Vegetable Love 2009

Susan from The Fatfree Vegan Kitchen challenged bloggers to create a vegetable filled Valentine’s recipe for Vegetable Love 2009!  I decided to create a delicious dinner that would be perfect for a Valentine’s day dinner. For the Challenge I made Cashew Crusted Tofu and served it with a Mixed Vegetable Israeli Couscous, a bed of sauteed kale, and a Red Pepper Coulis. The whole dinner was delicious! The Cashew Crusted Tofu was so tasty! I really liked the rich flavor the cashews give to the Tofu. I am always looking for ways to crust Tofu. For the next part of the dish I wanted something more interesting so I made some Israeli Couscous with sauteed leeks, carrots, olives, and capers! I really liked the Israeli Couscous with all the delicious add ins. I usually eat plain Israeli Couscous, so this was a nice change. I always like to have lots of greens in a dish so I made some delicious Kale! To add some more flavor to the dish I made a really tasty Red Pepper Coulis. The Red Pepper Coulis was so rich in flavor, a little went a long way. I am always looking for sauces to serve with Cashew Crusted Tofu and I am glad I learned to make this Red Pepper Coulis!  This dish sure has a lot of Vegetable love! This dinner has a few steps to it but its worth it! 

Cashew Crusted Tofu, Cous Cous, Kale

Cashew Crusted Tofu, Vegetable Israeli Couscous, Sauteed Kale, Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

Cashew Crusted Tofu
Serves about 4
This Tofu is packed with flavor! The mariade makes the tofu extra tasty. And the cashew crust makes it perfect! You can cook this many ways,  I  perfer the panfry bake method as it yields the best texture.

 1 pound of Extra  Firm Tofu drained and pressed for 30 mins to one hour
Marinade
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup white wine (I use Ariel Non Alcoholic wine) or vegetable broth
3 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves chopped
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Crust
1 1/4 cup raw cashews or roasted cashews (If using raw toast them a bit)
1/2 cup flour
A dash of Thyme, Oregano, and Paprika or any of your favorite herbs/spices (Optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil for frying

Cut your tofu diagonally to form two triangles. Take those two triangles and cut them into 4 triangles. You should get about 8 triangles.

Mix the Marinade ingredients together and marinade the Tofu for a minimum of one hour. The more you marinade the better.

After one hour grind the cashews finely until tiny pieces form. You don’t want to grind it into a powder. In a small bowl mix the cashews, flour, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Take the Tofu and dip it in the marinade and then in the cashew mixture.

I cooked these by pan-frying them until golden and then I finished them by baking them for a few minutes and then I put them under the broiler for 2 minutes or so. To make them more healthy for you, you can bake them and then finish them in the broiler.

For Pan-frying/Baking

Preheat your Oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large pan to medium high heat with a thin layer of oil.

Pan fry the Tofu until golden. Make sure you don’t burn them! When they are done put them on a baking sheet and bake them for about 8 minutes depending on how much you cooked them on the pan. If you want them to me a bit more chewy you can put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes until you get your desired texture.

For Baking
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bake the tofu for about 10 minutes per side until golden.
If you want finish it off in the broiler.

Serve!

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
This Roasted Red Pepper Coulis is so flavorful! A coulis is basiclly a fresh sauce and it is great on crusted tofu, seitan, and tempeh!  You will find yourself making this easy flavorful sauce often.  The sauce is very rich tasting with the olive oil and if you watching your calories or don’t like olive oil that much,  I suggest you use half olive oil and broth to make it a bit ligher. You may want to double the recipe if you like a lot of sauce! 

Ingredients
2 red peppers, roasted
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or a mixture of broth and olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves minced
Salt and Pepper to taste

I like Roasting my own peppers. I don’t have a gas stove so I roast my peppers in a 400 degrees oven until nice and charred! If you have a gas stove feel free to roast them over the burner. I then put them in a bag to make it easier to peel the skins.

In a food processor add the peppers and garlic. Process the mixture until smooth. Add the olive oil or broth/olive oil mixture until a nice creamy smooth sauce forms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the sauce slightly over medium heat or in a microwave.

Vegetable Israeli Couscous
Serves about 4
A nice way to dress plain Israeli Couscous!

Ingredients
2 cups Israeli Couscous
2.5 cups water or vegetable broth
1 leek thinly sliced
1 carrot chopped into small pieces
2 garlic cloves
A couple of Tablespoons fresh parlsley fienly chopped
A nice handful of olives( I used Kalamata olives)
A couple of tablespoons of capers
Salt and Pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil

Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Then add the carrots and sautee for 2 minutes. Then add the leeks and sautee until the leeks have reduced in size about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute until fragent. Season with salt and pepper. Now add the Israeli Couscous and toast it for a minute. Then add the water or vegetable broth and bring it to a boil and then to a simmer. Simmer it for 10 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. Add the capers and olives. Add the parsley. Reseason if neccasary.

Sauteed Kale
About half a pound of Kale or more chopped
About 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Two Garlic Cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a pan to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil. Sautee the garlic until golden. Add the kale and cook until slighty wilted depending on your desire.

To serve you: Put a generous layer of kale on the plate, and then top the kale with the Israeli Couscous.  Place two tofu triangles over the Israeli Couscous.  Top the Tofu with the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis.

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