Gluten Free Southern Vegetarian: Barbecue Tofu Recipe, Vegan Gravy Recipe, and Whole Foods GF corn muffin review

November 6th, 2007 yum Posted in Southern, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Foods, tofu 15 Comments »

deliciousmeal.jpgdeliciousmeal2.jpgI know I usually wait a bit longer to post recipes, mostly because I generally have more ideas for posts than time to blog about them. But this time, I wanted to hurry and post this fantastic recipe we enjoyed for barbecued tofu last night. It was one of the best totally new recipes I’ve had in a while- and it was the result of months of daydreaming about the concept. And that concept was… a delicious, rich barbecued tofu recipe that would satisfy the most fervent carnivore. DH commented on its “meaty” characteristics, but it’s sure to thrill vegetarians due to its savory, sweet, richness paired with the light freshness of tofu. The caramelized vegetables add more interest to the dish, and remind me of an old favorite recipe for barbecued beans. In fact, if you add more liquid, this recipe would make a fantastic barbecued bean recipe, too.

As an added bonus, this recipe is full of great nutritional elements. I learned fairly recently that blackstrap molasses is awesome, especially for those with low iron or calcium deficiencies. One tablespoon of unsulphured blackstrap molasses contains 20% of your daily requirements for Vitamin A, Calcium, and Iron. Not too shabby! Eat one fifth of a pack of tofu prepared with Calcium Sulfate (Chinese Style) and you add another 15% of your daily requirement for Calcium, 8% of your daily requirement of Iron, and 30% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, D, B12 and Vitamin E. Add greens and watch this meal turn into a real nutritional powerhouse! Yeah! No wonder I feel so good after eating one of these vegetarian Southern style meals.

But a meal is not made up of protein alone, even if that protein is delicious barbecued tofu. I served the meal with greens slow simmered in a touch of sesame oil with a splash of wheat-free tamari. And, I made my favorite vegan gravy recipe in the world- a recipe from the brilliant book, Vegan Vittles. The greens were a little bland until I added a small dab of margarine and drizzled them with vegan gravy, magically converting them from blah to yummy.

And of course, what Southern Meal doesn’t have a bit of cornbread, or at least a corn muffin? I tried Whole Foods’ new reasonably priced gluten free corn bread and muffin mix, and was thrilled with the results. You add buttermilk, eggs, sugar, and butter to the mix, bake it, and get a absolutely delicious corn bread or muffin that easily compares (if not surpasses) my old favorite, The Gluten-Free Pantry Yankee Cornbread Mix, 12-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 6). The 365 Whole Foods Corn Bread mix is cheaper than GFP (if you’re buying it in a store, although maybe not if you buy the GFP in bulk from Amazon) and got high marks from DH. The only thing that I didn’t like was that it required buttermilk, which I would have to buy special for the recipe, and SUGAR. I mean, of course I have sugar, but why don’t they provide it? If they want it added separately from the rest of the ingredients, they could include a separate bag or something. And, if they want to accommodate sugar-free diets, why not explain that on the package or give healthy alternatives? Nevertheless, this simple little mix yielded a sweet little corn muffin that complimented the barbecued tofu perfectly.

So the next time you’re feeling a little down, and like you need a meal full of vitamins and minerals, why not try a decadent Southern style vegetarian feast? Not only will your taste buds do a happy dance, but you might feel a little more energetic and well nourished at the same time! :)

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Interested in seeing more of my Gluten-Free Southern Style Vegetarian and Vegan Meals? Click Here! (Note: this post will remain at the top of your screen, but scroll down)

While hunting through my cookbooks for a tasty barbecued tofu recipe, I came across Isa’s recipe in Vegan with a Vengeancefor a Pomegranate Tofu Barbecue that looked really tasty… If I’d had the ingredients, I might have made that instead. I’m pretty happy with this recipe, but if you want to dabble in a more exotic sauce, tell me how it turns out!

