Yes, Tofu Bolognese is a thing. It's a very delicious thing that you should make immediately.
I grew up in a household where whenever we didn't know what else to make for dinner, or we were feeling lazy, or tired, or hungry, or it was Monday, or Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or even Friday, we would make pasta. Sure, we had other meals some nights, but who needs them when you could just have pasta? Probably the worlds most perfect food in my opinion. I'm pretty sure I could eat pasta every day and I would still love it.
Thinking back, I always loved pasta sauces with meat in them. My dad always preferred pasta without any meat in them... my how the times have changed... So whenever we went to restaurants, I would hunt the menu for something along the lines of a meaty, tomato-y, spicy pasta and order, then devour said pasta dish.
Just because I went vegan, doesn't mean that I don't love that satisfying hearty bowl of goodness. Except now it's even better because no one had to die, it's cholesterol free, lower in fat, higher in fiber, and the best part, it's so freaking lick the bowl scrumptious. Ohmygoodness, I just had Tofu Bolognese for dinner last night and these pictures make me want it all over again. (Am I allowed to drool over my own pictures)?
I learned this trick of crumbling the tofu and drying it in the oven from The Sexy Vegan Cookbook by Brian L. Patton. If you don't have this cookbook, you should pick up a copy. Unfortunately, it lacks in pictures which makes me sad (I ♥ pictures), but the recipes are pure comfort food goodness. If you are cooking for a carnivore type person, this is the book that might help them change their minds. I find the recipes can be a little complicated and require a lot of spices, but when I'm in the mood I bring the sexy vegan to the kitchen with me, and he never disappoints. Yeah, I went there.
To make Tofu Bolognese: Start by grabbing a large bowl, whisk together the seasonings to make this kinda paste like stuff.
Drain the block of tofu, no need to press it first, it will dry out in the oven anyway. Break off chunks of tofu and use your fingers to crumble the tofu into small pieces. It's easiest to do this with two hands, but I had to take a photo of the process and I didn't have three hands at that particular moment. #FoodPhotographerProblems
Once you have crumbled all the tofu it will look something like this. Tah dah! (I know, so impressive).
Combine the tofu with the seasoning making sure all of the tofu is evenly coated.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper (I ♥ parchment paper), or lightly grease the baking sheet. Spread the tofu evenly across the sheet in a thin layer.
Bake the tofu for 35 to 45 minutes, stopping every now and then to give it a stir. Keep a close eye on the tofu as nears the end of baking time so that it doesn't burn. The tofu will have shrunken quite a bit in size, and browned up nicely. The smaller pieces will be darker and some may even be a bit crispy. The larger pieces will be lighter and softer. I like this because it adds nice variation in texture. Store or use right away.
When you are ready to enjoy your dish, heat your tomato sauce in a pan. I like a spicy tomato sauce, but you can go with whatever kind you're into.
Stir in the tofu crumbles and heat through. The tofu will suck up some of the sauce, so if it gets a bit thick, just add water to thin as needed. If you find that there are some crispy bits in the sauce and you aren't into that kind of thing, simmer for longer to soften. Serve over pasta with a bit of Parmegan and devour.
Inspired by The Sexy Vegan Cookbook
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten-free if preferred)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 block (350g) extra-firm tofu, drained (no need to press it)
- 3 cups tomato sauce (700ml jar or homemade)
- 1 pound spaghetti or pasta of choice (gluten-free if preferred)
Preheat your oven to 350F (180C). Line with parchment paper or lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Mix the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil chili powder, garlic powder, and liquid smoke together in a large bowl. It will make a brown paste-like texture.
Crumble the block of tofu with your fingers into the bowl along with the seasoning. Mix the tofu crumbles with the seasoning making sure all of the tofu is evenly coated. Spread the tofu crumbles evenly over the pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stopping to stir the tofu every now and then. Keep a close eye on it towards the end so that it doesn't burn. You want the tofu to be nice and browned. The smaller crumbles will be darker than the larger crumbles, and that's ok because it will provide a variety of texture.
In the meantime heat the tomato sauce, and cook pasta according to package directions. Stir the tofu into the sauce, and heat through. If you find the sauce is too thick, stir in a bit of water until desired consistency is reached. Serve over hot pasta with a sprinkle of Parmegan.
Leftover sauce keeps the perfect texture so this dish can be made ahead of time and reheated as needed.