Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grilled Blackened Tofu with Vegan Yogurt-Dill Sauce and Roasted Vegetable and Bulgur-Quinoa Salad

This easy meal is to die for!  The grilled tofu has a nice punch to it, while being tough and "meaty", and the yogurt dill sauce is a perfectly smoothy, creamy, cooling pair.

The funniest thing happened as I started preparing this dish.  Penelope was becoming fussy, so I knew it was time for her to have some nibbles.  She first had tofu months ago and I thought that she liked it, but it has been awhile and she has had so many flavorful things since there.  So as I was draining and straining the tofu, I decided to strap her into her hight chair and chop her up some pieces of just plain tofu.  Every little piece she placed into her mouth was immediately spit out.  I realized this baby is just like her momma.  She wants food with a flavor punch!  I looked at a few spices I had on the counter and thought "meh, lets see what a little lemon pepper would do".  Jackpot!  This baby is one little fancy eater!

The trick to getting that perfect steak-like consistency of the grilled tofu is to strain it in paper towels for a few hours while putting a heavy book (or any heavy object on top of it).  This allows all of the excess liquid inside tofu to completely drain.  Then, once you apply the rub and little oil, the tofu steak cooks slow and steady on the grill on a medium temp, for roughly 10 minutes on each side.  I like to use a grill mat for tofu to ensure it does not stick, and then the last minute place the tofu directly on the rack to get those beautiful grill marks.

Including the barley-quinoa salad makes a complete meal with this grilled tofu.  You don't need a salad or any other side with this nutrient packed meal!  The mixture of bulgar and quinoa is a perfect blend of protein packed grains, and I will definitely being using them together again!  The contrasts of textures and flavors really work well together!  The bulgur is tender and chewy, with an earthy taste, whereas quinoa is nutty and a bit fluffier texture similar to couscous. 

Well, enough talking here....lets get into the specifics!

Grilled Blackened Tofu with Vegan Yogurt-Dill Sauce 
and Roasted Vegetable and Bulgur-Quinoa Salad

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

for tofu:
1 block tofu, cut into slices and drained/ strained for a few hours
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp evoo

for sauce:
1 - 1.5 c vegan plain yogurt
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

for barley-quinoa salad
1 c quinoa
1 c barley
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 c cubed eggplant
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley 
1.5 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp white vinegraitte 
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
nutritional yeast to taste (optional)


for the barley-quinoa salad:
Preheat oven to 400.  In two small pots, boil 2 cups of water in each pot, add in quinoa in one pot, the barley in the over, cover and simmer.  Barley cooks in roughly 10 minute, quinoa cooks in roughly 15 minutes.  Once done, transfer to bowl, toss with evoo and set aside.

Place broccoli, eggplant and tomato on a baking sheet, drizzle with evoo and roast for 15-20 minutes.   Transfer roasted vegetable to the bowl with the mixed grains and add remaining ingredients.  Season to taste.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

for the dill sauce:
Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl or blend in your favorite machine.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

for the tofu:
Heat grill to medium (roughly 300).
Once the tofu has been drained and strained, mix the seasoning with evoo and brush the mixture generously over each slice of tofu.  Place tofu on the grill, or on a grill mat if you have one.  Cover and let cook on one side for about 8-10 minutes.  Flip and repeat.  Brush more of the blackening seasoning if you desire.  Transfer to the actual grill and let cook on each side for about a minute in order to obtain those beautiful grill marks.

Now, place roasted vegetable and grain salad on a plate.  Set tofu on top and finish off with the yogurt dill sauce.  Complete meal!


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