Pestoed Lentils with Roasted Tofu 

In shopping adventures with a new friend last week, I managed to score a massive (1 kilo) bag of French lentils for $1.49. Of course I have been craving them ever since.

I’ve also been craving brighter flavours but am still unwilling to tread into cold salad territory with it being below zero in the ‘hood and the furnace of this kooky old house working over time. As such, I looked to trusty old France for inspiration and came up with this recipe.

WARNING: This recipe requires some advance prep-work for tofu-marinating. Start a good an hour in advance, or the day before.

This recipe makes two HEAPING servings or three lighter ones.

What you need: 

  • 1 pkg (350 g) of extra-firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup of dry, white vermouth
  • 1/4 cup extra olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1.5 cups of dried French or Puy lentils
  • 2 red peppers, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups of spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of pesto

What you do:

  1. Press your tofu. I use this really high-end tech for mine:
  2. Stir together the vermouth, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and garlic to make the tofu marinade.
  3. After the tofu has been pressed for a good half hour, slice it down it’s width, then into “fingers” that are about 2 inches long and 1/2 an inch wide. Revel in the notion of vegan fingers for about 2 minutes and move on.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, toss the tofu with the marinade and refrigerate it for at least half an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 400.
  6. Get your lentils cooking by your normal/favourite means. I used the pressure cooker robot for the first time for these and they came out a little overcooked. Another post for another time. I also added a couple of chopped garlic cloves, some mace and a little salt to the mixture for flavour.
  7. Lay tofu out on a parchment-lined baking sheet in one layer.
  8. Toss the veg in the remaining marinade from the tofu plus a little more oil to coat.
  9. Put the veg on another baking sheet, in a single layer.
  10. Roast the veg and the tofu on the middle oven rack for 30 minutes, turning both tofu and veg halfway through.
  11. Once the lentils are al dente, drain (if necessary) and stir in the pesto.
  12. To serve, place a portion of lentils in each bowl, then top with some veg and top the veg with some tofu fingers.

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