Last night during dinner Kaden confessed that for as long as I’ve been vegan, everyday he’s secretly wished that I’d change back. He doesn’t like vegan food! There, it’s all out on the table now, a big sigh of relief waves over him. I got the sense it was difficult for him to finally admit this to me, he’s sensitive and he seemed prepared for some kind of backlash, after all, it’s been brewing in him for over a year. There was no backlash. I just gave him an understanding smile as he held up his bowl asking for his third helping of the vegan Tofu Cacciatore with Brown Rice Spaghetti we were eating for dinner.
Dude, don’t let your head get in the way of your stomach.
I have to admit the cacciatore turned out pretty good, our pickiest eater and smallest had 2 helpings so that’s all the confirmation I need. I adapted my version from 2 recipes and with the ingredients I had on hand. I’m more of an improvisational cook and look for recipes that suit the ingredients I have rather than make a grocery list according to recipes. Pasta is always a quick and easy meal. Here are the 2 recipes I used as reference Giada’s Chicken Cacciatore from the food network and from Robin Robertson’s Pappardelle Cacciatore from her cookbook Vegan Planet. I’ve made Giada’s recipe a few times before I went vegan so I knew it was a great recipe.
1 pkg (175 g) super firm tofu or 1/2 pkg of ex firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into cubes
2 tbsp seasoned flour or sub flour with salt & pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
6 cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp fresh gr black pepper
1/2 cup white wine (or sub red)
1 jar of strained tomatoes (or sub can diced tomatoes)
1 cup of broth
pasta of your choice
Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan to med-high, I use a cast iron enamel pot. Put the seasoned flour into a bowl and toss with the tofu cubes to coat. Once the pan is hot add the tofu and lightly brown on all sides. Remove the tofu and set aside. Turn down the heat to med, add a little more oil if needed and add the veggies. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt. Saute the veggies until tender and most of the moisture is cooked out of them. Add rest of seasonings and cook 1 min. longer. Add white wine, simmer and reduce to 1/2. Add tomatoes and broth, bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Add tofu and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, get your salted pasta water boiling and cook your pasta according to the package directions.
And dinner is served.
-With recipes like this I like to prepare all my vegetables first. I chop them to the same size and put them all into a med sized mixing bowl. That way they are ready to go into the pot when needed.
-Draining and pressing tofu can be done earlier in the day so it’s ready to go when you need it, if you have foresight. Otherwise, drain it and slice the tofu block in 1/2 lengthwise so you have 2 thin blocks then wrap it in a towel and press it.