Are you tired of the same old spaghetti bolognese recipe? Are you looking for a flavorful and satisfying dish that is both vegan and gluten-free? Look no further. Introducing my smoked tofu bolognese recipe, a quick and easy meal that will become a family favorite.
This recipe is perfect for those who want to experiment with plant-based protein sources or simply want to switch up their go-to pasta dish. The smoky flavor of the tofu adds depth to the sauce, complemented by the fragrant basil and umami-rich soy sauce. Plus, using nutritional yeast instead of cheese makes this dish completely dairy-free.
Don’t be intimidated by the word “smoked.” You don’t need a smoker or any special equipment to make this recipe! By using liquid smoke and a few spices, I’ve created a shortcut to achieving that savory flavor. Trust me, your taste buds won’t know the difference.
So whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just looking for a new way to enjoy pasta night, give my smoked tofu bolognese recipe a try. It’s time to spice up your dinner routine.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a meatless twist on the classic bolognese sauce, look no further than this smoked tofu bolognese recipe. Not only is it packed with flavor, but it’s also easy to make and highly customizable. Here are just a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
1. It’s vegan-friendly: Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or just looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet, this recipe is perfect. There’s no meat or dairy involved, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions.
2. It’s made with smoky tofu: Tofu may not seem like the most exciting ingredient in the world, but when it’s smoked and mixed with savory seasonings like garlic powder and chili powder, it adds a whole new dimension to your pasta bowl. Trust me, even meat-lovers will be impressed.
3. It’s customizable: Don’t have nutritional yeast on hand? No problem. Want to add in some sautéed mushrooms or eggplant? Do it! This recipe is easily adaptable to whatever ingredients you have on hand or personal preferences you may have.
4. It’s healthier than traditional bolognese: By using tofu instead of ground beef and omitting heavy cream, this bolognese is low in fat and calories without sacrificing any of the taste. Plus, the liquid smoke gives it that outdoorsy BBQ flavor without having to fire up the grill.
So whether you’re cooking for a crowd or just trying to mix up your weekly dinner routine, give this smoked tofu bolognese recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed.
Let’s gather the ingredients!
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this delicious and smoky tofu bolognese:
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 basil sprig, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (if you are making it gluten-free)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 can (14 oz) tomato sauce
1 block (14 oz) firm or extra firm smoked tofu*
You can find smoked tofu at most health stores or online. If you can’t find smoked tofu, you can use regular firm or extra-firm tofu and add a few drops of liquid smoke.
The Recipe How-To
Preheat Oven and Start Cooking the Pasta
Before anything else, turn on your oven to 400°F so it will be ready for the tofu. Another thing you can do is boil water in a large pot and cook your preferred pasta according to the package’s instructions.
Prepare the Smoky Tofu Bolognese Sauce
First, prepare the onion and garlic by peeling them and slicing them into small pieces. While doing this, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When it’s hot enough, toss in the onion and garlic slices and sauté until they become translucent.
Next, chop the smoked tofu into small bits and add them to the saucepan with the sautéed onion and garlic. Mix them well before adding the kosher salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to put some flavor into your smoked tofu bolognese. When everything is thoroughly mixed, add a cup of tomato sauce to mix things better together.
Add Soy Sauce, Nutritional Yeast and Liquid Smoke
Sprinkle a tablespoon of soy sauce, two tablespoons of nutritional yeast and one teaspoon of liquid smoke in the saucepan. This will give it more depth and richness in flavor that can easily be mistaken for meat. Cook for another five minutes at low heat with occasional stirring.
Bake Your Smoked Tofu Bolognese
Now that everything is looking nice and saucy, transfer it from the stove into an oven-safe dish. Bake it inside your preheated oven for around 20-30 minutes until it’s lightly browned on top.
Lastly, serve this incredible tofu bolognese easy vegan recipe, smothered on top of freshly cooked pasta. Enjoy as is or sprinkle some chopped fresh basil sprig or vegan parmesan cheese as garnish.
Substitutions and Variations
For those who are looking to switch things up a bit or adjust the recipe to cater to specific dietary requirements, there are several substitutions and variations that can be made to the Smoked Tofu Bolognese Recipe.
Firstly, if you are not a fan of smoked tofu or simply cannot find it at your local store, regular tofu can be used instead. The tofu can be pressed beforehand to remove excess moisture, then crumbled and baked until crispy before adding it to the sauce. Another option is to use eggplant instead of tofu for a heartier texture.
If you want to make the recipe gluten-free, simply swap out the pasta for gluten-free options and check that all other ingredients, such as tamari sauce, are gluten-free.
For those who prefer a more mild flavor, reduce or omit the chili powder and smoked paprika, and add some dried oregano or thyme for added depth of flavor.
To add some extra veggies to your meal, you can throw in some mushrooms to create a Vegan Mushroom Bolognese or even replace the tofu with mushrooms altogether.
Lastly, if you want to take this recipe beyond just pasta- you can use it as a spaghetti sauce or as a base for eggplant pasta.
These easy variations will allow you to customize the dish and tailor it to your own preferences.
Serving and Pairing
Now that you’ve had your fair share of work, it’s time to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor in all their smoky, savory glory. This smoked tofu bolognese is a versatile dish that can stand alone as the main event or play a supporting role in a bigger meal. Here are some pairing ideas to make the most of this easy vegan bolognese sauce:
First and foremost, it’s pasta night! Serve this smoky tofu bolognese sauce over your favorite pasta shape for a classic Italian-style dinner that will leave you feeling satisfied and happy. Spaghetti bolognese smoked paprika, anyone? You could also try gluten-free pasta for a healthier option.
