Spicy Barbecue Tofu

Tofu tends to get a bad rap. If it's not prepared properly it can feel like eating an old sponge and taste of absolutely nothing. On the other hand, when treated well, tofu can be a scrumptious treat for the senses as well as powerful nourishment for the body.

I first fell in love with tofu through my local Chinese takeout. They have deep fried tofu with sauteed vegetables. Deep fried tofu has the perfect chewy exterior and pillowy soft center. It tastes of all the vegetables, oil and soy sauce from the wok.

I've experimented with cooking tofu at home. I don't really deep fry. But there are other great ways to prepare tofu as a main protein. I like to broil it. I use a classic meat eaters method to give it flavor. I brush it with a glaze before and mid cooking. It works brilliantly both in terms of flavor and texture.

It's totally vegan.

1 package extra firm tofu
4 tbls olive oil
2 tbls hot sauce
2 tbls sriracha
1 tbl apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp…

Spicy Basil Pesto - Vegan Recipe

This creamy pesto is not only vegan, but also nut free. Through the magic of nutritional yeast we easily replace both the cheese and the nuts and still keep all the deliciousness. A little bit of tofu adds protein and gives it a pleasingly creamy texture.

It's really easy to make. The only cooking is boiling the pasta.

Pasta water straight from the pot heats up the otherwise room temp ingredients to wake up their flavors and provide some thickening starch.

2 large bunches basil, about 2 cups packed
12 stalks parsley, just the leaves, about 1/2 cup packed
8 slices jalapeno pepper with the seeds
6 slices serrano pepper with the seeds
3 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4-1/3 cups reserved pasta water *
4-6 ounces silken firm tofu

4 tbls nutritional yeast
3 tsps dry thyme
2 tsp garlic powder
3 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
16 ounces cooked elbow macaroni, al dente

* Cook macaroni in salted water. Drain the pasta water into a heat safe container and reserve. Set aside the pot with the pasta still in it and cover to keep warm.

Add all ingredients except the cooked pasta to a food processor.  The pasta water and the tofu, add the smallest amount at first. Puree. Taste and check consistency. Add more water or tofu as needed to form a somewhat thin sauce. Not watery, but only a little more viscous than that. The sauce will thicken up a lot when combined with the pasta and allowed to cool off just a little bit.

 Add half the indicated amounts of jalapeno and serrano if you don't like a milder heat.

Stir sauce into the warm set aside pasta. Let rest a few minutes uncovered and it'll thicken up a bit to nice coat the macaroni. Enjoy it right then if you can't wait. I know I couldn't.

But if you cover it and allow to rest for another 10 minutes, the pasta will soak up the sauce and the flavors. The pesto will thicken up a little more to a really velvety consistency.