Because everyone needs TLC
How to prepare tofu
I didn’t run immediately to tofu when I first started my plant-based journey. Even when a block showed up in my fridge, I hesitated to give it a try. Much of this was past tofu experience (which wasn’t all that great). Fortunately, I’m not a person to be deterred. Onward to what I’ve learned.
Our first prep step is to press tofu for at least 30 minutes. It’s important. Otherwise you are left with a final product that has a spongy, slightly slimy texture that won’t hold up well when cooked. I find you get a more even press if you first quarter the block. Next, press the pieces between plates weighed down with a can. Alternatively you can use a tofu press.
Unseasoned tofu has very little taste but add a spicy rub or a flavorful marinade and you will be amazed at what happens. Tofu bacon is marinated in a marinade of tamari (or soy sauce), liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and garlic and onion powder. You'll want to allow at least 30 minutes for it to soak in the flavor. I quite often get my tofu marinating a day (or more). We like convenience around here.
My tried and true preference for cooking tofu with no added oil is to bake it. It will take a few more minutes than dry frying, but baking yields a firmer texture. You also won’t have annoying 'stickage' which can leave the nice crusty layer in the pan. Not good.
C is for chutney, tomato chutney that is
A veggie TLC sandwich just isn’t without tomato chutney. It’s the serious condiment for a seriously great sandwich. The tangy-sweet taste is perfect with the savory tofu bacon and crunchy lettuce. If you’ve not made this tomato chutney before, you’ll discover it’s super easy to make and one of those wonderful things to have in your fridge. It’s also great on baked chips (hint, hint).
Saturday lunch is a tradition in our house. It’s our time to take a breath and enjoy something special. Despite all the weekend chore stuff that must be done or what least the we intend to do, it’s great taking time to sit together and take advantage of some TLC. It’s also a break from the forage in the fridge lunch on the run routine we practice most other days.
It seems like everyone is coming and going in all directions nonstop. I’m one who likes keeping busy. I also find that taking a minute out of the mayhem in the middle of the day and sitting down, enjoy something great is sheer joy. Care and feeding of the body and soul and let’s face it – we all need a bit of TLC from time to time. Peace.Print
veggie TLC sandwich
Veggie TLC sandwich - savory tofu bacon, crisp lettuce and tangy-sweet tomato chutney make the perfect sandwich.
- Prep Time: 1 hour (mostly inactive)
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 3 sandwiches 1x
- Category: Burgers & Wraps
- Cuisine: American
- 8 oz. (250 gm.) tofu
- ¼ cup (60 ml) tamari or soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp. liquid smoke
- 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. black pepper
Tomato chutney (makes 1 cup as I’ve reduced the original recipe by half)
- ½ onion, finely minced (⅓ cup)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 1/2 tbsp stone ground mustard (the grainy kind)
- 1/2 tsp. Agave syrup or other liquid sweetener
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 Tbsp.fresh basil chopped
- 6 slices of bread or bread rolls
- Lettuce of your choice
- Sliced onions, avocado (optional)
Timing tip: Prepare the tomato chutney while the tofu is pressing and marinating. The chutney needs about 45 minutes to reduce. Alternatively, you can marinate the tofu overnight and make the chutney a day or two before.
- Cut the tofu into quarters lengthwise.
- Press the tofu for 30 minutes between 2 flat surfaces (plates will work) and weight the top surface down. You can also use a tofu press.
- Cut the tofu into thin strips (¼ in thick or so).
- Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a shallow dish.
- Add the tofu and allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes (longer for more flavor).
- Preheat the oven to 3500F (1900C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the tofu.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tofu is firm and crispy. Turn the pieces at least once.
- Deseed the tomatoes by cutting them in quarters and then cutting out the core, then dice them.Heat a medium saucepan and over low heat, sauté the onions until they become soft and slightly translucent (about 10 minutes).
- Add water a tablespoon at a time if they begin to stick.Add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute.Add the tomatoes, ½ Tbsp. mustard, ½ tsp. Agave syrup and ¼ cup rice wine vinegar. Bring the heat up to medium, cover and simmer until the tomatoes are reduced and the chutney is thick. This takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir it occasionally.
- Once the chutney is sufficiently reduced (to about half of where you started) and has a consistency you like, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool a few minutes before mixing in the chopped basil.
Assemble the sandwiches
Lightly toast the bread if desired. Place the tofu strips on the bread, smother on the tomato chutney, add crisp lettuce, close the lid. Let's get eating!
- I’m going to repeat this. You can marinate the tofu a day (or 2) ahead. Tomato chutney will keep about a week in the fridge.
- You can break the TLC ranks and replace the tomato chutney with ranch dressing. A whole new flavor profile – TLR? I can recommend that as well.
- Substitutions for the tomato chutney include: ½ Tbsp. dried basil for fresh, ½ cup apple cider vinegar for the rice wine vinegar and ½ tsp. maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener) for the Agave syrup.
Keywords: veggie TLC sandwich