I have been a vegetarian for 14 years. When I was 12 I decided to stop eating meat for a number of reasons. I have never really cared for the taste and I have been traumatized by animal veins in my food one too many times. When I decided to stop eating meat I received a lot of slack for it from my family. During middle school and high school my diet preference was never really considered when our family chose restaurants or made meals. A result of this lack of consideration was me consuming a ton of broccoli, popcorn, and dinner rolls. You can only imagine the results…over weight and not balanced. During college I started to explore vegetarian options, but even then I was scared of foods because I was never taught to try food or explore different cultures. I decided to take control of my health and make healthier choices while in grad school. My tastes have progressed, my culinary skills have improved, and I have lost a ton of weight (a by product of living well).
I bring up my journey towards healthy delicious vegetarian food because I realize that I was raised within a house that did not understand that vegetarian food could be well-rounded and yummy. I do not think this belief is restricted to my childhood household, I encounter this mindset all of the time. If people dare to think about vegetarian food they often jump to tofu. I will be the first to admit that tofu can be bland. However, if prepared properly tofu can be wonderful. It assumes the flavor of whatever spices it is prepared in.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and hot dang… it was divine! Husband approves! I can not recommend this dish enough. It would be a great date night meal or dinner party dish. The recipe takes approximately 35 minutes from start to finish.
Italian Crusted Tofu with Spaghetti
- 1/4 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 14-ounce package firm or extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed (You can drain but leave some residual water, this will help keep the breadcrumbs on the tofu)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 8 ounces white mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup prepared marinara sauce, preferably low-sodium
- 1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Combine breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning in a shallow dish. Cut tofu lengthwise into 4 steaks and pat dry. Sprinkle both sides of the tofu with garlic powder and salt and then dredge in the breadcrumb mixture.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until they release their juices and begin to brown, 4 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add the tofu steaks (2 at a time) and cook until browned on one side, about 3 minutes.
- Spoon the mushroom mixture over the tofu, pour marinara over the mushrooms and scatter mozzarella on top. Cover and cook until the sauce is hot and the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with basil and serve.