Feature Recipe | Tofu Parmigiana
Crispy pan-fried tofu ‘cutlets’ topped with tomato sauce and loaded with mozzarella and parmesan, then baked… it doesn’t get much better than this 😊. This recipe has been in our household for over a decade now…in fact it was the dish I made Janik for our first Valentine’s Day dinner together. At that time (of course) we were vegetarian and so copious amounts of aged parmesan were used in the breadcrumb mixture for the tofu coating and in the tomato sauce (not to mention a generous dash of parmesan on top of the mozzarella to cap off the dish with even more cheese!) To veganize this dish I use a simple cashew-based parmesan cheese you can whip up in under three minutes along with vegan mozzarella-style shreds.
The Simple Savoury Tomato Sauce is my go-to recipe for tomato sauce . It calls for plain tomato sauce as well as canned diced tomatoes so it’s hassle-free and can be ready in under a half hour. If you can find the fire-roasted variety of diced tomatoes use them – they lend a sweet, slightly caramelized depth to the sauce you just can’t get with plain diced tomatoes. Be sure to add our cashew-based parmesan cheese during the final stage of making the tomato sauce…it adds an unbeatable creamy and savoury dimension to the sauce that balances the sweetness of the tomatoes.
Looking to add some tomato bliss to your dinner plans this week? Why not try these Vegan Rhapsody favourites:
Savoury Parmesan Cheese (yields approx. 1 cup)
3/4 cup raw cashews
2 tsp hemp seeds, raw & shelled
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp lemon juice
One 350g pkg firm tofu, cut into 1/4inch slabs
Olive oil (for frying)
Note: Ingredient amounts shown are based on one 350g block of tofu.
If serving 4 or more people I recommend using two 350g blocks of firm tofu and doubling the ingredients for Bowl One, Two & Three.
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cornstarch
¼ cup almond milk
1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
Few pinches dried basil
Few pinches garlic powder
Few pinches sea salt
Simple Savoury Tomato Sauce
1 28oz can fire-roasted diced/crushed tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp cane sugar
2/3 cup water
1 Tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
Few pinches dried basil
Few pinches salt
4 Tbsp savoury parmesan cheese
This & That
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegan mozzarella shreds
1/Prepare one batch of Savoury Parmesan Cheese (see Recipe Notes)
2/In a large prep bowl stir together canned tomatoes with 1 cup tomato sauce; set aside.
3/Preheat oven to 400F.
1/Add ingredients to Bowl One, Two & Three
2/Dip each tofu slab (both sides) in Bowl One (flour-cornstarch mixture)
3/Dip each slab in the remaining two bowls in this sequence:
Bowl Two (Almond milk) & Bowl Three (Panko mixture). This method helps you get the most “stick” factor when coating your slabs in Panko 🙂
5/Pour enough olive oil in your skillet to cover the pan’s surface. Once the oil is hot (give or take 5 minutes), transfer the tofu slabs to the skillet one at a time. Place the slabs so they do not touch one another. Fry the tofu slabs until golden brown and crispy. Repeat for the other side.
6/Transfer the pan-fried tofu slabs onto a paper-towel covered plate. The paper towel will help to soak up excess oil; set aside.
Simply Savoury Tomato Sauce
1/Add a glug of olive oil to a pot on medium-low heat. Toss the chopped onion and minced garlic into pot (along with a pinch of salt). Sauté until the mixture is golden brown and/or translucent.
2/Raise the temperature to medium-high heat. Add half the reserved canned tomato-tomato sauce mixture, balsamic vinegar, cane sugar, water, vegetable bouillon powder and pinch each of dried basil and salt to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes.
3/Fold in parmesan cheese. Simmer for 15 minutes on medium-high heat.
4/Using an immersion blender (or similar) process the sauce until smooth.
1/Spread the remaining half of the canned tomato-tomato sauce mixture on the bottom of a casserole dish. Arrange the pan-fried tofu slabs over the sauce.
2/Cover the tofu slabs with reserved Simply Savoury Tomato Sauce (depending on how much sauce you there will likely be leftovers!)
3/Sprinkle mozzarella shreds over the sauce-covered tofu slabs.
Bake at 400F for 15 mins or until the sauce starts to bubble and/or cheese melts.
Garnish your baked parmigiana with remaining parmesan cheese. Serve hot!
*How to prep Savoury Parmesan Cheese:
Add dry ingredients to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until well combined. Add lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture just starts to combine.
Important! Don’t pulse too much– the cheese should be granular and not a paste!