Posts

Caramelized Red Onion and Asparagus Tart

This rich and decadent tart is ideal for a festive dinner. It serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a substantial starter, and is very simple to make, relying on store-bought, ready-rolled suitable-for-vegan puff pastry.

Ingredients

2 red onions, sliced into thin rings
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
100g fresh asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1-inch lengths
350g silken tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic granules
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pack ready-rolled suitable-for-vegans puff pastry

Method

1. To caramelize the onions, heat a nonstick pan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5-10 minutes until browned, stirring frequently. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook, stirring, until onions are softened. Set aside to cool.
2. To make the tofu filling, place the tofu, yeast, herbs and spices, and mustard in a blender and blend until smooth. Season to taste.
3. Cut the sheet of puff pastry as desired, or leave whole. Spread with the tofu filling, leaving an inch uncovered around the edges.
4. Top with red onions and asparagus. Return to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to cool again.
5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C. Bake on a parchment- or silicone-lined tray for 20 minutes until golden.

Japanese Marinated Tofu

This budget meal is perfect with noodles or rice and stir-fried vegetables as an accompaniment. There is an air fryer option available. Serves 4.

Ingredients

1 block extra-firm tofu (approximately 350g), drained and pressed
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
4 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp shichimi togarashi, or Japanese seven-spice spice mix
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp rice vinegar

Method, Oven Option

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Line a baking tray with parchment or a silicone sheet. Cube the tofu, and arrange it on a single layer on the tray.
2. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once.
3. While tofu is baking, mix the rest of the ingredients for marinade.
4. Remove the tofu from the oven and combine with marinade in a shallow dish. Toss to coat well. Leave for 10 minutes at least, and increase the oven temperature to 190C.
5. Remove the tofu from the marinade, return to baking tray, and bake for 5-10 minutes more until sauce has caramelized.

Method, Air Fryer Option

1. Preheat the air fryer to 160C. Cube the tofu, and arrange it in the pan. Bake for 8 minutes, turning once.
3. While tofu is frying, mix the rest of the ingredients for marinade.
4. Remove the tofu from the oven and combine with marinade in a shallow dish. Toss to coat well. Leave for 10 minutes at least, and increase the air fryer temperature to 180C.
5. Remove the tofu from the marinade, return to pan, and bake for 4 minutes more.

Turmeric, miso stew with tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, and potatoes

Sweetened with dates, thickened with flax, and finished with baby kale, this is a rich, spicy stew with lots of strong flavour and colour. If you’re not a turmeric lover, keep the amount low to start.

Ingredients

1/4 cup water
1/2t coarse sea salt
2T scallions, finely chopped (reserve a few inches of green for garnish)
1-3t dried, ground turmeric (to taste — I use 1T)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t fresh ginger, grated and minced
1/2t dried, ground cumin
1/2t dried marjoram, rubbed
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste — I use about 1/2t)
1 cup cremini mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced, about 1/8″
125g extra firm, high quality tofu, 1/3″ cubes
125g tempeh, 1/4″ cubes (use pasteurized)
1 1/2 cups potatoes, 1/3″ dice (I use organic russets)
1/2 cup dried, soft dates, pitted and finely chopped
1T lemon juice
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu, about 2″
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups unsweetened plant milk
3T red miso (or more, to taste)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1T sesame seed butter
2T milled flax seed
3 cups loose baby kale (leave a few leaves for garnish)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: White, yellow, or other shades of miso will work, but they’ll change the final colour. Use freshly grated turmeric (start with 1T) if you have an easy source. Leave out the garlic if you prefer. A little shredded cabbage added with the plant milk and/or a little cilantro for garnish wouldn’t hurt. Add some fresh blueberries to brighten up the flavour.

Method

Warm a large frying pan with a lid on medium heat. Add the water, sea salt and scallion. Water saute for 2 minutes. Add the turmeric, and other herbs and spices. Saute another minute.

Add the mushrooms. Saute for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the tofu, tempeh, potatoes and dates. Saute another 2 minutes. Add the lemon and deglaze the pan (if necessary).

Add the stock, bring the pan to a light simmer, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Uncover, add the plant milk. Increase heat to medium low.

Simmer another 30 minutes or so uncovered on low heat (as low as you can set it but still simmer) stirring periodically. Remove from heat. Remove the kombu. Add the miso, nutritional yeast, sesame seed butter, flax and kale. Stir to combine.

Let stand 2 minutes to cool. Season to taste. Ladle out into bowls. Garnish with scallion green sliced on an angle and a few scallion greens and serve.

