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 Vegan Mushroom Stew Recipe

I wanted something light, but also hearty. That sounds like a contradiction of terms, but mushrooms have the ability to create both sensations in a dish. If you keep your ingredients list simple, but make sure it packs a lot of flavor, you can get both in one.

This dish also features a great way to utilize tofu for extra protein and a pleasingly creamy texture that satisfies those dairy cravings.

But the thing that really takes this recipe to the next level is actually the garnish. Another 1/2 pint of the mushrooms, an extra shallot and a little bit of the poblano. Saute them separately in olive oil and salt until the shallots and mushrooms are caramelized. Top each serving of the stew with a generous portion of that sweet umami goodness to turn an already very good dish into a spectacular one.

And here's the real flavor bomb. All that goodness that's left in the pan after you saute the mushrooms, shallots and poblano... add a few dashes of white wine to deglaze and then pour it into your pot of simmering stew. That there, that's how you make vegan food kick ass!

Stew Ingredients

1 1/2 pints button mushrooms
2 shallots
6 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno
1/2 a poblano
1/2 block silken tofu
1/3 cup white wine
2 tbls olive oil
3 tbls soy sauce
1 tsp salt
2 tsps black pepper
3 tsps dill
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry lentils
Saute liquid * refer to instructions above
water as needed

In the pot you'll use to cook the dish, use a stick blender to puree the tofu with 1/2 cup water until smooth. Add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, jalapeno, poblano, salt, soy sauce, black pepper, olive oil and 1/2 cup more water. Cover and simmer until veg is cooked down and a nice broth is formed. About 15 minutes.

Add barley, lentils, dill, wine and 1/2 cup more water. Recover and continue simmer until water is absorbed. Add more water as needed until barley and lentils and almost tender.

Stir in parsley and another 1/2 cup of water, saute liquid. Recover. Turn off heat on burner. Leave pot on stove for 10 minutes.