Spicy tofu & brussels sprout fried rice

Here’s a combo that you might not think goes together, but it really does.  Brussels sprouts and fried rice?  Nah.  Oh, but YEAH.

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Many people aren’t keen on that stinky little vegetable, but I’m a huge fan of sprouts.  They’re usually only found as part of a roast dinner (hidden under the gravy), but after trying this recipe it’s clear that they’re a lot more versatile than just being a side dish.  One cup of these little green machines gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K and C, as well as containing high amounts of folate and fibre.  Ugly vegetable, yet very good for you.

The combination of agave and sriracha on the crispy tofu gives it a sweet-but-spicy edge and I try to crisp up the tofu in the oven as much as possible without over cooking.  The tofu can be pan fried too if you prefer that method.  I like to just stick it in the oven and forget about it.

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Try not to overcook your sprouts also – I know it’s quite a British thing to do (sorry Brits!), but let’s leave some of the nutrients intact, shall we?!  Add some carrots and some seeds and you have a healthy as hell meal.  You’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Sprout Fried Rice

2 cups of cooked, day old brown rice (white is fine if that’s all you have)

1.5 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (as thick or as thin as you want, just cook longer if you cut them quite thick)

1 large carrot, cut into half rounds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of agave (or maple syrup)

1 tablespoon oil (any vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger (I used the stuff in a tube – lasts forever and it works well!)

Optional – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, chopped roasted cashews

Spicy Tofu

1 pack (280g) Tofoo tofu (I love this stuff – no need to press the water out, just pat dry with a couple of handy towels and you’re good to go)

1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha, but you can use Frank’s or any other hot sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave (can also use maple syrup)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Prepare your tofu first so you can put in the oven and work on the fried rice.

Preheat oven to 200C

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all of the tofu ingredients apart from the tofu in a small bowl to make a marinade.

Drain the tofu and dice evenly.

Place the tofu into the marinade bowl and stir to combine, ensuring all of the tofu is coated.

Carefully place your tofu pieces one by one onto the baking paper.  Keep the remaining marinade to coat the tofu halfway through.

Bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn over each piece of tofu individually and coat with the remaining marinade.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until browned, or as I like it, slightly burnt!

Now for the stir fry…

Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a cast iron skillet (or wok) and heat on medium high heat.

Add to the skillet the minced garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the sliced sprouts and carrots, and fry for around five minutes (longer if your sprouts are cut quite chunky), stirring occasionally.

Add the rice, soy sauce and agave to the skillet and stir to combine.  Stir fry for another five minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the rice becomes dry.

Serve immediately and top with the tofu.  Add some sesame seeds or crushed cashews.

Time to make: 20 minutes prep (because sprouts take AGES to prep!), 15 minutes to cook the rice and 30 minutes for the tofu = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, the rice is really quick and easy but when you add the tofu it becomes more complicated.

Serves 2 (but honestly, keep some for leftovers as this is hella tasty the next day!)

#nowplaying Baxter Dury – Price of Tears

Tofu “eggs” benedict

I think I’ve probably only ever had two or three eggs benedict meals ever before going vegan.  There was always the worry that when you order eggs at a café or restaurant they’re going to be too snotty and gross (EW), and that had forever put me off ordering them.  Plus being vegan, it’s now something that just isn’t on the wish list where brunch is concerned.

Have no fear – tofu is here.

It would be a pretty sad state of affairs if tofu wasn’t vegan, wouldn’t it just?!  Useful for so many things, and depending on what herbs and spices you throw at it, it can be super tasty as well.  Enter stage left – tofu benedict *audible gasps*

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JUICY

No snotty bits on these benny’s, and if you really wanna go crazy you can add some healthy stuff like asparagus or spinach into the mix.  I used a round drinking glass to cut out the tofu shapes, and used the leftover firm tofu to make the hollandaise sauce.  Using silken tofu for the sauce would be preferable, but if you’re out to save money and cut waste, then using the offcuts of the firm tofu still works well here.  Just have a good blender and you’re golden.