 

 

Tofu and red potatoes in coconut milk with cremini mushrooms, savoy cabbage, garlic and ginger

The tofu, potatoes, mushrooms and cabbage are slow cooked together in broth and then finished in coconut milk to give this very simple, inexpensive dish a rich finish.

Ingredients

About 220g of tofu in .3″ slices
2 medium red potatoes, quartered (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 medium sized cremini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (about 250g)
3 cups of savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
3 scallions, minced (reserve about 3 – 4″ of one green for garnish)
1 cup of boiling water
2 bouillon cubes
1/2t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of full fat coconut milk
3T of garlic, minced
1T of ginger, minced
1t of dried ground cumin
1t of dried ground coriander
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Add the tofu, mushrooms, cabbage, scallions, mushrooms and sea salt to a slow cooker.
Dissolve the bouillon in the boiling water, add to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
Cook covered for about 4 hours, stirring here and there.
At the 4 hour mark, preheat the oven to 400F.
You should have about 2 cups of liquid left. If you don’t, add a little water.
Add the remaining ingredients, stir to combine and pour everything out into a shallow oven pan with sides (I use a 9×13″ pan).
Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically, or into the mixture is starting to brown lightly.
Remove from the oven, let stand 10 minutes to cool, and serve.

The scallions are very thinly sliced on an oblique angle to give them good volume. The dish is plated here with lightly sauteed mixed greens and some red pepper, a great way to add some additional colour and nutrition to the plate.

Grilled tofu braised in red pepper, cauliflower rosé with red sweet potato and kale colcannon

A luxurious sauce for tofu that will also work with seitan, mushrooms, as a pasta sauce and other dishes with a reimagination of traditional Irish side dish.

For the tofu
1 block of extra-firm, high quality tofu (approximately 1/2 lb)*
1/4 cup of olive oil
2T of tamari
2T of agave nectar
1T of lemon juice
1T of garlic, minced
1/4t of coarse sea salt

For the sauce
2T of cooking oil
1T of garlic, minced
2 cups of cauliflower florets
1 red pepper, roasted and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup of vegetable stock
1/2 cup of passata (tomato puree)
2T of nutritional yeast
2T of arrowroot powder whisked with 1/4 cup of water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the colcannon
1 large red sweet potato (about 2 cups)
2T of cooking oil
1/4t – 1/2t coarse sea salt (to your taste)
2 cups of chopped kale
1t of white vinegar
1 scallions minced, leave about 2″ – 3″ of green for garnish

Instructions

Make the tofu and roast the vegetables first. Make the sauce, and then the colcannon.
Slice the tofu length-wise into four pieces.
Press the tofu if you have a press or wrap in a clean kitchen towel and lay something heavy on your tofu (e.g., a cookie sheet and then something heavy to distribute the weight effectively for about 15 – 30 minutes or as directed by your press).
Whisk the marinade ingredients until well-combined.
Then with marinade and marinate covered for at least 30 minutes, turning at least once.**
When ready, remove the tofu from the marinade and preheat the oven to 450F.
Grill the tofu on a clean oven rack for 10 minutes or so each side (if you prefer not to grill directly on a rack, use an oiled cookie sheet).
Look for light grill marks and the tofu will lightly brown). Ovens vary; use the colour as a guide.
Spoon 2t of marinade onto each slice and cover consistently.
Repeat for the other side when you turn them.
Perforate the red sweet potato in a few place with a fork.
Lightly oil the potato and roast until fork tender (about 40 minutes).
Lightly oil the red pepper and roast until lightly charred (or use the standard stove top method if using a gas stove).
When done, remove the pepper from the oven.
Reduce the oven heat to 350F and turn the potato over.
Let the pepper stand 15 minutes to cool, and then peel, core, seed and chop.
Bring the cooking oil to heat on medium high.
Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.
Add the cauliflower and red pepper and saute for 7-8 minutes.
Add the stock and deglaze the pan.
Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft but not mushy.
Add the passata and puree the cauliflower and red pepper until smooth.
Return to a low simmer.
Add the nutritional yeast.
When the tofu is ready, remove from the oven and add it to the sauce.
Cover and simmer/poach the tofu in the sauce for until ready to serve (about 45 minutes to an hour).
Once the sweet potato is fork tender, remove it from the oven and let stand to cool 15-20 minutes.
When cool, preheat the oven to 400F.
Peel and mash the potato.
Mixed with the kale, sea salt, scallions, vinegar and olive oil to thoroughly combine.
Add to two ramekins and bake for about 20 – 30 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browning.
Remove the ramekins from the oven and let cool about 5-10 minutes.
Remove the sauce and the tofu from head at the same time and let stand.
Remove the tofu.
Return the sauce to a light simmer.
Whisk the arrowroot and water.
Add the mixture to the sauce, continuously stirring until thickened.
Add the tofu to the plate.
Spoon sauce over thoroughly.
Garnish with scallions.
Carefully turn out the colcannon from the ramekins.
Season to taste and serve.

