Winter comfort(ing) food: a recipe

This is the first of (hopefully) many recipe posts on my blog. I’ve been cooking for myself regularly since I went vegan, three and a half years ago, because my college did not have a wealth of options in that category. I’ve discovered a lot of amazing recipes along the way, and also started to get more confident improvising in the kitchen.

I made the following dish last week while visiting a friend’s house. She had a lot of root veggies and a block of tofu to use up, so we made this hearty meal for dinner: Deep, roasty flavors, a filling grain, and a green element adding some much-need vitamins. I wouldn’t call it comfort food per se because it’s not, like, mac and cheese (stay tuned for that recipe!), but it’s definitely comforting. I don’t have much else to say other than, I hope you enjoy!

Oh, one more thing: This recipe isn’t an exact set of steps to follow as much as it is a template to use or adapt to your own needs (and current pantry contents). It’s pretty flexible, so I wrote it as such.

Roasted root vegetables, balsamic tofu, and warm kale salad with couscous

  • Serves: 4
  • Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 1 block (~16 oz.) firm or extra-firm tofu
  • Grain of choice (we used ~1 cup dried couscous)
  • Assorted root vegetables—we used:
    • 1 large potato (sweet potatoes would also be great!)
    • 2 turnips
    • 4 small beets
  • 1 bunch kale, or other dark leafy green
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Pat tofu dry and gently squeeze out any excess water. Cut the tofu into small cubes.
  2. Combine the balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, and salt + pepper (we used about a teaspoon each of the latter two) in a container with a lid. Add the tofu to the marinade and shake it around until it’s all covered. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes.*
  3. In the meantime, prepare your root vegetables: Wash and chop them into small pieces, roughly the same size as the tofu. Spread across one and a half baking sheets lined with silicone mats (or parchment paper). Lightly drizzle the veggies with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then use your hands to toss and coat all the pieces.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. When the tofu is marinated, add it to the other half of the baking sheet. Save the leftover marinade.
  6. Bake the veggies and tofu at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
  7. While the veggies and tofu are roasting, prepare your grain according to package directions.
  8. Also while they’re in the oven, prepare the kale: Remove large stems and tear the kale into bite-sized pieces. Massage for 30 seconds, then add to a large skillet with 1 Tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Cover the skillet and steam the kale for a couple minutes.
  9. Mix the remaining olive oil with the leftover marinade and pour it over the kale, stirring until it begins to wilt and get brown in a few places. Turn off and remove from heat.
  10. Serve the grain, kale, roasted veggies, and balsamic tofu while warm. (I didn’t do this, but I think they’d be delicious topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce). Enjoy!

Recipe notes

*The balsamic tofu component was adapted from Bites of Wellness.

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