Saturday, June 25, 2011
Tomato-Spinach Tofu Skillet
The Bear was out of town for a couple of days so I took this opportunity to play with some of my vegan cookbooks.
My advice to Sneaky Vegans who want to encourage others to eat more vegan meals has always been this: test recipes that feature any kind of food substitute - soy, seitan, tofu, etc - and make sure it actually tastes good (and not just "good-for-vegan-food" good, I mean the "so-gobsmacking-good-you-want-to-stick-your-head-in-the-bowl-and-bathe-in-it" kind of good) before you try to sneak it past an omni. Sure non-vegan recipes can suck sometimes too, but those seem to be more easily forgiven and quickly forgotten.
Another thing I do when the Bear isn't home is work ridiculously long hours. So the other night I found myself starving to death after realizing that I hadn't eaten since the night before. I had pre-emptively purchased a block of tofu at the beginning of my little husband-holiday so I immediately pounced on this opportunity to use it. I don't use it a lot as I'm not a fan of processed food but the truth is, I actually like tofu. At least when it's in a recipe that's built around it rather than thrown in as a placeholder for something else. It's all about expectations folks.
This is one of the easiest dishes to make and it's wonderfully versatile as you can substitute all kinds of spice blends to vary the flavor. This is one I tried.
adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance
Serves 2 as a stand-alone meal or 4 for brekkie served with potatoes and toast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped in 1/2" chunks
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained but not necessarily dry
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, as I didn't have any but it was still good!)
1 medium tomato, chopped
2 handfuls of freshly washed spinach
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric (you can also substitute curry powder)
1 teaspoon salt
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 3 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute another 2 minutes. Then add the spice blend and mix it all up for another minute. Add 1/4 cup water and deglaze the pan. Be sure to scrape up all the garlic and spices. Yum.
Crumble the tofu and mix it in well. Don't crush or mash it, just fold it in until everything is well combined. Let it cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat a bit if you find the tofu is sticking. If you happen to have nutritional yeast (this is still on my list of things to get) this is where you'd mix it in. I'm told it's delicious, but I didn't miss not having it so up to you.
Throw in the chopped tomato and spinach, mixing well to get the spinach cooked down. I realize it's probably easier to saute the spinach first, but doing it at the end keeps it from shrinking into nothingness. Same for the tomatoes, to keep them somewhat in tact rather than reducing them to mush.
Depending on how much water the tofu was retaining, you may need to add splashes of water here and there if it gets sticky. When the veggies are cooked to your liking, serve it up and enjoy.
The bear saw this photo when he came home and wants me to make it for him. So for all the folks out there who think vegan food doesn't look appetizing...eat THAT!