This brunch isn’t a quick and easy one, there is plenty of prep to do.  You can go without the bacon (SAVAGE), but if you want to whip some up for this, I would suggest using the always delicious Gaz Oakley of Avant Garde Vegan’s aubergine bacon recipe, found here.  Alternatively you could try my rice paper bacon recipe, found here.

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So much plant protein, so little time…

The tofu will also need a good hour or two marinating time, so add that into the equation.  I prefer to marinate the night before so the tofu is ready to grill in the morning.  You can also prep the hollandaise the night before and heat up in a small saucepan or carefully in a covered dish in the microwave.

Without further ado, behold, vegan tofu benedict *crowd cheers*

Serves two (or one hungry person)

Ingredients

Tofu “eggs”

1 x 280g pack Tofoo naked tofu, drained

¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari)

2 x TBsp oil

1 x TBsp agave

2 x cloves crushed garlic

¼ cup water

½ tsp cumin

¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Hollandaise sauce

1/2 cup tofu (I use the leftover from making the “eggs” – silken tofu works better but cutting down on food waste is the goal for me!)

1 TBsp lemon juice

1 TBsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

dash of cayenne pepper

dash of turmeric

2 TBsp olive oil

Instructions

 

Tofu

Depending on the shape of your tofu block (they come in all shapes and sizes!) slice the block into 1.5cm thick slices.  I usually get three slices out of one block of Tofoo tofu

Grab a large drinking glass (around 10cm or so in diameter) and cut a circle out of each slice of tofu

Place the leftover tofu aside to use for the hollandaise sauce

Add the remaining ingredients to a shallow dish, big enough to lay the tofu circles in one flat layer

Mix the ingredients well, then dip the tofu into the mix and ensure the tofu is coated as much as possible

Cover the dish with cling film (or a lid if you have one that fits) and place in the fridge for up to 24 hours, minimum one hour

While you’re waiting for the tofu to marinade, get a start on the hollandaise!

Once suitably marinated, remove from the fridge and turn over again to coat more fully

Heat a non-stick grill pan (or just a fry pan if you don’t have a grill pan) to medium heat and add the tofu

Add any remaining marinate to the pan, or you can use a pastry brush to brush the remainder onto the top of the tofu

Once one side is sufficiently browned, turn over the tofu and repeat

 

Hollandaise

Microwave the tofu until just warm.  DO NOT over heat!

Add tofu and remaining ingredients apart from the oil, to a food processor.  Blend until combined.

While blending, slowly add the olive oil until all is combined.

If you need to re-heat you can do so in the microwave, but just keep an eye on it.

Assemble your toasted muffins with a tofu “egg”, steamed asparagus (or spinach) and a dollop of hollandaise sauce.

Serve alongside beans, tomato, vegan bacon, hash browns, or whatever vegan hot breakfast foods you like… and enjoy!

Time to cook: 15 minutes prep, one hour at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour and 25 minutes, (or 25 minutes not including marinating time)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 3, fairly easy recipe but it has two parts and marinating takes aaaaaages.

#nowplaying Kane Strang – My Smile Is Extinct

Chocolate tofu cheesecake

How do you make a “healthy” dessert that doesn’t look or taste healthy?  Make this vegan chocolate cheesecake with silken tofu.  EASY.

Ok ok, there’s plenty of chocolate in here but when you hold that up against the silken tofu (all that protein!), the dates (so fibrous!), the almonds (hello vitamin E!) and the hemp milk (oh heyyyyyy calcium!) you’d be hard pressed to find a healthier cheesecake in a non-vegan recipe.  But we don’t do non-vegan around these parts, do we?

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*wipes drool off chin*

And the ridiculous thing is, it tastes delicious.  Don’t be put off by the tofu – it really doesn’t taste like it.  I had a mild panic attack when I put the the silken tofu in the blender without any of the other ingredients and gave it a whizz, as it smelled so much like tofu.  No one wants to eat cake that tastes and smells like tofu, unless you’re hardcore vegan level 5,890 or something.

