Friday, May 2, 2008

Vegan Recipe: Spicy Marinated Tofu with Avocado Sauce

So tonight's entry went down something like this:

All day, I had it in my head that I'd like to try marinating tofu in adobo sauce. After all, you can buy jalapenos packed in adobo sauce, so I figured I must be able to buy the stuff in a jar by itself, right?

Nope. At least not at the Kroger down the street.

So I stood in the Mexican foods section, staring at the bottles and jars of things which, for the most part, I was entirely unfamiliar with. I found dry adobo seasoning, but I figured tofu wasn't really going to absorb the taste of that very well. Tofu is a rather recalcitrant substance, after all.

I realized I looked like some dumb tourist that had wandered off the beaten path in a Mexican village, and decided that I needed to come up with Plan B quickly.

So I grabbed a jar of something called "sofrito", gathered the rest of my groceries, and headed home, confident that I had salvaged my plan.

That is, until I tasted the sauce.

It turns out, sofrito has a pretty heavy green bell pepper taste. There aren't too many vegetables I don't like, but I absolutely hate green bell peppers. Bah.

So now what?

Clearly, it was time to improvise. So a quick scan of the pantry, a couple of irrational decisions, and a Hail Mary was launched to try to make this potential disaster work.

Amazingly, it did work. So here you go:

Spicy Marinated Tofu with Avocado Sauce

1 package extra firm tofu, frozen and thawed

1 tbsp olive oil

Marinade for tofu:

1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce

1/3 tbsp cayenne pepper

1/3 tbsp cumin

1/3 tbsp garlic salt

Avocado sauce:

1 avocado, peeled and sliced

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 cup plain soy milk

1 clove of garlic, peeled

Pinch of cayenne pepper


1 small/medium tomato, diced

1/4 cup fresh scallions

Mix all marinade ingredients in a flat casserole dish.

Drain tofu. Wrap it in a dishtowel and press out excess water. The more water you remove, the better the tofu will absorb the marinade.

Slice tofu into 8 pieces, cutting across the longer side of the tofu block (pieces will be about 1/2" thick). Place slices in marinade, making sure that the tofu is completely covered. If it's not, you'll need to turn it a few times while it is marinating. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.

Remove tofu slices from marinade and place in a large skillet with the olive oil. Turn several times during cooking. I pan fried the tofu for about 8 minutes, which seemed just about right. Any longer, and I think the tomato sauce would have started burning.

Place all of the avocado sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Transfer tofu slices to plates. Spoon avocado sauce over tofu, garnish with tomatoes and scallions.


Not much to say, other than it turned out wonderfully, despite my trepidation. I really did use a lot of cayenne pepper in the marinade, but the cool, citrus taste of the avocado sauce balanced out the heat.

Oh, and it really is important that you wait as long as you can before making the avocado sauce - preferably until the tofu is almost done. Right out of the blender, it has a nice, vivid green color that compliments the deep orange-red of the tofu to create a visually appealing dish.

After dinner, though, I noticed that the leftover avocado sauce had turned an icky brownish green color - kind of like what it would look like if the neighbor kid rode his bike through your hostas right after a thunderstorm. About 12 times.

Anyway, the only thing I would change here is the side dish. I decided on baked tortilla chips (take tortillas, cut them like a pizza, bake on a nonstick baking pan at 400 degrees for six minutes) and fresh salsa... but that wasn't quite right. Not bad, just not right.

I'll have to ponder that. If you have any suggestions, I'd be glad to try them out.

On a completely unrelated note, I'll leave you with this picture I took of my daughter this morning as she was leaving for school. She was proud of her new dress, so I couldn't deny her a couple of pictures.


VeggieGirl said...

great save with dinner - sounds delicious!! I'm especially keen on that avocado sauce - yum!

such a cute photograph of your daughter!

lnielsen said...

Seems like a lovely recipe. Love avocado~ I never tried it, but will avocado ensemble with green tea? I've been experimenting with matcha green tea powder with many of my recipes. This is what I use mostly:
green tea

Elisabeth Scott said...

I despise green peppers and more often than not, any meatless dish I order is teeming with them. I've been a vegetarian for 8 years and get so tired of bell peppers being included in every recipe. Thanks for this one, proof that some vegetarians actually have taste buds.

New2VegGirl said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing this recipe! It was easy and oh so tasty. I modified it a bit, using lime instead of lemon and garnishing with cilantro instead of scallions. Fantastic!! Thanks again :)

Laura said...

I was beginning to think I was the only vegetarian that doesn't like green peppers. I'm learning to like red peppers if they're cooked. This recipe sounds yummy and I LOVE avocados (I eat at least 1/2 almost every day). Thanks! I'm going to try it.

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