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Tofu Parm

Crispy, saucy, creamy, and delicious comfort food
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Tofu Pressing Time (Minimum) 1 hr
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

The Sauce

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ yellow or sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, whole
  • 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
  • ½ tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 small handful fresh basil

Tofu Parm

  • 1 block extra firm or firm tofu 14 oz
  • ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs I used the Rice Crumbs from Trader Joe's
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp dried basil or Italian herbs
  • ¼ cup neutral oil or enough to heavily coat the baking tray
  • 4-6 oz vegan mozzarella cheese I used Miyoko's for this recipe, but have also tried it with Vio Life

Instructions
 

  • Press the tofu for 1 hour, or up to 4 hours. (See notes for tips on pressing tofu.)
  • If you are making your own tomato sauce, you can begin this while the tofu is pressing to save on time. If you are using jarred tomato sauce, you can skip ahead to the Tofu Parm section.

The Sauce

  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep pan, or medium pot.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery as well as the whole garlic cloves.
  • Cover and cook until carrots are soft, stirring every few minutes so the onions do not burn.
  • Once the carrots are soft, add the contents of the pan to a food processor, along with 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, ½ tsp kosher salt, and a small handful of fresh basil leaves. (If you do not have a food processor see the notes below.)
  • Pulse a few times until the tomatoes are saucy and the basil has been chopped. I like to keep my sauce a little chunky, but you can blend as much as you want.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Tofu Parm

  • After the tofu is pressed, preheat the oven to 400.
  • In a small baking dish or shallow plate, mix ½ c gluten free breadcrumbs, ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, and ½ tsp dried basil.
  • Pour at least ¼ cup of neutral oil into a baking tray. It should be enough to thoroughly coat the entire tray.
  • Slice the pressed tofu into thin, rectangular pieces, about ¼ inch thick.
  • Dredge each piece of tofu in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure each side is thoroughly coated. You can press the breadcrumbs into the tofu a bit, but be gentle - the tofu will crumble if you are too rough. Place each breaded piece of tofu in the well oiled baking tray.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, then check on the tofu. They should be crispy, but not hard like a cracker. If they are not crispy and browned, keep going. Mine took 25 minutes.
  • When the tofu is as crispy as you would like, spoon the tomato sauce on and around the tofu in the baking tray. Careful! The hot oil might splatter! To avoid this, let the pan sit at room temperature for a few minutes before adding the sauce.
  • Top with cheese and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melty. Depending on which vegan cheese you are using, this will look quite different. Some get gooey, others brown, others keep their shape until you prod it with a fork.
  • Top with fresh basil or parsley, and optional vegan parm.

Notes

  • Blending the Sauce: If you don't have a food processor, you can blend the sauce using a blender or immersion blender. If you do not have these either, crush the tomatoes with your hand in a large bowl until they are smooth. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pan with all the other ingredients and stir to combine. Your sauce will be chunkier, but still tasty. You can make it less chunky by dicing your onion, carrots, and celery smaller. 
  • Pressing the Tofu: You can use a tofu press, but you can also use items around your kitchen. Drain your tofu and wrap the block in a clean kitchen towel. Place the wrapped tofu on a plate, baking tray, or plastic cutting board - something flat and at least as large as the block of tofu. Place another flat object on top of the tofu. Then place something heavy on top. I use a Dutch oven, but you could also use a stack of books or a bag of flour. 
Keyword cheese, gluten free, parm, tofu, tomato sauce, vegan