Braising is a technique that has always intrigued me. I tried it for the first time with tofu and found it to be a really great way to impart flavor into it. I was inspired by fall flavors and Thanksgiving when I came up with this recipe, so it’s perfect for this time of year! Give it a try, and if you post to Instagram use the hashtag #plantbasedartist! I’d love to see your creations!
makes about 4 servings
20 oz tofu* (see note below)
1 cup vegetable broth (here’s my recipe)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon agave (or desired sweetener)
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
salt to taste (if needed)
1 tablespoon oil (for cooking)
mushroom fennel gravy:
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup finely diced fennel
6 cremini mushrooms, sliced (or desired variety)
2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth
Drain and slice the tofu into 1/2 inch pieces. Marinate in the vegetable broth and spices for at least an hour. Overnight is ideal. Pat dry the tofu slices and keep the marination liquid aside.
Heat a wide pan to medium/high heat and add cooking oil. Once the oil has heated through, add the tofu slices. Cook the tofu until browned, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Add the reserved marination liquid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 3-5 minutes. Flip over the tofu and continue to simmer until there is no liquid remaining. If needed, do this in separate batches.
Prepare the mushroom fennel gravy by heating oil to medium heat in a saucepan. Add the diced fennel and cook until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook until slightly brown. Reduce the heat slightly, add the flour, nutritional yeast, thyme, salt, and pepper and cook until the flour starts to brown. Add the vegetable broth, reduce to simmer, and cook until thickened. Adjust the consistency with more broth or water, and adjust seasoning to taste.
Serve the gravy over the tofu, garnish as desired, and enjoy! I served mine with cauliflower puree and sautéed green beans.
*Note: Look for “super firm” or “high protein” tofu when making this recipe. This will ensure the tofu holds its shape when marinating and braising.