Roasted Vegetable and Tofu Braid, a low-maintenance vegan Christmas meal.
When I was looking for something low maintenance to make for a leisurely Christmas dinner, I remembered this lovely braid I made several years ago. I didn't have any smoked tofu, so I marinated some plain tofu—it was definitely the hit of the meal.
The braid (braids, actually) would have looked nice gussied up with some garnish, maybe some roasted veggies alongside, but we were too tired and hungry to bother. For sides, we had Wild Rice Dressing with Apples and Pecans, Green Bean Casserole (yes, that green bean casserole) and some braised carrots. And a loaf of homemade bread my husband made in the bread machine, a relic from many Christmases past. Nothing fancy, but satisfying and yummy enough to please picky Daughter Number One and her sibling, who was exhausted from writing college essays all day.
This recipe makes two braids—one was enough for the four of us, so we had leftovers. To make ahead, roast the veggies and tofu the day before and simply roll out the pastry dough on the day.
Here's how to do it:
Roasted Vegetable and Tofu Braid
Feel free to vary the vegetables in the center. Artichokes come to mind, with baby tomatoes and shelled pistachios if you're really wanting a red and green Christmas. You can toast the nuts at the same time as you roast the vegetables. Just pop them in a baking pan and place in the oven alongside the rest, but watch carefully and remove after 5 minutes or so.
8 ounces tofu
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Before slicing tofu, place it in a tea towel and gently squeeze to release the water. Slice tofu into cubes approximately 1/4 - 1/2 inch wide. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over tofu cubes. Let sit for 30 minutes, then place in an oven-proof dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
1 aubergine/eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 courgette/zucchini, cubed
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 - 5 shallots, quartered
mixed herbs: oregano, basil, rosemary, chopped if fresh, or dried
Place vegetables in roasting pan. Pour enough olive oil to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes (at the same time at the tofu). Remove from oven and set aside.
For the braid:
1/4 cup pine nuts, pistachios, or pecans, toasted
2 pieces prepared pastry dough
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons soy milk
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Roll out pastry dough until it's approximately 8 by 12 inches, using flour to keep it from sticking to the surface. Place on baking sheet, leaving room for the other piece.
Cut 1 inch strips from the sides of the dough, 1/3 of the way through toward the center. Layer the vegetables, tofu, and pine nuts in the center of the dough. Alternating sides, bring strips over the top, until all the strips overlap the center of the pastry loaf. Repeat with remaining piece of dough.
Brush with soy milk and sprinkle poppy seeds over the top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes, until the braid just begins to brown. Serve hot.