Comfort food – not normally what comes to mind of when you think “vegan”. But this meal sure was comforting for both my mind and my tummy. All the elements of a good comfort meal were present: creamy mashed potatoes, gravy, slow roasted veggies, and breaded and fried tofu? Okay, maybe tofu is not what you were expecting to end that list, but trust me, it worked.
I’ve tried cooking tofu many different ways, but I have never breaded and fried it before. Let me tell you, this method sure did satisfy my craving for something warm and fried. The tofu ended up resembling my mom’s chicken cutlets from when I was a kid. The slices were crispy, but not greasy. Next time, I think I might slice the tofu a little thinner so that it gets even crispier. Ours were just the tiniest bit soft in the middle, but otherwise totally delicious.
Roasted brussel sprouts seemed like the perfect side for this dish because of the way the outer leaves get so crispy when they are roasted in the oven. Hubby and I like them cut into small pieces because they char and crisp even better. The olive oil helps them almost caramelize when they are roasting, bringing out a little sweetness and giving them a golden brown crust. The crispy fried tofu and the crunchy sprouts were perfectly complemented by some smooth mashed potatoes and gravy. Never underestimate the importance of a good texture pairing! I’d definitely make this again, but maybe with thinner tofu slices, and perhaps with roasted carrots and beets instead of sprouts for a whole new experience. Here’s the deal:
First thing I did was preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Then, I pressed the tofu by wrapping it in paper towel and placing under a heavy pan. Meanwhile, I quartered the fresh brussel sprouts and coated them with olive oil, salt, and pepper and placed on a cookie sheet. After placing the sprouts in the oven, I unwrapped the tofu and sliced it about 1/4 inch thick. I poured about 3/4 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs into a shallow bowl and added a few shakes each of garlic powder, paprika, and poultry seasoning, and then mixed it all together lightly. I coated the tofu slices in the bread crumbs on all sides (if the crumbs won’t stick, lightly wet the tofu with your fingers), and after heating up vegetable oil in a pan on medium high heat, I placed the breaded tofu in the pan and fried them for about 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. When finished, I drained the slices on paper towel. Meanwhile, I brought 2 cups of water to a boil and mixed in the instant mashed potatoes, and flipped the sprouts for even roasting. The sprouts were finished after about 30 minutes, when they had a nice brown color, crispy outer leaves, and were wilted slightly. Lastly, I prepared the instant veggie gravy using boiled water, and added vegan butter to the instant mashed potatoes for added creaminess. To assemble, I plated the mashed potatoes, topped them with the sprouts and the tofu, and drizzled with the gravy. Instant and easy comfort food, made vegan.
Handful of brussel sprouts
salt and pepper
1/2 package of extra firm tofu
3/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
Paprika, Garlic powder, Poultry Seasoning
Instant mashed potatoes (Prepare with vegan butter and non-dairy milk)
Instant gravy (Here is a vegetarian-friendly brand)
Serves 2 comfort-seekers