(1) You can marinate the tofu before grilling, but it simmers for a long time in a thick sauce. The quality of the tofu makes a big difference to how it tastes in a dish.
(2) The longer the tofu marinates, the more it will absorb the flavours of the marinade. 30 minutes is enough, but 1-2 hours is better.

Single-serve tofu, cabbage and date rice paper rolls with a red Thai chili, apple cider peanut sauce

Sauteed in tamari and lime and served with a simple peanut sauce accented by tamari, apple cider vinegar and red Thai chili, the rolls make for a light and easy snack or lunch for one that can easily double. The dates give this dish a lovely sweetness. Add extra thinly sliced vegetables, basil, cilantro or mint to taste, and serve with either the simple sauce below or the sauce of your choice.

Ingredients

For the rolls
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1t fresh garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
125g tofu, shredded (about a quarter pound)
1 cup cabbage, shredded (I use coleslaw mix)
1T tamari
2t lime juice
3 dates, thinly sliced length-wise
2T nutritional yeast
1/4t red Thai chili paste (or to taste)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1 liter water
3 sheets rice paper

For the sauce
2T crunchy unsweetened unsalted peanut butter
1T tamari (or to taste — replace any tamari you subtract with a little water).
1T apple cider vinegar
1/2t red Thai chili paste (or to taste)
A pinch sea salt (or to taste)

Directions

In a frying pan, bring the cooking oil and sea salt to heat on high.
Add the scallion and garlic and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Add the cabbage and tofu and stir fry for 3-5 minutes until the pan starts to brown.
Add the lime and tamari and continue to stir fry for another 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and toss with the dates and nutritional yeast.
Season to taste.
Whisk the sauce ingredents until homogeneous and set aside.
In a frying pan, bring the water warm temperature, but not to a boil. Aim for just hotter than is comfortable to the touch.
Add a sheet of rice paper and nudge it down into the water (to help it soften evenly).
Wait until the rice paper is soft and complete transparent.
Remove from the water carefully with a slotted spoon.
Spread evenly on a clean surface, add 1/3 of the filling and roll like you would a burrito.
Add the roll to a separate, clean and dry surface.
Repeat with the two remaining rolls.
Plate and serve with the sauce of your choice.

It’s important to tuck and squeeze the filling a little as you roll to make for a well formed roll. If you have difficulty spreading the rice paper, put it back in the water for a few seconds so that it will relax. The rice paper dries quickly and will stick — so, wrap carefully and separately in plastic wrap to store.

Handmade spinach and tofu tortellini in a light tomato broth, seasoned with sesame and white miso, mushroom stock and kalamata olives.

his is a rich but light soup, great for winter, but good all year round. With a little practice and technique, tortellini are not as time-consuming as they look.

Ingredients

For the filling
1/2t coarse sea salt
2t lemon juice
1T olive oil
2T sesame seed butter (I use a fair trade brand)
1T white miso
1T fresh garlic, minced
100g extra firm tofu
1 cup loose spinach
1t milled flax seed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the pasta
1 cup semolina flour
1/3 cup cool water
1t olive oil
A pinch of sea salt

For the tomato broth
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 scallions, minced (2″ – 3″ green reserved for garnish)
1/2t dried basil, rubbed
1/4t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried tarragon, rubbed
1/4t black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/4t red Thai chili paste (or a pinch of cayenne pepper)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1T lemon juice
2 cups passata (or tomato puree)
2 cups mushroom stock
1 cup baby arugula
2T kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1T nutritional yeast (for garnish)

Directions

Start the filling first, then the pasta, then the broth. Press your tofu if you feel it needs it. In a small bowl, whisk the sea salt, lemon juice, white miso, garlic, olive oil and sesame seed butter. Add the mixture with the tofu to a food processor and chop finely. Add the spinach and mince, but be careful not to liquefy the spinach. Add the nutritional yeast and flax seed and stir to combine. You can also mince the spinach by hand. Wrap with plastic, set it aside for the flavors to mix, and start the pasta.

