Tofu Florentine Pasta

March 11, 2013 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

I saw an Olive Garden commercial the other night that advertised an entree consisting of pasta, spinach, and pan-fried chicken in cream sauce. I instantly craved it, and decided to try and vegan-ize it as much as possible so my lactose-intolerant vegetarian BF could enjoy it with me. I used this recipe for vegan cream sauce (my version uses real butter, but if you follow hers, it’s 100% animal-free!) and modified a few recipes for baked marinated tofu. Combined with pasta and sautéed spinach, this is totally delicious and WAY better for you than the restaurant version. It takes a lot of steps, but they’re all very easy; the only downside is the pile of dishes you’ll have left to do at the end.

Now, vegan-cooking n00bs, take note: “original” flavored soy/almond/rice milk is NOT THE SAME as “unsweetened.” If the front of the box does not prominently say “unsweetened,” check the ingredients for sugar. You want milk that has no sugar added for this kind of savory recipe. I made that mistake, had to make a second trip to a grocery store for unsweetened milk, and could only find unsweetened soymilk. So in addition to most of a container of unsweetened soymilk, we now have a half gallon of sweetened almond milk to use up.

Shopping difficulties aside, though, we loved this meal! It had the perfect proportion of sauce to pasta, and was flavorful without being heavy. I had bought some Parmesan Reggiano to add, in case it turned out too bland, but it wasn’t necessary at all. We both agreed that more spinach, shallots, and garlic would improve it next time. I will probably double the salt next time, too, just to make it a bit easier on myself.

I am going to post the sauce and tofu recipes separately at the bottom of the page, for convenience’s sake. Give yourself about an hour to get this done (not counting the tofu marinade, which you should do the night before). I would start baking the tofu, then start the shallots/garlic/spinach, then make the sauce, then do the pasta last to have it all ready on time.

Almost-Vegan Tofu Florentine Pasta

    Ingredients:

– 16 oz whole wheat short pasta
– 2 cups baby spinach
– 1 shallot
– 5 cloves garlic
– 1-2 tbsp EVOO
– Baked Marinated Tofu (recipe below)
– Creamy sauce (recipe below)

    Directions:

1. While tofu is cooking, mince shallot and garlic. Sauté in olive oil until shallots are translucent. (Start your cream sauce in a separate dish after you start the shallots.)
2. Add spinach and cook over low heat until wilted. Set aside.
3. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
4. Return pasta to pot and add spinach mixture. Add sauce and toss until well-coated. Add tofu cubes and mix well. Add more salt if needed before serving.

Baked Marinated Tofu

    Ingredients:

– 2 tbsp EVOO
– 2 tbsp soy sauce (I used low sodium)
– 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– 2 tsp garlic powder
– 2 tsp dried oregano
– 2 tsp dried basil
– 1 tsp onion powder
– About 1/2 c white wine
– 16 oz extra firm tofu

    Directions:

1. Drain/press water out of tofu and cut into one-inch cubes.
2. Combine all other ingredients in an airtight container and mix well.
3. Add the tofu, and add more wine if more moisture is needed.
4. Marinate overnight in refrigerator, flipping at least once.
5. When ready to cook, preheat over to 350 and grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Bake for 40 minutes, turning cubes halfway through.

Creamy Almost-Vegan Sauce

    Ingredients:

– 1 c unsweetened soy milk
– 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
– 2 tsp EVOO
– 2 tsp tahini
– 2 tbsp butter
– 1 tsp salt
– 32 cranks black pepper

    Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in skillet.
2. Bring just to a simmer, then turn heat to low and cook 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

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Entry filed under: adaptations, pasta, recipes, spinach, vegetarian.

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About

This is a cooking blog by someone who is not particularly good at cooking. I'm a lazy person who aspires to make simple, awesome, healthy food at home.

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