Speaking of missing cheese, I recently discovered that tofu actually DOES taste good, if a) you aren’t expecting it to taste exactly like whatever you are trying to replicate, and b) if you season it right. I tried a Wok recipe that called for tofu a long time ago (we’re talking years here), and, apparently, it wasn’t a very good recipe, as I really didn’t like the tofu. I had bought some natural tofu, and didn’t season it whatsoever, so it turned out very bland and, simply, weird-tasting. I also didn’t love it’s texture, but I have gotten used to that.
I am still no tofu-lover, simply because I don’t believe in substituting something like meat or cheese with tofu – why not just admit that there is a difference? I feel like once you accept that, it’s a whole lot easier to enjoy it, after all, there are fantastic ways to prepare it.
The first time I had tofu AND liked it was when I was visiting a friend of mine this summer, who also enjoys cooking vegan meals. Besides the fact that she cooked for me three times a day while I was there, which in itself was awesome, all the food tasted great! One night, she made a tofu-zucchini sauce for our pasta, and I really liked it. She explained a couple of things to me about how to prepare tofu, and so I had the courage to try a version of tofu myself!
Getting back to the cheese: I really love tomato-mozarella, and so I tried recreating something similar to that using tofu on toast. See my recipe for that here. The other night, however, I also wanted something warm, so I thought about seasoning the tofu, and roasting it a bit…and, tadaaaa, it turned out great! Add some tomatoes, basil, and balsamic vinegar / balsamic reduction to the mix, and it’s a beautiful Italian plate that reminds you of mozarella, but doesn’t pretend to be it!
I had some fresh rye-sunflowerseed bread with it, and dunked it into the left-over balsamic vinegar, it was delicious!
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 100g tofu, diced (natural, and firm/extra-firm)
- salt, pepper, Italian herbs, cayenne pepper, paprika (mix 1 tsp. of salt with 1/2 tsp. of each of the other spices, and see if it is enough – it helps to dry off the tofu with a kitchen towel, as the seasoning will stick better!)
- 1 tsp. of olive oil, for the roasting
- 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. balsamic reduction
1. Season your diced tofu with the different spices and herbs, and, if you are unsure whether it will taste good, try one of your dice “raw”. If it is missing salt, or anything else, simply add it! Seasoning the tofu works best if you roll the dice around on a flat plate that has the seasoning spread out on it.
2. Heat the olive oil in a small pan, and roast the tofu, turning the dice around every 1-2 minutes, so that they brown slightly from all sides.
3. Slice your tomatoes, and arrange them in a circular fashion on your plate. Salt lightly, and pour the balsamic vinegar on top.
4. Add the basil leaves, and then spread out the tofu dice on your plate – I built a “mountain” of tofu mozarella in the middle, and thought it looked really cool.
5. Spread the balsamic cream on top, as generously as you like!