Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tofu Cacciatore

I'm going to be honest here, I've never been a big fan of Chicken Cacciatore. Maybe it's because it's just not a food that I grew up on, or maybe it's because peppers are not on my list of favorite vegetables. I don't know, but when my friends Chris-Anna and Jill suggested to me that a vegan cacciatore would be something that they could get into, I felt I was up for the challenge.

I'm so glad I went for it. I loved this Tofu Cacciatore and can't wait to enjoy it again. I've been really into fennel lately, using raw in salads and juicing it, and I included it here cooked along with the peppers.

 I served it over Whole Wheat Spaghetti (the Whole Foods 365 store brand is not only a great value, but it tastes great), but you could serve it with mashed potatoes, brown rice, or really any whole grain you're in the mood for. My husband and 12 year old daughter agreed--this one's a keeper.

Tofu Cacciatore
serves 8

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2 pounds extra firm tofu, pressed and drained
Braggs Liquid Aminos or Low Sodium Tamari
Vegetable broth for sautéing
3 cups finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium head fennel, cut in half and sliced thinly
1 orange or yellow pepper, julienned
1 30 ounce can whole tomatoes
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup red or white wine
1 ½ tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp salt (or not)
½ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut tofu into cubes (1 ½” x 1 ½”) or rectangles (1” x 2”). Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and then spraying it lightly with cooking oil spray. Lay tofu on prepared baking sheet and drizzle sparingly with Braggs Liquid Aminos or low sodium Tamari. Roast tofu for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat and coat the bottom with low sodium vegetable broth. When the broth is bubbling, add onion and stir. Saute onion until it is soft and translucent, turning heat down as onions begin to stick to the pan and adding a touch more broth if necessary. Add garlic, stir and cook for 3 more minutes.

With heat on medium, add fennel and peppers. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, basil, oregano, thyme, allspice, salt (or not) and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir, breaking up whole tomatoes into quarters. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove cover and continue simmering for 15 minutes.

Add roasted tofu, stir and cook, uncovered, for 15 more minutes. Serve immediately over whole wheat pasta, whole wheat cous cous or mashed potatoes.

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