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…

Creamy Tofu Sauce Vegan Pasta

I decided to try a new idea. For extra protein I buzzed up in a blender some silken firm tofu with the liquid from a can of chick peas. I then added that to a sauce I was creating in a large saute pan. It's an easy way to bump up your protein intake, even if you don't care for the texture of tofu. We're turning it into a liquid element in our pasta sauce.

What it's going to do is combine with the starch of the pasta and beans to create a creamy mouth feel that mimics the addition of cheese and milk. It's incredibly satisfying to get that rich texture on a vegan pasta dish.

You do have to be careful when using tofu in this way. Because like water, it has no flavor of its own, It can actually dilute the flavors when you mix it with other ingredients. The trick is to use strong accompanying ingredients and a generous amount of fat and salt to make sure that the tofu adds viscosity without detracting from the other elements. This is just a skill you gain as you learn to cook vegan. The more you cook with it, the more you begin to understand how this tricky ingredient can be harnessed to make your food better. This recipe is an excellent example of just how to accomplish that.

1/2 pint cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large tomatoes, chunked
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 poblano, diced
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced

8 ounces elbow pasta
1 can garbanzos

1/2 cup white wine
3 tbls olive oil
1 tbl garlic chili suace

2 tsps thyme
2 tpss basil
2 tsps nutritional yeast
2 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes

1/2 block silken firm tofu
all liquid from 1 can garbanzos

Cook and drain pasta. Coat with a thin layer of olive oil and set aside. This will keep the noodles from sticking together and clumping.

Add all veg to a large saute pan. Season with salt and pepper. Saute in olive oil until barely tender.

Add wine and cook down for 10 minutes .

In a blender puree together tofu and chick pea can liquid.

Add tofu puree to veg mixture. Also add remaining ingredients. Simmer for 7 minutes. Or until reduced by 1/4.

Pour hot veg sauce over set aside pasta. Stir to combine. Cover. Let rest 5 minutes.