so far (3 days in), the whole vegetarian thing hasn’t been so bad. sure, i went out with some friends last night and was about to order a burger before i remembered that i wasn’t eating red meat, but i ended up getting a veggie quesadilla instead and didn’t feel too deprived.
however, the pathetic tofu mash in my refrigerator really had me down today. in my excitement yesterday over crafting my first tofu burger, i mashed up the entire block of tofu, following the recipe and then ultimately hating it. i’ve been irritated all morning – what am i supposed to do with all of this tofu? i’ve been browsing vegetarian recipes and blogs, scouring cookbooks, but nothing jumped out at me. and googling “tofu mash” isn’t particularly helpful.
finally, i decided to do what i do best – just start cooking and see what happens. the result was a lovely sauteed tofu and fresh veggie pasta salad, which was refreshing, light, and delicious on this gorgeous summer day. sauteing the tofu gave it a much better texture, and combining it with the crisp veggies and cold pasta made for a really satisfying meal.
this is one of those dishes that you can make with whatever you have in the house, and whatever spices you prefer. the following is the recipe that i created, but this would be great with anything – fresh herbs, olives, chopped celery, tomatoes, beets, blue cheese…i’ll probably use the rest of my tofu mixture in the next few days, and i may just make this again with a new set of ingredients.
tofu and veggie pasta salad
1/2 pound whole wheat rotini pasta
4 oz tofu, drained
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cored and chopped
2 marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup fresh spinach, chopped
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dress
cook pasta according to package instructions. drain and allow to cool completely. in a medium bowl, use a fork to mash tofu lightly – it doesn’t need to be uniform or particularly well mashed. add onion, breadcrumbs, oats, worcestershire sauce, garlic, ginger, oregano, and salt and pepper, and stir well.
heat a medium skillet over medium high heat, and add the tofu mixture to the pan with a bit of oil. saute for about ten minutes, or until the tofu is golden brown. remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
in a large bowl, mix pasta, tofu mixture, red and yellow bell peppers, artichoke hearts, spinach, and feta cheese. dress lightly with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. refrigerate for at least an hour, or until cool, before serving.