UPDATE! After making the recipe again for actual Thanksgiving I added a few more spices, and sliced the tofu thinner. Updated recipe notes below and here’s a few shots of how this round turned out (and I must say, it was even better! Even a few turkey-eaters liked it!)
As promised, here’s the recipe for our test run of 2013 Vegan Thanksgiving. With this recipe I managed to get that yummy combo of crispy outside, “meaty” inside and cranberry sauce. Who needs turkey? Now let’s be honest. If you’re trying to dazzle a turkey-expecting guest, this might not be the way to go. I’ve never actually had tofurky, and my assumption is that it is horrible (please, someone correct me if I’m wrong). I just don’t know if someone expecting turkey would take to tofu…but to those of us who wouldn’t think of eating turkey on Thanksgiving – this is definitely a terrific main dish. A little sweet, a little salty, a little crunch and a lot of flavor. I can’t wait to make it again in a couple of weeks!
What you’ll need for the tofu:
- 3/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4cup corn flour (I used corn flour to keep this gluten-free, but any flour would do)
- 1/8 cup unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
- 2 TBS corn starch (or tapioca starch)
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 8 oz package of firm tofu
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- dash salt
What you’ll need for the compote:
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 TBS maple syrup
- 1 TBS agave
Start by draining your tofu. Wrap it in towels, and place under a heavy book or two for about 20 minutes. Using a shallow dish or pan (I used a pie plate) whisk together the almond milk, corn starch, and maple syrup.
In a food processor (or kitchen ninja), ground the pumpkin seeds until they become fine ground almost like flour. Add the flour and salt to the pumpkin seeds and put everything in a second shallow dish.
By now your tofu should be drained and you should be ready to assemble. Cut the tofu into triangles, I prefer to cut in half and then slice diagonally, but any method will do. Heck, they probably don’t even have to be triangles. I digress…
Using one hand, place the tofu triangle into the milk mixture first, turn it over and make sure it is coated. Then place in the flour mixture and using your other hand, dredge it through the flour until it is completely covered. Continue like this until all your triangles are covered in both mixtures.
Now, you have the option here to either fry or bake. Because I was trying to keep us somewhat healthy, I opted to bake. If you wanted to fry – simply put enough oil in a skillet to cover half your tofu. When the oil is nice and hot, drop the tofu in on one side for about 3-4 minutes. Then using tongs, flip and let the other side fry. If you’d like to cut down on the grease – baking works just as well.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking pan and spray oil on both sides of your tofu. (Trader Joe’s pray coconut oil worked wonders for this). Bake the tofu for 12 minutes, flip, and bake the other side for 12 minutes. The outsides should be nice and browned. If you would like more brown and crisp, add the broiler at the end of the baking time for a little extra roast.
While the tofu is baking, it’s a great time to make the cranberry compote. Start by pureeing the cranberries in a food processor or kitchen ninja. Add the pureed cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, and agave to a sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and once it’s boiling turn down a bit. It’s really important to continue to stir to keep everything from burning. When the compote has reduced down by about a fourth, remove from heat and let stand.
I served the tofu on top of the compote, but you could also put it on top. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work – but was pleasantly surprised when it did. Paired with squash and stuffing, I didn’t miss turkey one bit – and am looking forward to making it again in a couple weeks.