Baked Savory Tofu with Glazed Spicy Greens
Savory Baked Tofu with Hearty Glazed Brussel Sprouts and Sesame Sprinkled Broccoli
Us veggie-lovers have probably all experienced one conversation (at least) where someone has judged the veggie-lifestyle due to the supposed blandness of tofu. The most common accusations being that it’s bland, boring, uninteresting and even gross. My reply is the same as to those people who say eating vegetables is boring: it’s all in how you prepare it, it really is up to you and how creative you want to get with it. It really is. It is essentially always up to you how interesting and flavorsome you want the food you cook to taste, which I understand for some can be quite daunting if they don't know their way comfortably around a kitchen. But, the trick with tofu is to understand the basics techniques & flavors to make it SUPERB. This is one such recipe that just makes you "click" about the tofu rave. You will never look at tofu with the same accusatory eyes again! I’ll be the first to admit, when I first tasted tofu I was very put off. I thought it tasted like cardboard – I thought to myself, “goodness … why would people voluntarily eat this stuff?”. But now, having learnt what is in my opinion some of the yummiest ways to cook this delicious thing we know as Tofu has changed my entire attitude towards it.
This particular recipe must be one of my absolute FAVORITE ways to prepare tofu – it is hearty, tasty, flavorsome, sensually savory, texturally satisfying and slightly “cheesy” due to the nutritional yeast. I first had it in Canada where our close family friends Andre & Clara made something I remember as very similar. I was blown away by the tasty-ness of it.
Served with the side of mixed green vegetables this is a very high-protein dish, perfect for a post-workout recovery meal and unlike other harsher proteins such as proteins found in animal products, the proteins in plants are more easily broken down, more easily digested and the nutrients more easily assimilated. The result? You end up feeling lighter than if you were to have had a protein rich, meat-based meal. You will likely feel energized, light & yet super satisfied. I found that my muscular recovery after long runs, or intense yoga sessions is much faster when I start off with some fruit and light fresh green salad and then tuck into this meal that gives the body important nutrients & building blocks to recover, rebuild and function optimally and healthily. Oh and then of course, besides all the nutritional benefits of the dish, it is also just plain yummy.
Another way or use for this tofu dish is to add the tofu squares into sandwiches as a meat substitute, or to add to other salads or main dishes.
For the Tofu:
· 2 blocks firm tofu
· ½ cup (perhaps a bit more for coating the tofu) nutritional yeast flakes
· ¾ cup soy sauce (or enough to marinade your tofu in)
For the Broccoli
· 1 bag of broccolini or 1 head of broccoli
· Water for steaming/blanching
· 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
· Squeeze of lemon juice
· ½ - 1 teaspoon chili flakes
· Salt & pepper
For the Brussel Sprouts
· 300g Brussel sprouts, cut lengthways in half
· 2 tablespoons soy sauce
· 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
· 2 tablespoons maple syrup/brown rice syrup/honey
· pinch of salt
· 1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin + sunflower seeds (optional)
· 1 Hass avocado
· 2 tablespoons raisins
· 2 cups chopped greens of choice (romaine, kale, arugula, baby spinach, watercress)
For the TOFU:
1. Drain the tofu of any excess water, cut into blocks. Place in a shallow-ish bowl, submerged in soy sauce and let marinate for at least 30 minutes but preferably a few hours or even over-night.
2. Place the nutritional yeast flake onto a plate and spread out to create a layer adequate for dunking and rolling the tofu to evenly coat all the corners of each block of tofu.
3. Once tofu has marinated, roll & coat each block. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or lightly greased with oil and bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius until puffy, golden and aromatic – the amount of time needed to bake will depend on how big you cut your blocks and your oven. For me it took about 30-40 minutes give or take – turning them halfway through the cooking process.
For the Brussel Sprouts:
1. On another baking tray lined with parchment paper, place your Brussel sprouts. I place them directly into the oven (same temperature as above) with no oil. While they bake for about 7 minutes, I make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, balsamic & syrup. After about 7 minutes of cooking, take them out and spread the sauce over them – making sure they are all coated evenly. Place back into the oven and cook until golden brown & tender (check on them regularly to ensure you don’t over-cook them) usually for me it’s no longer than another 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, while they cook, toast the seeds and cut up the avocado.
3. Once the Brussel sprouts are done, toss them with the avocado cubes, raisins & toasted seeds.
For the Broccoli
1. Simply bring a pot of water to the boil and blanch the broccolini or broccoli until bright green & tender (only about 3 minutes). Drain and splash with cold water to prevent them from over-cooking.
2. Sprinkle with chili flakes, lemon juice & salt and pepper.
3. Top with toasted sesame seeds.
1. Chop up the fresh greens and place in a salad bowl. Top with the Brussel sprouts & broccoli and top with your delicious baked tofu squares!
2. Delicious just as is or served with some steamed rice.