If I had a vegan cooking show (or, you know, YouTube channel) one of the things I would advocate to my viewers would be to learn how to cook without recipes. Not everyone has luck with this. In fact, it's taken me years to be able to go into the kitchen with leftovers or this and that and whip something up. There are still times when the end result isn't fantastic, but I haven't made anything inedible in a long, long time. But I digress. One of the things I like making differently each time is pasta sauce. I'll get to that sometime later in the month. For now, another great technique Chris and I use regularly is what we call the "tofu bake." Chris started making tofu bakes months ago as part of her weight loss journey. I fondly recollect coming home from work at 10 o'clock many evenings this past summer to leftover combinations of tofu and vegetables that she creatively and lovingly prepared. It makes me sigh with contentment.
It's pretty easy to make a tofu bake, and even if your concoction doesn't end up being perfect, you'll still have a satisfying meal that's healthy and tastes good. Notice in the following recipe I mention using pineapple balsamic vinegar. This is something Chris and I picked up at the 6701 Burnet Road Market two weekends ago (cost us $17!). It gave the bake a very neat flavor, especially where the tomatoes are concerned. If you can find it, I highly recommend it. This is how I made tofu bake last week. INGREDIENTS 1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu 1 pound fresh green beans, chopped into bitesize bits 1/2-3/4 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, whole 1 yellow squash, sliced in half and cut into half circles 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon pineapple balsamic vinegar 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme 1/4 teaspoon white pepper Freshly ground salt DIRECTIONS Drain and press the tofu to remove excess water. I use a Tofu Xpress gadget for this. It's my favorite kitchen tool ever. Place the veggies and tofu in a 9x13 inch casserole dish. Add the liquids and seasonings and stir to cover. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, stir, and bake for 20 minutes more. Or until your vegetables are fully cooked! For a generic, experiment-on-your own recipe, try this Fill a 9x13 inch casserole dish with chopped fresh vegetables like broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, bite size tomatoes, carrots, parsnips, zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potato, etc. Add your pressed tofu and 2-3 tablespoons of liquid (at least 1 tablespoon of oil, and 1 or 2 of flavored or plain balsamic vinegar or soy sauce), fresh salt and pepper, and 1-2 teaspoons of various seasonings. You can also throw some fresh garlic in there, too, either whole cloves or sliced in half. Bake the same way as mentioned above. Be creative! This formula is super easy and will give you a lot to work with. If you're like me, you'd love to have a few slices of buttered toast or a hunk of crusty bread to accompany it. A tofu bake is also excellent on top of rice or noodles or served with your favorite meat substitute. Makes 3-4 servings if served as a side and 1-3 servings if served as an entree.
Note: I hope you're enjoying my Vegan Mofo posts! My theme for this year is making veganism "easier" and more easy to make recipes are to come. While I have your attention, I'd like to remind you about my current giveaway. Visit this post to enter to win a "Better-Pizza-Building Kit" from Hodgson Mill Inc. and see what I'm up to for their related competition!