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Parchment-Wrapped Tofu Surprise
Makes 4 servings
1 block (about 16 ounces) firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 4 slices, lengthwise
2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari
2½ teaspoons all-purpose seasoning blend, plus more as needed
1 medium onion, cut into 8 slices
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
2 medium tomatoes, sliced
12 large cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking pan with foil, leaving 8 inches excess on two sides.
Cut unbleached parchment paper into approximately four 20 x 13-inch rectangles. Place each of the parchment pieces on one of four large dinner plates. (This will make it easy to assemble the parchment packages).
Put the tofu slices in an 8-inch square, rimmed baking pan. Drizzle 1⁄2 teaspoon of tamari evenly over each tofu slice. Sprinkle 1⁄4 teaspoon of the all-purpose seasoning over each tofu slice. Let stand 5 minutes.
Put one tofu slice on each piece of parchment paper. Top each tofu slice with 2 slices of onion and 1⁄8 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning. Arrange several squash slices over the onions and sprinkle with 1⁄8 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning. Arrange several tomato slices over the squash and sprinkle with 1⁄8 teaspoon all-purpose seasoning. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Scatter one-quarter of the mushroom slices over the tomato layer. Top with more seasoning and sea salt, as desired. Repeat until all of the tofu-vegetable stacks are assembled.
Fold two sides of the parchment paper firmly over each tofu-vegetable stack. Bring the other two sides of the parchment over each stack, folding it over several times and then crimping together tightly to seal.
Put the parchment packages on the prepared pan. Fold the excess foil over the parchment packs to help seal in the juices and hold the packages firmly in place while baking. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the vegetables are soft.
To serve, put each package in a shallow soup bowl. Let each person carefully unwrap the package—the steam will be very hot—and eat right from the parchment (see note). Serve with crusty whole-grain bread, brown rice, millet or quinoa on the side.
Chef’s Note For an alternate serving method, after carefully unwrapping the package, transfer the tofu and vegetables—with juices—into a soup bowl and serve.
Avocado Salad Parfaits
Makes 4 to 5 servings
Juice from half a medium lemon
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil (see note)
1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt, plus more as needed
10 to 14 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 medium-to-large avocado, pit removed, peeled and diced
Put all of the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk briskly to emulsify. Put all of the salad ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in the dressing and gently stir to combine. Season with more salt, to taste. Cover and refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes before serving. To serve as a fancy first course, spoon into pretty glasses, displayed on a decorative plate.
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Mousse
Makes 4 to 6 servings
½ cup nondairy milk
1 block (14 to 16 ounces) firm regular tofu, drained and cubed
3 heaping tablespoons smooth peanut butter
¼ cup vegan powdered sugar
½ cup vegan dark chocolate chips
Heat the nondairy milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until steaming hot but not boiling. Put the tofu, peanut butter and sugar in a blender container, then add the chocolate chips. Pour in the steaming hot nondairy milk and process until completely smooth. Spoon or pipe the mixture into dessert dishes and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.