One of my challenges of being 99% plant-based is texture. I really like crunchy things. I’ve previously written about my questionable relationship with tofu and how to repurpose grandma’s skillet in the prep of it. Despite many narratives online about baked tofu turning out to be a crispy treat, it never worked for me, until yesterday, finally!
Many thanks to Dani at Clean and Delicious for her tips (and great video). I deviated from her advice some and actually pressed my tofu all day to make sure it was truly bone dry. I went with corn starch and some gluten free soy sauce as the coating.
It’s cold and icy this week in Oklahoma, so I had my neighbor up for a warm dinner consisting of a Thai-inspired dish on rice, salad and GF cornbread. Throwing some crunchy tofu on top of the main dish gave it a wonderful texture and it “almost” tasted like chicken. Let’s be clear, before I went plant-based, it would have been a full on Frito Chili Pie kinda night.
Here’s the crockpot dish: start with 3 sweet potatoes diced, one large yellow onion also diced, 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic, and a cup of red lentils stewing in two cups of vegetable broth and one cup of water. This Phase One stays in the crockpot alone for 2 hours. At the 2 hour mark, Phase 2 begins: throw in a can of coconut milk and another cup of water, a red and a green bell pepper chopped, a tablespoon of red curry paste and a tablespoon of green curry paste and an optional finely chopped 1/4 cup of cilantro. As this cooks for the next 2 hours, to taste, as more curry and some red pepper. At the 4 hour mark, this is served on a bed of rice – we used a mix of purple, black and brown rice. Topped with some of the CRUNCHY tofu for texture, but any protein source will do (or just plain).
The salad? Mixed greens with baby spinach and one stalk of kale (chopped and hidden), then add the more interesting stuff: sunflower seeds, a chopped gala apple, a small amount of smoky vegan cheese, dried cranberries and for crunch, a few dried salted chickpeas (think corn nuts but lighter).Tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.
The gluten free cornbread? My go-to for all mixes is Bob’s Red Mill – but substitute almond milk for dairy, and apple sauce of eggs, using avocado oil for butter to keep it all plant-based. Delicious.