Since recent discoveries, I have been trying to limit the consumption of processed protein and replace it with healthier, budget-friendly alternatives. One of which being tofu. In Canada, you can find a package of tofu for a little over $1 (I can usually purchase for about $1.15).
Tofu is one of those foods that you almost have to try a few times, or eat it perfectly the first time before you’ll actually like it. Now that I know how to cook with it, it’s so much easier and tastes good every time I make it (I even have my (somewhat of a) meat-eater boyfriend to testify!).
My first tofu Aha! moment was definitely with soup; using firm tofu and cutting into bite-size chunks, I threw them in the pot and hoped for the best. About an hour and a half later when the soup was done, the tofu had completely taken on the taste of the soup – I should mention that I tried the soup with the tofu about ten minutes after I put the chunks in and I thought I ruined it; it tasted terrible. Marination, time and patience are what you need to cook tofu!
So, using that same method of throwing chunks in and hoping for the best, came with tomato sauce. Normally I would use a “fake” ground round to get the illusion of chunky tomato sauce. This time I used tofu. At first I did cut them into chunks, but firm tofu is really good to crumble to get that chunky look.
Pasta & Tofu Casserole
I did make the tomato sauce first, then a few days later I made the casserole with it:
Tomato Sauce: (These ingredients made about 2 containers of sauce – not sure the measurements!)
· 2 tomatoes
· 1 can tomato sauce
· 1 pkg firm tofu, crumbled
· 1/2 onion
· 1/2 green & red pepper
Mix everything together, cook at least an hour on medium-low – I tried this too, right at the beginning and it’s pretty bad, you need to wait that long for everything to cook together, once it’s done you can’t even taste the tofu.
*This would also be good in a crock pot!
Preheat oven to 325F
The only other steps are to cook the pasta (and I threw in some broccoli as well), mix with the tomato sauce and layer in a casserole dish. (Because the tomato sauce is moist enough, it eliminates the need for milk or other dairy, like in many other pasta casserole recipes.)
Cook in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.
You can also top with vegan cheese (or regular cheese) to help it adhere together better.
Enjoy your day!