Adding the melted chocolate, vanilla, cacao powder and agave ensured that the filling tasted not like tofu at all.  In fact, the urge to lick not only the food processor, but stick my finger in the filling itself was overwhelming.  You can even just make the filling without the base and have yourself a tofu mousse (SO GOOD).

And the best thing about this recipe?  No baking.  The joys!

Go nuts with the toppings – raspberries, cream, nuts, chocolate shavings etc. and create something you really want to eat.  I just popped some hazelnuts on the top and circled with some cacao nibs for this one.

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Sexy cross-section viewz

Here’s the recipe, go forth and veganize, folks.

Ingredients

Base

1 cup almonds (most other nuts (hazelnuts, pecans) can also be used)

1 cup medjool dates

Pinch of salt

Filling

200g dark chocolate

350g silken tofu (DO NOT use firm tofu! You will regret it…)

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoons plant milk (I used hemp, but soy, almond or oat will also work)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon agave

Instructions

Pulse the almonds with a pinch of salt in a food processor with a sharp blade until relatively fine. I kept mine a little chunky, but it’s personal choice!

Add the pitted dates and pulse/blend until well combined.  You want the mix to hold together when you press it in your hands.  It might look loose and not sticky when you’re blending, but give it a squash with your hands and you’ll know if it’s ready to go.

Line a 9 inch spring-form tin with clingfilm or baking paper.

Transfer the blended ingredients to the spring-form tin and press down firmly.  I use my fingers because it’s easier to get the base even around the sides.  Press, press, press and put aside.

Melt the chocolate using a bain marie method (see here) until smooth.

While the chocolate is melting, add the tofu to your (cleaned) food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients (cocoa powder, melted chocolate, vanilla extract, plant milk, agave and salt) and blend until smooth.

Taste (try not to eat the entire mix…) and adjust with more agave if needed.

Transfer the chocolate tofu mix to the cake base and smooth over the top, ensuring an even spread of chocolate mix across the cake.

Add your favourite toppings.

Place in the fridge and chill.  Best served straight from the fridge, but can be served at room temperature.

Time to make: 10 minutes base, 10 minutes melting chocolate, 10 minutes filling, 5 minutes putting together = 35 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, relatively simple, just a faff making the two parts separately

#nowplaying: Isis Unveiled – …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead

Tofu Shakshuka

Oh boy do I have an awesome recipe to share with you guys today.

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I’ve always seen shakshuka online and out and about, and thought the dish itself looked awesome, but the whole egg idea… ughhhh, no thanks.  That’s where tofu is your best friend – reliable, versatile and tasty when cooked and spiced properly.  Cauldron organic original tofu works best in this recipe, and there is no need to squeeze out the excess liquid either, just open the packet and straight into the blender.  Easy.

Not a difficult dish to prepare, and all the ingredients can be found in any good vegan pantry!

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This shakshuka has a bit of spice to it, as I LOVE heat, but feel free to dial down the spice if you’re not a fan.  Serve with some fresh, crusty, buttered bread and your brunch life is complete.

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Ingredients

1 pack Cauldron Organic Original tofu

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small white/brown onion, diced

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 large clove of garlic, minced

1/2 tsp hot chilli powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp hot paprika (or sub sweet paprika if you’re not a heat fan!)

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp dried thyme

2 tins chopped tomatoes (400g each)

2 TBsp tomato paste

1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved

small handful of fresh parsley

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 200C.

Add the drained tofu, nutritional yeast and a few cracks of black pepper to a blender and blend until smooth.  Set aside.

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Blended tofu, ready to dollop

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet and when hot, add the garlic and peppers.

Sauté the onions and peppers on medium heat until soft, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Ensure they don’t burn.

Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for about a minute.

Add the spices, sugar and thyme to the pan and stir to combine.

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Spice up yer life

Add the olives, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste to the skillet and mix well.

Allow the mix to simmer for five minutes.

Take a large tablespoon of the tofu mix and carefully drop it into the skillet, one at a time.   You should end up with about six evenly spaced dollops of the tofu mix in the skillet.

