Wow. As I sat down to write this post about the vegan Tofu Vindaloo dish you see here, I realized that it’s been over a month since David and I decided to go vegetarian. It’s been quite a month, full of new recipes, new ingredients and and new restaurants. We feel great and have no desire to go back. we have leaned a bit toward vegan but haven’t committed to that lifestyle yet. I’m not sure if that’s in our future, and for now we’re comfortable knowing that our environmental footprint is shrinking more and more.
Over the past month I’ve really enjoyed cooking some amazing food and I’m very grateful to all the bloggers who test and share their own vegetarian and vegan recipes. I make a point of always sharing links, both to give credit where credit is due and to help others find great resources. I’ve learned that I will not be happy grazing on raw food, piles of greens or uninspired dishes. That is not to say that all of those things don’t play a role in our weekly rotation of meals. So far though, our most satisfying and delicious meals were those that took some planning, preparation and execution. Whipping up a batch of black bean burgers on a Sunday means that I’ll have some great lunch sandwiches all week. Don’t even get me started on how many different ways I can eat the leftover falafel balls!
David and I have also noted that condiments play a huge role in our enjoyment of non-meat items. Wasabi, chipolte mayo, tahini and dijon mustard add creaminess and extra flavor to nearly everything. And our spice cupboard is overflowing. Cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, oregano, dry mustard, white pepper, black pepper, bay leaves. Judicious use of spices makes all the difference. And speaking of spices, that brings me to last night’s dinner, the Tofu Vindaloo (recipe here).
This recipe creates Indian “Vindaloo” flavors with less of the work. Since I’ve only eaten the real thing (a lamb vindaloo) once I’m hardly an expert, but I can say that this dish had a lot going for it–lots of flavor and heat, properly prepared tofu and ease of preparation. Unfortunately I just didn’t love the flavor combination of, well, vindaloo. The method here combines all the spices into a paste in the food processor, then adds them to the warmed pan used to sauté the drained and pressed tofu. The last step is to add some liquid (veggie broth) and a few additional ingredients along with the vegetables (cauliflower, green beans and red pepper) and let it all simmer together until the vegetables are crisp tender. I found I needed to add a bit more water than the recommended half cup to create the proper consistency.
Aside from the fact that we undercooked the vegetables, for me, the culprit was the cinnamon. I’m just not a fan of cinnamon in savory dishes. In our pre-vegetarian days I used to make lamb burgers with cinnamon as one of the spices. David loved these burgers (and he enjoyed this dish also) but it never quite worked for me. The flavor profile was similar to the vindaloo. So if this mix of spices appeals to you, give this recipe a try. It’s very satisfying and filling.
On another note, it’s been quiet on this blog because Sam and Deacon were visiting for the week. Since going vegetarian, this was the first time that David and I had to consider feeding another person who is decidedly not vegetarian. We’re pretty clear that while we are very enthusiastic about this dietary change for ourselves (and the animals and the planet) we are not activists, nor do we have any desire to foist our way of eating on anyone else. So I kept it simple for Sam and used the opportunity to clear out some steak and chicken that was still in our freezer. He appreciated the consideration, enjoyed his meals and even tried out some leftover falafel balls which he enjoyed. Patience and modeling. Yep, I know.