Combine the flour and sea salt. Combine the oil and water. Combine the wet with the dry, and stir by hand until a dough forms. Keep kneading until you have a smooth, lightly rubbery dough and then knead another minute or two. The dough may seem too dry initially. Just keep kneading. Cover with a warm wet tea towel and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Around the 20 minute mark, start the broth. In a large pan with a lid, bring the cooking oil to heat with the sea salt on medium high. Add the scallions, green herbs, chili and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the passata and the mushroom stock, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer gently while you make the pasta.

Roll the dough out on a floured board to a large rectangle, 1/8″ thick. Trim the side for any unevenness and ball up the leftover dough. If you can do smaller squares with a little less filling, that’s a little nicer, but it’s more difficult and more time-consuming. So, for a quick version, cut the dough in 1.5 inch squares. If they’re not perfect squares — even them out a little with your rolling pin individually when you go to fill them. Season the filling to taste, and then fill each square with about 1/2T to 2t filling.

When it comes to filling the tortellini, practice makes perfect. Fill each square by making an oblong cylinder of filling that aligns with two points (as if the square were a diamond) rather than a little round dollop in the middle. You’re going to pinch the tortellini in a triangle, starting with the top.

As if the tortellini were a napkin, hold it up by the two points of the diamond perpendicular to the filing. Pinch the top two points firmly. With the top securely pinched, pack the filling a little to one side and seam up the other side carefully. Now, pack the filling to the seamed side with a finger and seam up. You should have something that looks like a triangle. Take the two bottom ends of the triangle, wrap around your little finger and pinch so that the tortellini forms a little circle — like a ring.

Repeat the process until you’ve used all of your dough or all of your filling. Roll out any extra pasta scraps if you can. You’ll probably find you can add a little filling until you get used to the amount to use.

Once you’ve rolled out tortellini, bring the water to a boil. Add them carefully to the water and boil until they float (should be 3-5 minutes). Don’t overcook, since you’re going to simmer them a little in the soup. Drain them carefully in a colander, reserving 2T of the pasta water, and rinse with cool water.

Add the tortellini and the pasta water to the soup and let them simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add the arugula and olive,and gently stir to combine. Let stand 2 minutes too cool and let the arugula wilt. Season to taste. Spoon out the tortellini with the soup in shallow dishes. Sprinkle the tortellini with nutritional yeast, garnish with scallions and serve.

Tofu sofrito

Sofrito is a complex but varied intersection between cooking method, ingredients, and finished dishes with many regional variations uses. My book, for example, has a version with green pepper, green apple and portobello mushrooms. Shown here with a smoky cashew spread
and fresh mixed baby greens wrapped in warm, fresh, hand rolled, whole wheat tortilla. It also goes well with brown rice, salsa and greens. Once you make it, you’ll find plenty of uses for it.

Ingredients

1 pound extra firm, high quality tofu, shredded (I use a box grater, larger holes)
1/2t coarse sea salt
1/4 cup cooking oil
2T garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1T heaping smoked paprika
2t dried, ground cumin
2t dried oregano, rubbed
1T lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1″)
2T sun-dried tomatoes, minced (the dehydrated kind, not jarred)
1T white vinegar
2t black strap molasses
1-2T minced chipotle (the dehydrated kind, not in adobo)
1 large red pepper (about 1 cup)
1 large poblano pepper (about 1 cup)
1 cup passata (or tomato puree)
Red or black pepper and coarse sea salt to taste

Optional: You can replace chipotle with habanero (I often do). I also often replace the passata with salsa, the cumin with garam masala and/or the oregano with herbes de Provence. Spanish onions are more traditional than red. Cilantro, white wine and green peppers are also common variations.

Directions

Start with the peppers, then the tofu. Press your tofu ahead of time if it needs it. Preheat the oven to 450F. Lightly oil the peppers and roast until their skin is lightly charred (or use the gas stove method if you have a gas stove). Expect about 20 minutes, give or take.

It’s likely the poblano will finish more quickly than the red pepper. Remove them from heat separately if necessary. When done, let the peppers stand 10 minutes to cool. Skin, core, seed and dice. Puree the peppers (including the chipotle) until smooth.

When the peppers are ready, bring the oil to heat in a large frying pan with the sea salt. Add the onion and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the dry spices and the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes. The spices should be quite fragrant.

