Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chimichurri Baked Tofu and Confetti Rice Salad

I ordered a copy of Terry Hope Romero's Vive Vegan as soon as it came out. Unfortunately, I haven't really been able to cook with it until recently. I am a huge fan of Latin American cuisine and luckily, I live in a place where I can get authentic ingredients relatively easily. Eventually, I plan on tackling the more complex recipes, such as the empanadas, tamales, and various seitan-based dishes, but for now I'm sticking to the fairly basic ones. 

My local Hy-Vee finally got in some flat-leaved parsley the other day. For the longest time, they only seemed to have the curly-leaved parsley. After doing some research (because I can't let any question go unanswered), I discovered that curly parsley is available year-round while flat-leaf parsley tends to be seasonal. Generally, flat-leaf is used for cooking while curly is demoted to garnish duty. And seriously, you can taste why. Curly parsley is gross.


Curly and unpleasant on the top, flat-leaved and tasty on the bottom.

So, anywho. The minute I saw the flat-leaved parsley on sale, I grabbed a bunch. I had had the Chimichurri Baked Tofu recipe from Vive Vegan on my mind for a long time. And since I already had everything else the recipe called for, I knew it would be a snap to make. And it was! Provided you have a food processor, of course. Basically, chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce made of parsley, vinegar, onions, garlic, and oil. Kind of like a parsley pesto, but without any nuts. As per the recipe's suggestion, I made the sauce a day in advance of using it to allow the flavors to meld. Then I baked some tofu, putting the sauce on it about halfway through the baking time. Then I served it with some sautéed petite green beans. It was awesome!

So although sautéed green beans weren't the most authentic accompaniment to this Argentinian-style tofu, it sure was delicious! The recipe uses an entire package of tofu (cut into eight sections), so once the green beans were gone, I served the last of the tofu with my Confetti Rice Salad.

My Confetti Rice Salad makes a refreshing side dish. It's basically a mix of fresh chopped veggies, beans, and cooked rice in a very light vinaigrette. I see these sort of salads around here often at dinners and potlucks. Usually though, they're done up Midwestern style with lots of heavy oil dressing and cubes of Velveeta (ick. I know right? Even before I gave up dairy, I wouldn't touch Velveeta. That stuff shouldn't count as food!). But anyway, like I said, this recipe is light and refreshing and is awesome with quinoa instead of the rice (just use the same amount of the dry grain, and cook according to directions on the package. This also makes the recipe come together a lot quicker). You can also leave out the beans and add avocado (1/2 of a ripe one, cubed), or leave both in and eat it as a main dish.

Confetti Rice Salad:
1/2 c. dry brown basmati rice or quinoa, cooked according to package directions
2/3 c. frozen corn, thawed, and squeezed to get excess water out
1/2 c. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 a red bell pepper, diced
1/2 an English cucumber, diced
1 Roma tomato, chopped
1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
1/4 c. Pickled Red Onions from Vive Vegan or regular green or red onions, chopped
1/2 Tb. oil (I used walnut, my fave)
1/2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. After the rice/quinoa has completely cooked, drain it if necessary, and set it aside so it can cool.

2. Once the grain has cooled, toss it with the corn, black beans, bell pepper, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, and onions. Drizzle it with the oil and vinegar, and the chili powder, cumin, and salt, and toss everything until the salad is well-combined.

3. Serve it as a side dish, with a little bit of squeezed fresh lime. Enjoy!

Actually, I've been cooking out of quite a few of my vegan cookbooks. I finally have the time to make recipes that require more of my attention now that I've graduated and switched to days. Among the books I've been cooking from (other than Vive Vegan) are 30 Minute Vegan's Taste of the East, Blissful Bites, and Vegan With a Vengeance (an oldie but a goodie!). Stay tuned!


Bianca said...

I have this book, but I really need to use it more! And I had no idea there was a difference between curly and flat-leafed parsley! I've used both and never noticed a difference in taste ... but my palette is so not sophisticated. :-)

sara said...

i love that chimichurri sauce. i bet it was awesome with the green beans. salad looks good, too!

Jess of Midwest Vegan said...

Lol. I don't know. Maybe it's me. :)

I want to make the Quick Red Posole soon, but I'm old-school and have a bag of dried blue corn posole to use instead. So I guess it'll wind up being Not-Quick Red Posole!

And yes, that chimichurri sauce was really good with the green beans! They were meant to be together! Lol. I bet that sauce would be good on roasted veggies as well. They kinda work together. :)

foodfeud said...

Looks great. I got VV when it first came out and have not made a single thing! That will change! Very colorful salad, too.