Monday, September 26, 2011

Brussels Sprouts and Maple Almond Tofu

I saw this monstrosity of a Brussels sprout stalk at Trader Joe's yesterday, and just had to get it. I *might* have looked a little odd walking home from the store with it. And then I *might* have taken some silly pictures with it (sorry, evidence withheld).

Seriously, this thing was huge.
The stalk actually yielded about 3-4 cups of Brussels sprouts! With all those sprouts, I had to come up with a recipe to use them in. I thought I'd try 'em out paired with a maple tofu recipe I found on Finding Vegan. I used about 2 cups of them for the recipe here. So many sprouts, so few mouths to feed.... we'll be eating them for the next few days ;-)

If you have an aversion to Brussels sprouts, see my post of different cooking methods for them- and try them roasted. Totally different flavor- takes out all of that bitter bite and replaces it with that awesome roasted veg taste. Mmmm.

Beautiful Brussels Sprouts!

Recipe for tofu and topping adapted from The Mighty Vegan's maple dijon tofu. This is also inspired by the tempeh and Brussels sprouts recipe I posted earlier (from Lux Hippie). I wanted to incorporate the Brussels sprouts in a new way since I had them. Luckily this recipe is a keeper, and worked well with the Brussels sprouts!

Serves 4.
For the tofu:
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained (I drain the package and then press the tofu with a paper towel a few times on each side to remove the excess water)- don't use softer tofu, it will fall apart!
  • 1/2 cup maple agave syrup
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the almond topping:
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp maple agave syrup
For the Brussels sprouts:
  • ~2 cups Brussels sprouts, cut into quarters lengthwise (yep, QUARTERS)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Maple or plain agave syrup
  • Dash sea salt
  1. Combine the syrup, oil, pepper flakes, and salt for the tofu marinade by whisking together. Slice the block of drained tofu into ~1 inch thick slices, and marinate the slices in the sauce for about an hour (or do ahead and store in the fridge for a few hours!). After the hour, make sure you save the marinade. I started the next steps after about 30-40 minutes into the marinade time.
  2. Combine the dry almond topping ingredients in a food processor until coarsely chopped; add in the oil and syrup and pulse. Set aside for step #5.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Quarter the Brussels sprouts and toss with desired amount of oil, syrup, and sea salt. Time it so you start cooking the Brussels sprouts when the marinating time is about over. Place the Brussels sprouts on a cookie sheet and cook in oven for 20 minutes, stirring at least 1-2 times during the process.
  4. While the sprouts are cooking, heat a little olive oil in a pan and cook the marinated tofu slices until golden brown on each side. (Try not to bring too much marinade into the pan at this point; it will make the cooking time much longer on the tofu to get it fully cooked & brown).
  5. After the sprouts have cooked 20 minutes, reduce oven temp to 375. Place the tofu on another cookie sheet, this one lined with parchment paper, and spoon the almond topping on the slices. Place the tofu cookie sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes (you can leave the sprouts in as well to keep warm, just give them another stir).
  6. While the tofu is in the oven, put the marinade in the pan you cooked the tofu in, and simmer on low to make it into a thicker syrup. (You may want to check that your Brussels sprouts don't get charred; when they are quartered like this, I've found that 25 minutes at 400 is perfect).
  7. Remove tofu from oven. I plated by putting a slice or two of the tofu over the Brussels sprouts, and then drizzling with the marinade.

BIG thanks to Mighty Vegan for an awesome tofu recipe. The flavors of the almond crunch topping, sweet maple, and tangy Dijon blend so well. It was delicious, filling, and perfectly complemented by those roasted Brussels sprouts.

The complete dish. YUM!

 Notes: The original recipe had a little fresh rosemary in the almond topping; I didn't have any, but I bet it would be good.

I had plenty of marinade left, so if you are running low on ingredients, feel free to halve the marinade if you are serving for two. The leftover tofu would be fine cold the next day for lunch without it.

Speaking of leftovers, I also had some extra almond topping- which would actually be GREAT on some coconut ice cream, or over baked apples. I love multi-purpose recipes!

Almond-crusted tofu coming out of the oven!

Another thing I learned through this dish: good tofu takes time. I've been eating tofu for over 12 years, and what I've realized is that while you can eat it after merely opening the package, if you want it to really taste good, you need to spend some time on it! In this recipe, in addition to letting it marinate for 1 hour, the pan-cooking probably took about 10-12 minutes to get it nice and golden, plus the additional 10 minutes in the oven. But oh my it was worth the wait ;-) This recipe does NOT get my "quick and easy" label, but then again, it wasn't difficult... just a tad bit time consuming.

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