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Plop

Carefully cover the skillet with a lid (or tin foil if you don’t have an oven-friendly lid) and place in the oven to cook for 10 minutes.  If you don’t have an oven-friendly skillet it will be fine to leave it on the hob for 15 minutes or so on low heat, then brown the tofu under the grill afterwards.

After 10 minutes in the oven, remove the lid and place back in the oven for a further 10 minutes, or until the tofu is browned on top.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with cracked pepper, more kalamata olives and some fresh parsley.

Enjoy!

Time to cook: 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking = 40 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, relatively simple, just make sure you don’t dunk the tofu too far in the mix, and keep an eye on your tofu when it’s browning

#nowplaying: The Districts – If Before I Wake

 

Tofush & chips (vegan “fish & chips”)

It was a long time coming, but the day had finally arrived.  I would try my hand at making vegan fish & chips, aka Tofush and chips.

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Tofush and chips with mushy peas. No fishies in this dishy.

Not sure why I had put this off for so long – fear of failure?  Thinking it might look crap?  Might taste disgusting?  It’s tofu, I mean, how much like fish can tofu taste?!  Turns out quite a lot, if you wrap it in a nori sheet.

I’ve tried vegan fish and chips at a couple of restaurants in London and always marvelled at how authentic it tasted.  The beauty of tofu is that it tastes like nothing.  It really does!  Which makes it the perfect ingredient to hold onto any sauce that you marinate it in, any spice that you shake on it or indeed, any seaweed that you wrap it in.

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While not the healthiest of dishes (deep fried, whoops), it’s one of the tastiest I’ve ever made for this blog.  Next time I’ll bump up the unhealthiness and try it with beer batter instead 😉

If you wanna go all out and have mushy peas alongside your tofush and chips, check out my recipe on this previous blog post.  Absolutely love a bit of homemade tartare sauce as well – remind me to share that on this blog at some point too!  But for now, enjoy your deep fried, fishy goodness.

Ingredients

1/2 block of tofu (approx 200gms)

1 TBsp lemon juice

2 TBsp olive oil

1/2 sheet of nori

30ml water

30ml plant milk (I used soy)

80g plain flour (plus more to thicken if batter isn’t thick enough)

1 tsp baking powder

salt & pepper

Enough oil to cover the tofush when frying (approx 5cm in height, depending on the size of your tofu).  I use sunflower oil as it has a high smoke point – much better for frying foods

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Instructions

Prepare the tofu by slicing in half, then slicing into large triangles, or any shape that you want your “fish” to look like.  I used the remaining tofu for scrambled tofu the next day.

Press the tofu in paper towels until very little moisture remains.

Add the oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to a flat bottomed dish, big enough to fit the tofu flat in the dish, and mix to combine.

Add the tofu to the dish and marinate for at least half an hour in the fridge.

While the tofu is marinating, combine the water, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a small dish and whisk until smooth.  You want the batter to be the consistency of thick double cream.  Keep adding flour until you reach the right consistency (or milk if too thick!).

Once the tofu has finished marinating, it’s time to cut the nori.  You can either cut the nori the same size as the tofu and stick to one side, or do like I did and wrap around the tofu on all sides.

To keep the nori sheets in place I used a toothpick – much easier than fishing around in hot oil if the nori falls off.

At this point, turn on your hob to medium heat and heat up the oil.

Add the tofu with nori sheet into the batter and cover all over.

Check the heat of the oil by dropping a small amount of batter into the oil.  If it floats and starts bubbling then it’s ready to go.  If it sinks to the bottom, give it another couple of minutes.

When the oil is hot enough, carefully place the battered tofu into the oil, turning over after about four minutes to the other side.

Remove from the oil when fried and crispy all over, and place on a paper towel.  Carefully pull out the toothpicks to ensure none of the batter comes off with them.

Serve immediately with crispy chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce.  Enjoy!

Time to cook: 20 minutes prep, 30 mins at least marinating, 10 minutes cooking = 1 hour, (or half an hour not including marinating time!)

