriracha, Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce and some Jack Daniel’s Extra Hot BBQ Sauce), leave it to soak in for an hour or so, then dredge in some potato starch. Line a baking tray with some baking paper and cook at 180C for about 20 minutes or until crispy.
I had some in a wrap with salad and home made hummus. So quick, so simple and so unbelievably crispy.
Since finding out a few weeks ago that tofu is transformed if you press it to get all the water out, I’ve been keen to make it again. I also wanted to cover it in panko breadcrumbs again because everything’s improved when you cover it in breadcrumbs, isn’t it? Well, most things, anyway.
This time, to make the tofu tastier, I marinated it in BBQ sauce for a few hours but because I wanted to make a vegan version, instead of coating it in egg, I just pressed the breadcrumbs onto the BBQ-sauce-coated tofu and hoped they’d stick. Which they did, just about.
Panko-Crusted BBQ Tofu
Slice the tofu
Marinate in BBQ sauce for a few hours
Cover in panko breadcrumbs
Bake in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes
Egg mayonnaise is wonderful but, you know, eggs come out of a chicken’s bum and all that which, you’ve got to admit, is a bit ick. I was willing to be corrected by a friend that eggs don’t, in fact, come out of a chicken’s bum but then he was corrected by another friend who informed us about stuff I won’t go into on a food blog.
Anyway, I fancied giving vegan egg mayonnaise a go and I’m so glad I did as this is just like the real thing. The tofu gives it the eggy texture, the black salt (also called Kala Namak, which is available from Amazon) gives it that eggy taste, while the turmeric provides a nice yellowy colour.
Vegan Egg Mayonnaise
(adapted from the recipe at Messy Vegetarian Cook)
2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise
1/8 tsp black salt
Pinch of mustard powder
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of paprika
100g firm tofu
Mix together everything except the tofu.
Crumble in the tofu and mix it all up.