Sunday, 28 November 2010

Vegan MoFo Day 28: Pesto and Scrambled Tofu

Two firsts for me today - the first time I've made pesto and the first time I've made scrambled tofu. As a vegetarian I loved pesto, so I'm not sure why I haven't attempted to make it since I took to a vegan diet. I suspect that I was harbouring a belief that you really needed parmesan cheese to make a good pesto. When I first made the change to a completely vegetarian diet in the 1960s, food choices when eating out were very limited here in the UK. There were basically two options: cheese salad (comprising a pile of grated cheddar cheese, a couple of leaves of iceberg lettuce, 2 halved tomatoes with perhaps some sliced cucumber and a couple of spring onions, topped with salad cream) or cheese omelette and chips. When I went to college things got even worse and the vegetarian meal on offer in the cafetaria invariably included 2 fried eggs. Being offered 6 fried eggs a day as the only food option meant that after a couple of weeks I never wanted to see another egg again and I put on over 3 stone (50 lbs) in as many months by comfort eating chocolate bars. So after becoming vegan, I couldn't really see the point of eating scrambled tofu when I had never enjoyed scrambled eggs in my pre-vegan days. Today I've proved myself wrong on both counts and I will be making both pesto and scrambled tofu again.

I took Vegan Brunch as my starting point for both recipes. I've had this book about a year and although I've read it like a novel, this is the first time I've used it to cook from. I'm not very good at just sticking to a recipe as printed, so of course I made a few adaptations.

1 clove of garlic, crushed
50g/1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
28g/1 pack of fresh basil leaves
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp light olive oil
1 Tbsp water
1.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Buzz crushed garlic and toasted pinenuts in food processor, add basil leavessalt and olive oil and process until smooth. Add water and nutritional yeast and blend well.

Pesto Tofu Scramble with Mushrooms and Tomatoes 
1-2 Tbsp light olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
175g chestnut mushrooms, halved and finely slliced
250g firm tofu, squeezed and crumbled into large pieces
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp pesto (or more to taste)
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Gently saute spring onions for a couple of minutes. Add tomatoes and saute for a futher 3 minutes. Add crushed garlic and mushrooms and saute for another couple of minutes. Add crumbled tofu, stir well and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in pesto and nutritional yeast and cook for a further 2 minutes until warmed through.  Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, if required. I served mine with steamed broccoli and petits pois. I think it would be really nice with sauteed potatoes or rosti. I really like that pesto, tomato, mushroom combination and the nutritional yeast in both the pesto and scramble made it taste really creamy. This made enough scramble for 2 servings, so I'm really looking forward to breakfast already. the pesto made about 4 servings, so I'll be having pasta with pesto sometime in the next couple of days.                          

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