For an alternative Christmas meal, try our lovely vegan tofu bake recipe. It is naturally gluten-free and also makes a tasty, nutritious dish for any time of the year.
Tofu is made from soya milk, which is curdled, pressed into a block and then cooled, using a process very similar to that which makes cheese. It is a traditional dish in Southeast and East Asia and has featured in meals in China for centuries. Tofu has gained popularity in recent decades amongst vegetarians and vegans as it is a good source of meat-free protein – it contains 9 essential amino acids. (Read more about vegan protein here). Tofu is low in fat and also low in calories, so can form part of a healthy diet. The only word of caution is that tofu is made from soya and researchers suggest moderating your consumption each week.
When buying tofu, you can choose between different consistencies: soft (silken), firm and extra firm. We use a firm tofu here at the retreat, which feels more substantive than the silken version. The soft (silken) variety can be used in desserts or to make a version of vegan mayonnaise. Some supermarkets now stock flavoured tofu – we prefer to flavour the tofu ourselves, with the ingredients we choose, but it might be a time saving option for you. Tofu itself is a little bit tasteless, so you will need to use some herbs to bring some flavour to it.
This recipe can be prepared ahead of time and left in the fridge until it is ready to pop into the oven and bake. Indeed, prepping it and leaving the tofu to marinade in the ingredients before cooking can help to maximise the flavours of the veggies and herbs.
If you feel adventurous you could also make it into the shape of the Christmas turkey!
Vegan tofu bake recipe
Calories: 828 total, 138 per serving
1 tbsp sunflower oil
3 whole leeks cut very thinly
1 courgette cut in small cubes
½ cup dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water, then squeezed and chopped thinly
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 pack of tofu (375g)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Heat the sunflower oil in a pan and sauté the leeks for about 10 minutes until they are soft. Add some hot water (instead of oil) if you feel they are starting to stick to the pan.
Add the courgette, soaked dried tomatoes and dried herbs. Stir well. Add 1 tablespoon of water, cover and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
Pre-heat the oven to a medium temperature.
Process the tofu in the food processor together with the olive oil, tamari sauce, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, until it starts to look like a thin paste.
In a bowl, mix the processed tofu mix with the leek mixture. Line a bread tin with baking paper (or silver foil). Press the tofu and leek mixture into the bread tin. Bake for 25 minutes.
Serve hot, topped with some fresh basil leaves (or a festive sprig of holly if you are enjoying this for Christmas!).
In the depths of winter, you can serve this recipe with our wholesome hearty vegetable stew or chunky roast squash with onion and cinnamon. You can also enjoy this dish in summer – it makes a light alternative to quiche! Serve with Indian baingan bharta dip and a raw cauliflower tabbouleh salad for a lovely light snack.
Enjoy plant-based food at La Crisalida health and wellbeing retreats
For other ideas on what to make with tofu check our blog, where there are lots of other plant-based (vegan) recipes to try at home. Or come and experience the plant-based food yourself, by coming on retreat.
I wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year.