Tofu Not-Jerky

A low-carb vegan snack, salad topping, or sandwich fixin’.

Let me start by saying clearly, this is not jerky. I know there are tofu jerky recipes out there, and this isn’t one of them.  But, it is a chewy tofu recipe that makes a good vegan snack, or sandwich filling item, or salad topper. And, it’s easy. Once you make a batch or two, it can be stuck in the fridge for quite a few days (I don’t know how many, to be honest, because it never lasts long here), and it’s very convenient to grab when you are in a rush.

Ingredients

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (companies should start paying me)
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1 T olive oil, sesame oil, or hot chili oil (you can skip or reduce this if looking for lower fat, I often do)
  • 1/2 t liquid smoke (if you don’t have any, or don’t like it, remove and add a bit more soy or water)
  • Some combination of: 1 t minced ginger, 1-2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 t red pepper flakes

Process

Open tofu and drain. Place block on a cutting board, with the widest side down. Slice into thin slices. I aim for somewhere between 1/8 and 1/4″.  Lay out slices in a single layer on a cookie sheet or baking stone (preferred). In a blender or food processor, mix the soy sauce, oil, liquid smoke, and spices to distribute the flavor of the spices throughout. Brush or sprinkle marinade over slices. Place in oven at 300* and cook until it reaches the texture you like. If you want it to be even chewier, reduce temp down to 250* and cook longer. Cool to room temp or chill and enjoy in whatever form strikes your fancy!

Vegan Breakfast Casserole

Photo: Dave Irving

For a Meatless Monday Morning.

We love breakfast casserole around the VeganAsana house. The omnis sometimes like theirs with some meat products, but are usually just as happy with a vegetarian version. For the rest of us, vegan is the way to go. We rarely get to have this for breakfast, due to the time needed for cooking, but it is a favorite dinner dish (and it pops up for special breakfasts, like on Christmas day). The “recipe” is pretty easy.

What follows is the amount that I make to fit in a large Pampered Chef casserole, so about the size that you would need for a 9×13 pan. This is enough for 4 of us to have a meal and have leftovers (that I hide in the fridge so that I can take them to school for lunch). Halve the recipe for a smaller group.

Breakfast Casserole

2 blocks extra firm tofu, drained
1 “roll” lightlife faux sausage (optional)
1 package frozen hash browns or tater tots
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 t turmeric
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t sea salt (ground fine)
olive oil
daiya or other cheese

Cover the bottom of a frying pan with olive oil and add onion. Saute until soft. Add faux sausage and brown, chopping into small bits while cooking.

Place tofu in food processor or blender. Pulse until fully broken up and starting to get mushy, but not until liquified. Gently fold in nutritional yeast, turmeric, cumin, and salt. If you over blend, don’t worry about it. It will take longer for the tofu to firm up, but eventually it will.  If your tofu seems overly dry, you may want to add a little soy milk when you fold in the spices. This will help make the potatoes nice and tender.

Cover the bottom of a casserole pan with parchment paper. Add hash browns or tater tots (yep, tots). Sprinkle fauxsage evenly across surface. Add tofu mixture and spread evenly.

Cover with foil and cook at 350* until heated through and the tofu has begun to firm back up. Add Daiya (optional) and continue to bake until tofu is firm and Daiya is melted.

Remove from oven and allow to settle (covered) for 10-15 minutes before serving. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.

YUMMY!

Vegan Lasagna

I don’t make lasagna very often.  I like it, a lot, but it seems like more work than I want to go through for assembly.  Today, however, I got out of a doc. appointment earlier than I planned, and I knew I had some nice fresh veggies in the house and the kids were all occupied, so it seemed like a good time to go for it.  I don’t really work with recipes on dishes like this, so the seasoning is really all “round about” measurement.  It came out well and I will enjoy these leftovers for several days!

Ingredients

1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked al dente
3 T. olive oil
3 cloves garlic minced
1 large onion diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large bell pepper diced
2 small zucchini peeled and diced
2 T Italian seasoning (or your own mix of dried or fresh basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary)
2 cans/jars tomato puree
1 package extra firm tofu
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
Vegan parmesan
Sea salt

Process

Cook noodles as needed and set aside in cool water.

In a large pan, add onions, 2 T olive oil, and garlic.  Cook over medium temp, stirring often, until onions begin to soften and fragrance is released.  Pour in tomato puree and Italian seasoning.   Add sea salt to taste.  If you like a sweeter sauce, add some raw sugar gradually.  Allow to simmer 20 minutes over medium low temp.

In a separate pan, place remaining vegetables and sauté 5-8 minutes on medium high temp. Set aside.

Drain tofu and place in a bowl.  Using a fork, smash block until the texture resembles ricotta cheese.  Add vinegar, nutritional yeast, and ½ t. sea salt and mix.

Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with parchment paper.  Spread a layer of sauce over the parchment.  Place a layer of noodles on top, overlapping slightly.  Spread on a layer of vegetables.  Add tofu mix by small spoonfuls and spread.  Cover with a layer of sauce.

Repeat process until the pan is full or you run out of ingredients. I typically run out of veggies and tofu before the noodles and sauce, so I will do a couple of layers of just noodles and sauce at the top.

Sprinkle vegan parmesan mix over the top.

Cover tightly with foil and place pan in oven at 375* and bake for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.

Serve with a salad and maybe some fresh bread. Enjoy!