Zoodles with Garlic Bread and Tofu-Tomato Sauce

zoodles with vegan garlic bread and tofu-tomato sauce

Spaghetti with a hefty sauce and garlic bread is really a thing of beauty, but it’s got a couple of problems.

First problem: Double carbs. Maybe not a problem if you’re better about portion control than I am, but I’m not satisfied with pasta unless I’ve got a whole plate full of it, and I’m not satisfied with garlic bread unless I’ve got at least three pieces.

Second problem: The “hefty” part of the sauce is usually meat, which, well, obviously. No.

Fortunately, these are both pretty minor problems. My spur-of-the-moment solutions? Swap out the noodles for zucchini, and swap out the meat for tofu. The “zoodles” trick is nothing new to me, but the tofu part was a bit of an experiment. I pressed the bejeezus out of it first to try to minimize sogginess, then crumbled it into a bowl and marinated it in a mixture of meaty-tasting things like liquid smoke, vegan Worcestershire sauce, and some spices. Then I fried it in olive oil for ages until it crisped up.

plate of zucchini noodles with vegan garlic bread and tofu tomato sauce

The Verdict

Totally respectable. Nobody in their right minds would mistake crispy-spiced-tofu-chunks for meat, of course, but it was very savory and added a nice heft to the sauce, not to mention a bit of protein to counter the fat-and-carb-o-rama that was the garlic bread. Which, incidentally, was good. Turns out there are a lot of decent dairy-free margarines out there, and they make garlic bread that tastes just as good as the dairy kind. Due to my wisdom tooth removal, I unfortunately had to content myself with cutting off the crusty edges and just eating the mushy middle, but it was a big success. 

The only trouble was that the zoodles were a little liquid-y, as you can see in the picture above. My fault, I’m afraid. Normally I drain them better before serving, but I was hungry, damn it.

It was a hit with the kids, too. The four-year-old especially liked the zoodles-and-sauce, and the two-year-old liked the garlic bread, so between the pair of them, everything got eaten.

Recipes Used

The garlic bread was pretty standard: Mix margarine with garlic powder, salt, and oregano, then spread it on some bread and bake it for a while.

Tofu and Tomato Sauce for Pasta or Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 15-ounce package of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-4 more tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium-low heat. When the garlic smells great and browns slightly, add the tomatoes.
  2. Simmer until thickened, adding liquid (water, wine, stock - whatever) if it gets TOO thick. Season to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, crumble the tofu into a bowl and add the seasonings. Mix it around, taste, and add more of anything that seems necessary. Let it sit for a couple minutes.
  4. Heat additional olive oil (more if you want a greasier, meatier taste, less if you’re trying to be reasonably healthy) over medium-high heat. Add tofu. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until brown and crispy.
  5. Add the tofu to the sauce, and serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, whatever.
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