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, got to make sure the batter is just the right consistency, plus the nori sheets can be a bit of a faff to keep on the tofu

#nowplaying: Idles – Divide & Conquer

Balsamic tofu skewers

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I love a good skewer, and I love Mediterranean veggies and tofu, so here we are.

I used to make skewers by cutting up the ingredients, popping them on skewers, drizzling and grill.  Grilling however is a right royal pain.  Ain’t nobody got time to check and turn, check and turn, check and turn every five minutes.

The solution?  Cook it all first and THEN stick it on skewers.  I know, genius.

Of course feel free to use any veggies you wish (onions, aubergine, carrots etc.), but make sure you use this balsamic tofu recipe because it’s divine.

 

Ingredients

Roasted veggies (see earlier Mediterranean vegetables recipe for a how to)

1 block of tofu (approx 400 grams) sufficiently pressed and cut into cubes

3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp Italian seasoning (or sub for 1/4 tsp each of dried oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme)

Salt & pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 200C

Place the pressed and cubed tofu in a shallow bowl with the balsamic vinegar, seasoning and salt and pepper.

Mix enough so that the tofu is evenly coated.

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to marinate for around 30 minutes to an hour.

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Remove marinated tofu from the fridge and transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Ensure there is no overlap and they are evenly spaced.

Bake for 30 minutes, turning once.

Remove from the oven when sufficiently crispy and assemble on skewers with the baked veggies.

If you need to heat them up a bit more pop them back in the oven for five minutes, then serve with roasted vegetables, orzotto or giant couscous.

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Like dis.

 

Makes enough for four skewers, or two people

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes in the oven, 10 minutes assembly = 50 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, relatively easy but you will need to make the roasted veggies alongside if you’re making skewers.

#nowplaying Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

 

Pistachio crusted tofu

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Spent a good hour in the kitchen the other night whipping up a vegan storm.  The tastiest part of the meal was the pistachio crusted tofu, and considering the ingredients list it didn’t take too long to prepare.

With the tofu, pistachio and tahini combo, this recipe will ensure you’re well on your way to hitting your daily protein, iron and calcium recommended intake.

And we like that kind of thing 🙂

There’s quite an ingredient list and takes some assembling – but don’t be put off.  The final product is worth it!

 

Ingredients

Marinated Tofu

1 block of tofu (I used Dragonfly natural tofu, 250g)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp water

Tahini paste

2 Tbsp tahini

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp lemon juice

some water – you want the tahini to be a spreadable consistency. (I used around 1 1/2 Tbsps, but do what’s right for the tahini you have – some are thicker than others)

Pistachio crust

1/2 cup roasted unsalted pistachios

1/2 Tbsp fresh basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

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Just gonna put all this pistachio crust in my mouth now.

Method

Preheat oven to 200C

For the marinated tofu, combine the soy sauce, water and olive oil in a small baking dish that will fit the tofu when laid flat

Cut the tofu into four slices (I cut mine in half and half again), and then place the tofu flat into the baking dish

Marinate for up to 20 minutes, turning over every five minutes or so

While the tofu is marinating, combine the tahini paste ingredients except the water and stir to combine.  Add water gradually, until you reach a spreadable paste-like consistency

Place the tofu into the oven for 10 minutes

While the tofu is cooking make your pistachio crust.  Finely chop (or put in a food processor) the pistachios, then add to the chopped basil, oregano, thyme and salt and pepper into a small bowl

After the tofu has been in the oven for ten minutes, remove and carefully spread the tahini paste on top of the tofu.  Spoon on the pistachio crust evenly on top of the tahini paste and press lightly so it sticks

Place back in the oven for 10 minutes or until the pistachios have browned

Serve with roasted veggies and quinoa/rice/cous cous

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Makes enough tofu for two people

Time to make: 30 minutes prep, 20 minutes in the oven = 50 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 4, lots going on with this one!

#nowplaying White Denim – Ha Ha Ha Ha (Yeah)