I've always been a big fan of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food.
Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan...that area of the world inspires foods with simple, fresh flavours and lots of great spice blends.
Before going vegan my husband and I ate at our local Mediterranean restaurant quite frequently. Since the change, though, I've found my food options a little disappointing. Ninety percent of the menu is heavy on meat and/or cheese, so my choices were lentil soup or falafel. Don't get me wrong - I love lentil soup and falafel, but after a few ho-hum visits I decided I could make some delicious alternatives at home.
I created this recipe as much for my husband as myself. Dave has been inching closer to veganism over the last few months, and I like encouraging him by experimenting with familiar (yet new!) tastes and textures in a non-threatening way. Sometimes wild and crazy vegan gourmet isn't what wins people over. Simple is good.
One of Dave's favourite Mediterranean dishes is chicken shawarma. I thought I'd try my hand at combining a bunch of yummy spices with crumbled extra-firm tofu, and it turned out pretty darn tasty.
A word about the moisture factor: tofu will never have the inherent "juicy-ness" of a slab 'o meat. Pressing the tofu removes all the excess moisture, which also tends to make it a little on the dry side.
To compensate for this, I kept the tofu crumbles larger (I'd make them even bigger next time!) and topped it with a Sriracha tahini sauce that pulls all the flavours together and adds a little creamy kick.
Prep time: 2 hours (tofu prep & marinade)
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 block tofu (Soyganic Extra Firm Tofu)*
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. safflower oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1. Remove tofu from package and squeeze out excess water
2. Layer tofu and a tea towel on a plate with a heavy bowl to press for one hour
1. Cut tofu into ten slices lengthwise, then crumble into a medium sized bowl
2. Mix in oil, garlic, lemon juice and spices, stir to coat and refrigerate for one hour
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees; spread tofu on a baking tray with a silicone sheet
4. Bake for 20 minutes, stir and bake another 10 minutes
Sriracha Tahini Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine
Serve Shawarma Tofu stuffed into a pita or naan bread with your favourite greens and a healthy dose of the Sriracha Tahini Sauce.
Welcome to Flavour Town.
Spice mix inspiration from The Shiksa.