Check out another recipe for gluten-free corn muffins AND a review of this very recipe over at one of my favorite family’s blog- Odds that Never End

Barbecue Tofu Recipe
Ingredients
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
onion powder and/or garlic powder to taste
gluten-free cooking spray

Sauce:
2 generous tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 generous tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste (if you like things less sweet)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons gluten free tamari, such as San-J or Braggs
1 large clove garlic, pressed
2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses
2 teaspoons toasted Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. tahini or other nut butter
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile powder or cayenne pepper
Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

Veggies:
Olive oil
1 small or 1/2 of a large (sweet) yellow or green pepper, cut into large squares
1 small or 1/2 of a large red onion, sliced into strips

Directions
Preheat oven to 375.

Cut tofu into 3 or four slabs, and press between a towel for 30 minutes or so while you prepare the other ingredients. When it has pressed for long enough, combine the flour, nutritional yeast, and spices in a shallow bowl or plate. Then carefully cut your tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and dredge them in the flour mixture. Spray a baking sheet with your spray oil and carefully place your tofu cubes on the sheet. Spray them thoroughly with the cooking spray. Put in preheated oven and bake for at least 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the tofu is golden brown. Turn tofu and put back in oven until other side is browned. Keep turning and putting back in oven until each side is evenly browned. (Entire process probably takes no more than 30 minutes altogether, and may take less time depending on your oven and patience.)

While tofu is in oven, combine sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Heat cast iron pan on medium and add a little olive oil. Once the oil is warm but not smoking excessively, throw in your red onion strips and let cook slowly without burning. Turn as few times as possible. When the onion seems softened and has started to caramelize, add you pepper squares and saute until the pepper is soft and a little charred, if possible. When veggies seem to have reached their maximum sweetness, remove from pan and reserve.

Put your browned tofu in the cast iron pan and gently pour your barbecue sauce over the tofu. Mix them in the sauce carefully,trying not to remove their coating or break the tofu. When tofu seems evenly coated, add your caramelized veggies back in the pan and combine carefully. You can heat them on low heat in the pan, or stick them in the oven at 325 for up to thirty minutes, depending on how dry you like your sauce. Remove and enjoy!

Notes
This tofu was awesome with cornbread, vegetarian gravy, and slow cooked southern greens. It’s a keeper! I’ll be making this recipe many times again, although I may fiddle with the sauce to make it a little less thick in the future. DELISH! DH enjoyed it a lot as well.
Nutritional Yeast Gravy
Ingredients
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/2 cup water
2 tbsp Braggs GF liquid aminos
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/4 tsp garlic granules (if desired)
1/8 tsp black pepper
Directions
Heat brown rice flour and nutritional yeast flakes in a dry nonstick frypan on a medium temperature, and let them lightly brown and release their fragrance. Take the pan off the heat and slowly add water, braggs, olive oil and seasonings, whisking continuously until mixture is silky smooth. Return to heat and stir until gravy reaches desired consistency.
Notes
I serve this gravy every holiday with mashed potatoes and (on thanksgiving) my portabello stuffed acorn squash dish. It’s so easy you can make it anytime, and top brown rice, pasta, baked potatoes or tofu patties. DH enjoys it too, and it’s considerably easier than the typical American gravy made from scratch.
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The Gluten Free Vegetarian Gourmet: Fancy Spinach Pie Recipe or Spinach Cottage Pie Recipe

October 17th, 2007 yum Posted in American Homestyle Cooking, Dairy, Easy, Spinach, Vegetables, Vegetarian, Whole Foods 5 Comments »

