Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Maple and balsamic roast vegetables and tofu

With the weather cooling down, I'm suddenly enjoying using my oven. Over summer, it tended to heat the kitchen to horribly hot levels, making me too warm to enjoy whatever I was making. Now, it's a welcome source of heat. Before long, I'll probably be putting it on before strictly necessary, swinging as I do from running hot to running cold in a matter of weeks. Mr Bite doesn't understand how I can have such poor temperature regulation, and frankly neither do I.


Moving on from temperature related matters, though, today is not so much about my oven as about this recent meal to come out of it: a variation of Maple Roasted Vegetables and Tofu from Vegan Dad. I've had this recipe bookmarked since before Christmas and it's rather nice to have finally got to it (especially as there are many more bookmarked recipes that are still waiting their turn!).

My version was modified to the ingredients I had to hand, and to a certain extent to my tastes, but it retains the spirit of the original recipe and credit most go there for the inspiration.

Maple and balsamic roast vegetables and tofu
Serves 4


Ingredients
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 pack (~350g) firm tofu, pressed and sliced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 medium white potatoes, diced
1 yellow onion, cut into slices
2 orange carrots, cut into chunks
2 purple carrots (of course :-) ), cut into chunks
1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, divided (1/8 cup + 1/8 cup)
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided (1/4 cup + 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method
Place the pressed tofu in 1/8 cup of the balsamic vinegar and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and leave to marinate for at least an hour.

When the tofu has marinated, mix the remaining balsamic vinegar and maple syrup together with the oil, water, basil and oregano. Preheat the oven to 220'C.

Place the marinated tofu and all vegetables in a large oven-proof baking dish. Add the balsamic / maple syrup mixture and pour over the other ingredients. Toss to coat.

Roast for 70 minutes, or until all vegetables are cooked, stirring at 30, 45 and 60 minutes.



I found it amusing how different this looked when photographed after cooking (in my kitchen's poor lighting, a constant challenge with evening meals; above) and the following day as leftovers (in natural light; below). No amount of editing was going to make these photos look the same!


Photos aside, I was glad I'd kept this dish in my To Make list, because I really loved it. The maple syrup, balsamic and herbs all came through as distinct flavours, but mixed together in a way that gave sweetness as well as depth. The contrast in textures from the tofu, vegetables and chickpeas was also enjoyable and it was one of those dishes I could happily have eaten for lunch and dinner on the same day.

You could, of course, also make this with different vegetables (pumpkin and beetroot come to mind) and with meat instead of tofu. I'm already looking forward to making it again, but think I may be too attached to this version to modify it much.

What have you enjoyed from your oven recently? And are you usually an oven cooker, or more a stove top person? I'm slightly biased towards the latter...

26 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So do I, now! I am a new convert to balsamic!

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  2. We're such oven people, and always get a little stumped for food ideas when the weather turns too hot to bake. We love roasted veggies, like cauliflower, or radishes, or brussels sprouts, and of course potatoes. The other thing I love about having dinner from the oven is that it's a good excuse to bake sweet things!

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    1. That is very true :) It works well on weekends when I can bake sweet things in the afternoon and then go straight on to dinner!

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  3. Lighting is the bane of my life at the moment, it never seems to be right! Both photos look delicious though :)

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    1. Thank you Sarah! And I'm glad I'm not the only one to struggle with lighting :P

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  4. What a lovely recipe. Those roast vegetables with the chick peas look delicious. I didn't have any trouble using my oven in Sydney this summer as it wasn't hot at all but I heard the weather in Perth was very warm. I love the hot days where my husband cooks on the BBQ and I'm in the kitchen putting together a salad because it's too hot to start up the oven. Maybe next year! xx

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    1. I have fond childhood memories of those summer BBQs where my Dad cooked and Mum just made a salad - I'm sorry you missed out on the chance this summer. Next summer let's hope Australia shares the heat around!

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  5. I love anything roasted and anything with maple syrup so this is right up my alley - love it when the weather turns cold and it is such a pleasure to have the oven on - however I need to push myself to get organised to roast stuff - esp as our oven takes forever

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    1. Mine does too, believe me. Especially to get to 200'C - I don't understand how it can possibly take as long as it does! At least this recipe uses it for a while, I get frustrated when I have to reheat it for something with 15 minutes cooking time!

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  6. This sounds great, I might have to give it a try when I stock up on maple syrup! I'm not sure that I have a preference of oven vs stove cooking as both methods can produce such a variety of meals. Even though warm weather is more appealing to me, I do miss eating hearty oven baked meals and roasted veg over summer.

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    1. You are probably more balanced than me...I might give more oven roasted meals a go this winter. This one might have shown me the appeal!

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  7. I have never roasted chickpeas, what a great idea! I just cleaned the oven on the weekend so I'm all set for some baking!

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    1. Oh gosh, you cleaned it? Now I'm worrying about the fact that I never clean mine :P I'm sure your beautiful oven would appreciate some roast chickpeas - they are so easy and really quite delicious!

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  8. I love roasting veggies in maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and either dijon or wholegrain mustard (with rosemary as the fresh herb of choice), and considering how much I love tofu AND how much I abhor and feel the cold....

    Pretty much what I'm saying is that this post/recipe is a yes.

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    1. Mustard! That would go so well with this. I have another thing to make a mental note about you being an expert on - chocolate and smoothies and truffle balls and raw vegetables and roasted things ;) Who knew?!

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  9. These veges sound fabulous - I adore roast veges, and in Melbourne it is definitely roast vege weather right now.

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    Replies
    1. They do suit rain, roast vegetables! They taste so different to other cooking methods too - it's a nice way to add variety.

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  10. This looks fabulous!
    Don't you just hate evening lighting!?! It is the worst. Doesn't the light know that we are food bloggers and it should just behave. ;)

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    1. Oh, I know! It's ridiculous ;)

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  11. I'm both and this dish looks amazing!

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