Tofu and Chickpea Polpette with Marinara Sauce
These Polpetti are far from your standard “meatless” balls and in Italy, Polpetti are also traditionally eaten without a sauce as a snack or small light meal. When cooked without meat, these are sometimes called crocchette, a word taken from the french language used to distinguish from the two. This recipe, using tofu and chickpeas, gives the Polpetti an amazing texture. Topped with the most delicious Marinara sauce, a match made in heaven, you have something delicious, hearty and perfect for any occasion.
|90 Minutes||Serves 2/3||? kcal per serving
For the Marinara sauce
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, very finely chopped
2 stalks celery, very finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
1 pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
200 ml vegan white wine
These first ingredients form the basis of a Sofrito. This is cooked first and then the other ingredients added.
250 g fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
200 ml water
1 vegetable stock cube, I use Kallo
2 tablespoons tomato puree
Handful finely chopped fresh basil
For the Polpette
1 400 g block firm tofu
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon powder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons dried porcini mushrooms
1 small red onion, chopped
4 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
50 g pistachio nuts
1 400 g tin chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to your liking
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 garlic clove crushed, or teaspoon garlic powder
Oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius ( 400 F ), Gas Mark 6.
Start by preparing the tofu
1 Drain the tofu, press to remove as much water as possible and crumble the tofu into small clumps into a bowl.
2 Stir in the vegetable bouillon powder, light soy sauce and dark soy sauce and spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the tofu is very firm and has bouncy texture.
Now, prepare the sauce whilst the tofu is in the oven.
1 Add the oil to a frying pan over a medium heat and add the finely chopped carrot, celery, onion, garlic, salt, bay leaves, thyme. Fry for 4-5 minutes then add the white wine and pepper. Cover and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
2 Next add the mushrooms and cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
3 Add the chopped tomatoes, water, vegetable stock cube, tomato puree and fresh basil. Cover and simmer gently for 8-10 minutes.
4 Remove the lid and continue to cook for a further 6-7 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
5 Put to one side and prepare the polpette.
Preparing the Polpette
When ready, remove tofu from oven and reduce oven to 180 degrees C ( 370 F ), Gas Mark 5.
1 Place the dried mushrooms into a processor and process until powdered. Now add the red onion, parsley, pistachio nuts, drained chickpeas, paprika, chilli, salt, pepper and garlic.
2 Process until the mixture is very thick and dough like.
3 Place the mixture into a bowl and pour over the baked tofu. and stir the tofu gently into the mixture.
4 Shape into small balls, approx half the size of a golf ball, place on a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to set for around 10 minutes.
5 Using a deep fat fryer or a pan of oil, fry the balls in batches, making sure the oil is hot enough so that they sizzle and fry as soon as they tough the fat. Cook for just 1 minute and remove with a slotted spoon and place back onto the baking tray.
6 Place back into the oven for 10 minutes to finish cooking.
Putting the dish together
This dish can be served over spaghetti for a traditional feel, or another pasta of your choice. I served my dish over spiralized carrots and courgettes, which is so simple to prepare.
1 Using a spiralizing tool ( or machine ) spiralize 2 large carrots and 2 large courgettes.
2 Place into a pan of salted boiling water, and blanch for 30 seconds.
3 Remove and place in the bottom of your serving bowl.
4 Place the polpetti on top of the vegetables and spoon over a generous amount of the Marinara sauce.
5 Finish the dish with a final sprinkle of chopped basil and parsley.
The tofu mince can be substituted with your preferred vegan mince alternative. Be sure to cook it before using it in the recipe.
Read the recipe through. Many of the processes can be prepared at different stages, and also in advance which makes it much quicker to put the dish together.
THE VEGAN HOUSEHOLD PROUDLY SUPPORTS
To begin, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius ( 400F / Gas Mark 6 ) and put the cauliflower on to steam.
1 Start preparing the filling by making the roux. Put the margarine and flour into a medium saucepan over a low heat and whisk gently for a few minutes.
2 Gradually add the milk, continuing to whisk until the sauce starts to come together and thicken. Add the white wine and the bay leaf and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes until the sauce has come together.