spinachpiewf3.jpgspinachpiewf5.jpgOne of my favorite recipes for holidays and dinner parties has long been a certain spinach pie recipe that one of my dearest friends shared with me. This recipe combines simple ingredients with amazing results, and is a great way to enjoy your spinach! The most time consuming part of this recipes has been the rolling out of persnickety Gluten free pastry crust. I have made very tasty pie crusts using Bette Hagman’s Dream Pastry recipe, the Gluten Free Pantry’s Perfect Pie Crust Mix, or even just winging it with a regular pie crust recipe converted to be gluten free, but they are admittedly time consuming. Some time back I had the exciting idea to use a Chebe mix to make Gluten Free Chebe Spinach Tartlets with very yummy results. I was also inspired by the amazing Karina and her new allergies to make a Dairy Free Allergy friendly spinach pie recipe. But this wasn’t the end of my experimenting with this recipe. Recently DH and I discovered the extremely dangerous (for our waistline) and delicious gluten free prepared pie crusts made by the Whole Foods GF Bakehouse. They cost about $3 per crust in California, where prices are higher than the south or east coast that is closer to their dedicated baking facility, but it is a price that seems worthwhile to me due to the time and effort involved in rolling out dough. DH has been busy making apple and pumpkin pie. For the apple, because the crust doesn’t have a top crust, DH threw together a yummy crumble and topped the pie with that. It was perfect! However, I had been eying the last crust in our fridge covetously for some time, and finally decided to try using it for a savory spinach pie. I was VERY glad I did- but it really does become a health hazard, as DH stubbornly refuses to eat anything involving that much spinach (he is the first person who has not raved about my precious pie recipe, wouldn’t you know it), so I end up having to eat the whole thing myself. This is day three, and it’s a tough job but I guess I’ll just have to have the last slice for my lunch. Oh, the agony. Woe is me. Yum yum yum yum. Anyway, this is a subtle variation of previous recipes, with gently caramelized onions and fresh garlic to add extra flavor to the recipe. The Whole Foods pie crust makes this recipe so easy, if it weren’t for the calories, I might be tempted to have it every week… Oh yes, and if you don’t want the butter in the Whole Foods crust, or don’t live near a store but still don’t want to roll out a darned thing (and who can blame you!) why not try converting this into an unconventional Spinach Cottage pie? Take leftover or freshly made garlic mashed potatoes and top the spinach filling with that. DH gave the cottage pie version thumbs up- although he mostly ate the topping, tsk tsk tsk. So, here are two EASY ways to enjoy spinach pie, just in time for the holidays. Keep in mind that when hot the filling is somewhat liquidy- but when cold it’s nice and firm, so it just depends on how important structural integrity is to you. The pie tastes great hot OR cold.

Caramelized Onion and Garlic Spinach Pie
Ingredients
2 bags or 2-3 pkgs of fresh spinach

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. margarine or butter
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp finely ground brown rice flour
3 or 4 cups lowfat milk
1 tbsp or more garlic powder (or to taste)
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

GF Pie crust (I used Whole Foods GF Bakehouse)
OR
Garlic mashed potatoes
with extra cheese if desired

Directions
Bake GF pie crust for 10-20 minutes, according to recipe, at 375 sprinkled with garlic powder.

Cook spinach in a dutch oven with a little water and then drain in a strainer. Cut into bite sized pieces and reserve.

Melt/heat olive oil and margarine in nonstick or cast iron pan. When margarine has barely melted but pan is hot, add onion and, after a minute or so, add pressed garlic. Don’t let burn, but try not to move around too much so that they get all caramelized and yummy. When they look translucent and a little brown, add brown rice flour and mix into a paste, letting brown as a roux for as long as desired, but without burning. Add milk slowly, one half cup at a time and whisk in so you get a smooth sauce. Let it thicken and continue adding milk gradually. Add garlic powder to taste (really, taste it) and, when you have a nice white sauce, turn off the heat and add your cheese. (You can use more or less cheese, to taste.)When cheese has melted, add your spinach and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour into prepared pie crust
OR
Pour into pie pan OR gratin dishes. Take garlic mashed potatoes (if you have plain mashed potatoes, melt 1 tbsp margarine and combine 1/2 tsp or more of garlic powder, then stir into potatoes) and put into ziploc bag with hole cut out one corner to make a pastry bag. Sprinkle Spinach pie filling with any seasonings (i sprinkled paprika) and then gently put pressure on bag with mashed potatoes to release stream of crust, curling it on top of the spinach filling. Squish down until flat and top with additional cheddar cheese if you want.

Bake pie for 20-25 minutes or so, or until top is brown and looks firm. It will be somewhat liquidy until it cools, so don’t worry.

Enjoy!

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