Add the tofu and saute until lightly browned (expect another 7 – 10 minutes). Stir carefully so as to not break up the tofu too much. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Remove from heat and add to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and slow cook for about 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low (although adjust for your
slow cooker — you know it better than I do).

Once the liquid has reduced to about 2 cups, preheat the oven to 200F. Remove the kombu and transfer the tofu to a roasting pan or baking sheet with sides and roast for about 2 hours, stirring periodically to ensure even browning and drying.

Once most of the liquid has been reduced and the pan is beginning to dry, increase the heat to 450F and roast for about 10 – 20 minutes to finish. The tofu should be chewy, but juicy, and an even reddish brown. Season to taste with additional pepper and salt.

Note: You can reduce cooking time by skipping the slow cook and slow roast in favor of just a slow roast. In that case, roast for about 4 hours at 200F and then increase heat, but expect to stir periodically the whole time. Your texture may not be quite as even and the flavour will not be quite as balanced. You may also want to wear gloves
when working with the chipotle or other hot peppers.

Miso soup with tofu, shiitake mushrooms and kale

Simple and nourishing, this makes 4 small bowls or 2 large ones.

Ingredients

1T water
2 scallions, minced about 4″ green reserved for garnish
1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, stemmed and sliced 1/4″
250g tofu, 1/4″ cubes
1T tamari
1T lemon juice
4 cups water
1 ‘spring’ dried kombu, about 1″
2-3T red miso (use low sodium if you can find it)
1 cup green kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Coarse sea salt to taste
1/2 cup purple carrots, matchsticked

Optional: 1/2t toasted sesame oil add some additional flavour to this dish, and a teaspoon of white sesame seeds will add colour, flavour and nutrition. I often add nori flakes to mine as a garnish as well. White and yellow miso often have a milder flavor than red. Regular orange carrots are also fine for this dish and add a lovely colour contrast.

Method

Bring a medium pan to heat on medium high heat. Add the scallions and water and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the shiitake and tofu stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add the tamari and lemon and deglaze the pan. Stir fry for another 2 minutes or until most of the moisture has been absorbed, the tofu is lightly browning, and the pan is starting to dry again.

Add water and kombu. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, remove the kombu, add the miso and stir to combine. If you’re new to miso, add 2T to start and add more to taste. Add the kale and stir to combine.

Let stand a minute to wilt the kale lightly. Season to taste. Ladle out. Garnish with scallion greens sliced on an angle and the matchsticked carrots, and serve.

Note, miso ‘tea’ also makes a light, simple snack or breakfast. Bring a cup or so of water to a boil, pour over a 2-3 teaspoons of miso in a mug, and stir until dissolved.

Tofu, mushroom, and sea vegetable stew with potatoes and poblano pepper

This is a simple, comforting and nutritious stew with a number of rich flavours. The poblano pepper gives is just a little heat This makes a medium bowl for 4 and a large bowl for 2.

Ingredients

2T water
3 scallions, minced, 3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 poblano pepper, cored, seeded, 1/4″ dice
4 large cremini mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced (about 1/2″)
225g extra firm, high quality tofu, 1/2″ cubes
2 cups green cabbage, shredded (I use coleslaw mix)
1 floury potato (about 2 cups, I use organic russet), 1/3″ dice
1T lemon juice
1 cup water
1 ‘sprig’ kombu (about 3″)
2 cups unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1/2T white vinegar
1T dried wakame, crumbled
1T tapioca flour dissolved in 1T cold water
1 cup green curly kale, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt, black pepper and vinegar to taste
1/2t purple dulse flakes
1/2t nori flakes

Optional: A tablespoon of garlic and/or replacing the water with vegetable stock will add flavour. A little white miso and/or cashew butter added at the end would go nicely. A little dusting of smoked paprika with the dulse and nori will add flavour and colour. Slowcook for a few hours if you prefer. Press your tofu ahead of time if necessary.

Method

Warm a large frying pan with a lid on medium high heat. Add the 2T water, sea salt, and scallions. Water saute for 1 minute. Add the pepper and mushrooms. Saute for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes and stir fry another 2-3 minutes.

When the pan has browned a little, add the lemon and deglaze. Add the 1 cup water and kombu. Return the pan to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Uncover and remove the kombu. Add the plant milk and wakame. Increase heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, aiming to reduce the plant milk by about 1/3.

Stirring continuously, add the tapioca mixture slowly and stir until it thickens. Remove from heat. Add the kale and nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Season to taste. Ladle/spoon out. Garnish with scallion green sliced on an angle, dulse and nori flakes.