If you’re looking for something lighter, why not serve this sauce on eggplant “pasta” instead? Thinly sliced eggplant strips make a great low-carb alternative to noodles while still soaking up all the flavors of the bolognese sauce.
This vegan tofu pasta sauce also makes a great topping for baked potatoes or sweet potatoes. Simply split open a piping hot spud and pour on the smoky tofu bolognese for a hearty, filling meal that requires minimal effort.
For an elegant twist on this cozy vegan mushroom bolognese, consider serving it alongside roasted vegetables such as asparagus, bell peppers, or zucchini. The smoky undertones in the tofu will complement these earthy vegetables perfectly.
And don’t forget the garlic bread! This vegan bolognese pairs perfectly with warm, crusty bread slathered in buttery garlic goodness. Serve up a big basket of bread slices for dipping into your saucy creation.
However you choose to enjoy it, this easy vegan smoky tofu bolognese is sure to satisfy all your cravings – rustic comfort food at its finest. And with its wholesome ingredients and rich flavors, you never have to feel guilty about going back for seconds.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
This smoked tofu bolognese recipe is a perfect make-ahead dish that can be stored and reheated easily without losing its taste or texture. To make it more convenient, you can prepare the bolognese sauce a day or two in advance, and then simply reheat it when needed.
To store the sauce, simply place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also freeze it for up to three months. When freezing the sauce, make sure to let it cool completely before freezing and store it in an airtight container.
When ready to reheat, simply place the sauce in a pot or pan over low-medium heat and simmer until warmed through. You may need to add water or tomato sauce to thin out the sauce a bit as it tends to thicken when refrigerated or frozen.
Alternatively, you can also microwave the sauce on high for 1-2 minutes or until warm. Just be sure to stir halfway through to ensure even heating.
As for serving, you can pair this smoked tofu bolognese with your favorite pasta, such as spaghetti, fettuccine or even eggplant pasta if you prefer a gluten-free option. Garnish with basil sprigs and extra nutritional yeast for added flavor and enjoy!
Tips for Perfect Results
If you’re someone who wants to ensure your tofu bolognese recipe turns out to be the talk of the town, then you’ve landed at the right place. With a few smart tips and tricks, you’ll gain the confidence you need to prepare this dish like a pro.
First off, remember that the secret to perfect smoky tofu flavor in your bolognese is using high-quality smoked tofu. Don’t overlook this crucial step as it makes all the difference. In addition, if you’re not in the mood for store-bought smoked tofu, consider making your own with liquid smoke and firm or extra-firm tofu.
Next up, let’s discuss cookware. Using a cast-iron or aluminum Dutch oven is ideal when making your smoky tofu bolognese. The thick walls help distribute heat evenly throughout the cooking process and keep the moisture inside, resulting in a flavorful sauce. Plus, these materials retain heat well enough to keep the dish warm for longer periods.
Another tip is to take your time when cooking your onions and garlic. Cook them over low to medium heat until they are soft and translucent, ensuring that they impart a sweet flavor profile rather than becoming burnt and bitter.
Furthermore, when preparing your bolognese sauce, remember to add ingredients in sequence as instructed in the recipe; this will allow each ingredient to contribute its unique flavor profile continuously throughout the process instead of masking one another’s flavors.
Lastly, while substituting gluten-free pasta is an option, remember that not all brands behave similarly when cooked. So choose one that won’t break easily during preparation and blends well with your smoky tofu bolognese sauce.
By following these tips and ensuring structural integrity in your dish’s composition (using proper cookware and smart ingredient selection), you’ll be able to craft a delectable smoked tofu bolognese that everyone will enjoy!
In conclusion, this smoked tofu bolognese recipe provides an excellent vegan alternative to classic meat-based bolognese sauce. It can be a great option for those who want to switch to a plant-based diet, have dietary restrictions or are looking for healthier meal choices.
By following the simple steps outlined in this recipe, you’ll be able to create a delicious and fulfilling meal in no time. You’ll appreciate the rich flavors of smoked tofu, combined with tomato sauce and spices that create a bold and satisfying dish.
Not only is this smoked tofu bolognese filling and delectable, but it’s also gluten-free and low in calories. Additionally, it’s versatile and pairs well with a range of pasta types.
Overall, this recipe is quick, easy to prepare and perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends when you’re craving something comforting yet healthy. So why not give it a try? Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!
Smoked Tofu Bolognese Recipe
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 14 ounces tofu
- 8 ounces explore cuisine organic edamame pasta
- 4 cups tomato sauce, of choice
- Italian spices, to taste
- kosher salt, to taste
- minced garlic, to taste
- fresh basil sprig (optional)
- minced onion, to taste (optional)
- preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil, chili powder, garlic, and liquid smoke.
- Crumble the block of drained tofu with your fingers, and mix well with the seasonings. Spread onto the parchment paper lined pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent burning.
- He’s the tomato sauce and cook the pasta of your choice according to package directions. Stir the tofu into the sauce and heat through. Serve over hot pasta with a sprinkle of fresh basil, or Parmesan cheese if you so choose.
YOUR OWN NOTE
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Shara @The Bird BBQ
Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.