I’m not a vegetarian, in fact, steak is probably my favourite food. Steak and lobster. Mmm. But for some weird reason, though, I really love tofu. I remember back in my grade 5 class when we were studying Japan and someone brought in tofu wrapped in seaweed for everyone to try. I thought it was the grossest thing ever and vowed to never touch the stuff again. Fast forward oh, almost twenty years, and I use tofu regularly in cooking. For one reason – it’s cheaper than meat. And for another, you can use it in everything from stir-fries to hot and sour soup.
Or, you can trick people by using it as if it was meat! If you don’t like tofu – give this recipe a try. It’s a good intro to the texture, and the tofu takes on the Italian flavour of the other ingredients.
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2t Italian seasoning
1/2t garlic powder
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 package firm tofu
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup Cheddar cheese, divided
1T fresh basil (optional)
(adapted from an Allrecipes.com recipe)
In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, 1/2t Italian seasoning, 1/2t garlic powder, 1/4t salt and 1/4t pepper. Add 2 T Parmesan cheese (mine was fresh, but I’ve used the stuff in a can as well) and mix with a fork.
Slice tofu in ¼ inch slices. In the original recipes, reviewers offer all kind of tips – freezing the tofu, pressing it to get the moisture out, etc. But I like the texture as is, so I just slice it and continue. The pieces are a bit wet, but that helps the coating to stick.
Press the slices into the breadcrumb mixture one at a time, and then flip to coat the other side.
Heat 2 T of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once it is hot, add 2 cloves of garlic. Then add in as many tofu slices as you can fit. I let them get nice and crispy, about 10 minutes per side.
Once all of the pieces are cooked, take an 8 inch square pan and plop in some of your favourite spaghetti sauce. I like this one:
Once the bottom is covered, place tofu slices on top of the sauce. Grate some cheese over top (I used Cheddar), about ¼ cup. Repeat – spread more sauce over, then tofu slices, then cheese. I also sprinkled some fresh basil over the sauce layers.
Top with more cheese, and bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.
It’s a bit time consuming, but while the tofu is baking, I had time to cook some angel hair pasta and toss together a salad. And the leftovers were great the next day.
Embrace the tofu – you’ll like it!
In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Slice tofu and press into breadcrumb mixture. Heat oil in a skillet and add garlic, then add tofu slices and cook until golden, about 10 minutes per side. Layer sauce, tofu and cheese, in an 8 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 400 F for 20 minutes.