3 Turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients that are listed for the filling, adding in the tofu last, once all of the other ingredients have been mixed well into the sauce.
4 Once the cauliflower has softened, allow to dry slightly before placing in a bowl with the rest of the topping ingredients. Mash everything together well until the mash is as smooth as possible.
5 Place the filling into a suitably sized baking dish or casserole and place the mash over the top.
6 Drizzle with a little oil and the bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
For the filling
25 g vegan margarine
25 g plain flour
250 ml soya milk
150 ml vegan dry white wine
2 tablespoons vegan creme fraiche
1 teaspoon English mustard
1 handful frozen peas
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 spring onions, finely chopped
4 cornichons, finely chopped
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley,dill and chives
1 tablespoon capers
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
1 block firm tofu, drained and cut into chunks
For the topping
1 medium cauliflower, cut into chunks, steamed until soft
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
oil for drizzling
If you prefer, the tofu can be substituted with vegan Quorn pieces which also work really well in this dish.
Steaming the cauliflower whilst preparing the filling speeds up the time it takes to put the dish together.
THE VEGAN HOUSEHOLD PROUDLY SUPPORTS
Tofu Tikka Masala with Mushroom and Spinach
As a curry lover, I always like to find new ways to make a curry a little different and add a new depth of excitement into the mix. This is exactly what has happened with this amazing Tofu Tikka Masala. Blending what is essentially two recipes into one, the result is the most delicious and mouthwatering dish, deep in flavour and rich in texture. This is a must for everyone that enjoys Indian cuisine.
|Read Recipe||Serves 2||? kcal per serving
For the Tofu Tikka
2 packs firm tofu, I used tofoo
3 inch piece ginger, chopped
6 large cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1/2 tablespoon garam masala
150 ml vegan plain yoghurt
50 ml vegetable oil
For the curry
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 inch ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely grated
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 large onions, chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon agave nectar
400 g mushrooms, roughly chopped
15 g dried shiitake mushrooms soaking in 200 ml vegetable stock
1 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon curry powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon pepper
100 ml water
200 g baby spinach leaves
Splash of vodka (optional)
1 teaspoon garam masala
Pinch Methi Leaves (optional)
Fresh or dried chlli to your desired heat
Bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped.
Begin by preparing the tofu. This step should be done in advance.
1 Preheat the oven to 230 C (450F), Gas Mark 8.
2 Place all of the marinade ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth
3 Chop the tofu into large bite-size chunks and place in a freezer bag. Pour in the marinade, massage the marinade around the tofu and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
4 After the 4 hours, layer a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the tofu pieces on the parchment. Add a teaspoon of any leftover marinade on top of each piece of tofu and place in the oven for 25 minutes, or until just starting to blacken at the edges.
To prepare the curry
1 Over a low heat, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the ginger, garlic and mustard seeds and stir for 15-20 seconds for the seeds to pop.
2 Add the onions and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes until softened.
3 Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes to soften
4 Remove the shiitake mushrooms from the stock and finely chop. Add to the pan with the stock, stir well and cover and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes.
5 Remove the lid and simmer for a further 5 minutes to reduce the liquid.
6 Add the tinned tomatoes, curry powder, turmeric, black pepper and water and cover again simmering for a further 20 minutes for the tomatoes to break down.
7 Remove the lid, add the spinach, a splash of vodka (if using), and cook uncovered for a further 10 minutes.
8 Turn off the heat, add the garam masala, methi leaves (if using), stir in the fresh or dried chilli and chopped coriander, leaving a little for garnishing when serving.
To serve the dish
1 Place the prepared tofu tikka in the bottom of a casserole dish.
2 Pour over the curry.
3 Cover and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200C (400F), Gas Mark 6
4 Serve with a garnish of coriander and your chosen accompaniment.
Read through the recipe as both parts of the recipe can be prepared in advance or timed to come together at the same time.
Vodka brings out the flavours of the dish. It is not crucial but if there is not a reason you would avoid, then give it a try.
Methi Leaves give a good flavour, but again, if these are unavailable, just leave these out.