I, on the other hand, am less of a connoisseur when it comes to whipping those soybeans into something that even closely resembles food. I'm great if we're just blending up some silken tofu and adding it to a dessert, but usually, the fanciest I get when it comes to dinner tofu is again, blending it up and making vegan "egg" salad out of it.
But sometimes, and by sometimes I mean basically the last nine months, you get a serious craving that you can't ignore. Today, was one of those cravings.
My mind was made up, we were going to eat sweet and sour tofu and since this is VeganMofo after all and I owe you lovely readers a crock pot recipe, I decided to knock both these things out at once.
If you're the kind of person that digs tofu all on it's own, you can skip the step where I dredge it in some cornstarch and lightly brown it in a skillet with some butter. I'm just the kind of vegan that can't seem to get down with naked tofu.
Simple Sweet and Sour Tofu
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 head of broccoli
3 bell peppers (I went with red, yellow and green)
1 large onion
3 carrots (I cut them into inch-long strips)
1 can of pineapple chunks (this can be small or large depending on your love of pineapple)
Brown rice (or whatever kind of grain/vessel you'd like to put your sweet and sour tofu on)
Cornstarch (you're going to roll your tofu squares around in this)
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
Sweet and Sour sauce ingredients:
1 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBS ketchup
1/4 cup pineapple juice (you can use the juice from the canned pineapple if you want to get wild and crazy)
4 TBS cornstarch
2 TBS soy sauce
We'll start with the sauce so we can give it some time to thicken. In a small saucepan on medium heat, stir the rice vinegar, ketchup, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Add in the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring the sauce to a low boil and quickly whisk in the cornstarch. Once fully mixed. remove from heat and let it sit.
Next, dice up your broccoli, carrots, onion and bell peppers. Turn your crock pot on low and allow the veggies, pineapple chunks and soy sauce to warm. Now it's time to pay attention to your tofu. Squeeze out the extra water (I use a kitchen towel) and then cut the tofu into smaller squares (your personal preference here). Pour the cornstarch into a small bowl and roll the tofu squares around, allowing a light dusting to cover each side. Set the tofu aside.
In a skillet, melt your butter on medium heat. Toss the cornstarched tofu squares in and let them lightly brown, turning with your spatula only enough to brown each side. Once lightly browned and slightly crisp, toss this into the crock pot. Pour the sweet and sour sauce all over and stir. Cook on high for three hours, stirring occasionally. Next, cook on low for five hours.
You can adjust the cook time as you see fit, this allowed for most of our bell peppers, onion and broccoli to soften, but still left the carrots on the crisper side, which was a nice texture with all the other smooshy stuff.
Serve over your favorite rice, grain or whatever you'd prefer!
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