Happy Valentine’s Day! Although every day can be a day of love, I really enjoy Valentine’s Day for really focusing in on love, and using that focus to find ways to show love. “Tom” and I like to celebrate V Day by planning and preparing a lovely dinner to share. Hearts are almost always involved as well as the colours red, white, pink. This year, we made Shakshuka! Shakshuka originates from North Africa and the Middle East and is a dish of spicy tomato sauce with eggs poached on top. To make this dish vegan, I used tofu in place of the eggs. And to make this dish vegan and Valentine, I cut the tofu into heart shapes!
Many Shakshuka recipes that use tofu in place of eggs just call for cutting the tofu into circles, placing them in the sauce and heating through. For me, this is not giving the tofu enough love! I have used my smoked tofu for the eggs substitute, but this year, I treated my tofu with some extra love. I cut my tofu into hearts, marinated them in a spicy, salty marinade for several hours, then baked the hearts before nestling them into the tomato sauce.
Here’s how I did it:
For the Tofu:
1 block of organic tofu, pressed overnight
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp black salt (Kala Namak)
1 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsps water
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
For the sauce:
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small zucchini, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 tsps smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp + chili flakes
3 fresh tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
a jar of tomato sauce/strained tomatoes (I used about 400 ml)
Cut the pressed block of tofu in half lengthwise. Cut out circles or hearts using a cookie cutter. Mix the marinade ingredients together (from paprika to garlic powder) in a small zip-type freezer bag. Add the tofu to the marinade, gently shake so that the tofu is completely covered, then store the marinating tofu in the fridge for several hours, flipping the bag occasionally. Pour the tofu and remaining marinade onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, flip the tofu, bake for another 15 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, zucchini and red pepper and saute for several minutes. Add in the spices (paprika, cumin, chili flakes) and stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables with the spices. Stir in the diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce, bring to a simmer, then let the sauce barely simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the sauce thicken up.
Place the baked tofu on top of the sauce, then warm through, either on the stovetop or in the oven. Serve in shallow bowls, as is, or sprinkle on some vegan feta cheese and a some diced avocado, with a salad on the side and/or some bread for dipping.