Tag Archives: main dish

Roasted Tofu with Wasabi Dipping Sauce


I might need to rename this blog. I’m starting to see a theme. I wonder if “foodmostpeoplehatebutireallyloveandwantyoutoloveittoo.com” is already taken. First the brussels sprouts, and now tofu – maybe next time we’ll tackle lima beans.

Tofu and I do not go way back. When I attempted vegetarianism as a teenager, I successfully cut out meat from my diet; however, in doing so, I also invented an entirely new dietary classification known as “pizzatarian.” I wanted nothing to do with anything remotely healthy, let alone anything that contained the words “fermented” and “soybean.” I did suck down an alarming amount of processed fake meat (the creepy bacon that even has the fake fat marbling), but that was as close as I got to tofu until a few years ago.

At some point I will post the tofu recipe that won me over. This is the recipe that’s won a lot of other tofu skeptics over, though, and it’s so good and so deliciously simple that you should really probably make it tonight. The high-temperature roast gives the tofu the pleasing texture of the deep-fried tofu you often see in restaurants, without the fat and grease. The outside is perfectly browned and crispy, the inside chewy and soft. And with a side of wasabi dipping sauce, it’s nothing less than addictive. Pop out a plate in the afternoon as a quick snack, or serve for dinner with broccoli and rice. And enjoy – if I’d known how to make this in high school, Mama Celeste pizza would’ve gone out of business.

Roasted Tofu with Wasabi Dipping Sauce
Ingredients
For the tofu:
1 package extra firm tofu (not silken)
4 tsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper (freshly ground, if possible)

For the dipping sauce:
4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/8 tsp prepared wasabi
1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.

Cube the tofu into 1 inch squares. In a large bowl, toss with salt, pepper, and oil, coating evenly. Toss the cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the tofu cubes over and roast for an additional fifteen minutes, until outsides are browned and puffy.

While the tofu is roasting, combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Serve tofu warm or at room temperature.

Portabella Steaks

There’s something about the first juicy, toothsome bite of a portabella mushroom that truly is reminiscent of meat. I never understood this and didn’t give it much thought until I learned about umami (disclaimer: I’m about to be a big nerd).

Umami is the fifth taste category that the human taste buds can discern – the one that doesn’t fit neatly into the previously defined sweet/sour/salty/bitter packages. Translated simply, it means “delicious,” but the umami flavor is generally defined as meaty, robust, or savory. Umami’s discoverer, Japanese researcher Kikunae Ikeda, identified the broken down form of the amino acid glutamate (L-glutamate) as the source of the umami taste. Guess what’s super-rich in glutamate and hence, really delicious when cooked? Yep – mushrooms. This is why mushrooms are so often used as a meat substitute, and why the texture and mouthfeel of a grilled portabella is so very steaky.

Got all that? Okay, now you can forget it, because you’re not going to be thinking about glutamate or taste buds or century-old Japanese research when you make this. You’re just going to be thinking about how something so quick and easy could possibly be this good. We had these with roasted asparagus and fresh watercress on the side, and the entire thing went from grocery bag to table in under 45 minutes. Not too shabby for umami.

Portabella Steaks
Ingredients
1 ½ lbs whole portabella mushrooms (about 6)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat the broiler or fire up your grill. Or, if you’re me, put a grill pan on your stove and coat it with an equal mixture of Pam and your own tears, because you don’t own a grill and your oven is so old that the broiler is actually a drawer underneath the stove that licks tongues of hungry flames upon your food as soon as you open it, charring it beyond recognition and causing a cringing Pavlovian response every time someone says “broil.”

Place the mushrooms in a large, shallow dish (either a large baking dish or rimmed baking sheet will work well) Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley in a bowl and mix well. Pour over mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Marinate for 30 minutes, turning once.

Place the mushrooms on a grill grate (or aforementioned grill pan) or broiler pan (gill side down if grilling, gill side up if broiling) and cook for 4-6 minutes per side. The mushrooms should give off some of their natural liquid and be mostly firm to the touch. Serve hot.

Source: adapted from Williams Sonoma