I saw this cool technique for making a veggie burger on Diners Drive-ins and Dives where instead of pressing the tofu before frying it, the chef pressed the tofu right on the grill. I knew I had to try this and the first attempt was making these veggie "meatballs". When you press the tofu right on the grill you save a million paper towels, and you can just sort of leave it there and forget about it. It takes about an hour on a med-low temp and you only have to flip it once. The result is a really nice chewy tofu that adds a great texture to any vegetarian meat replacement. I served these tofu-balls with udon noodles and zucchini tossed in a simple romesco sauce.
Before I started pressing them, I seared them on a high heat for a few minutes a side, just to form a slight crust to help them not fall apart or stick to anything.
Heat to medium low and the heavy cast iron skillet goes on top.
Meanwhile, I prepped the other ingredients for the tofuballs. fried onions and mushrooms go into the mix and they need to be really browned. Brown the onions almost to a full brown, then add the mushrooms and give it another 5-10 minutes.
Mash up some black beans with an egg for the binder.
When the tofu comes off the grill it is nice and chewy and really thin. Chop it up really small.
Finally all the ingredients go into the bowl.
These tofuballs formed no problem, I was worried that they would be all sticky. Just like my normal meatballs, I broiled these about 5 minutes, flip and repeat.
Time to whip up the sauce. Just a simple classic romesco.
Boil the udon and the zucchini strips for a few minutes and toss them into a frying pan with the romesco for another couple minutes. Gently stir in the meatballs and serve! I had 2 out of 12 meatballs break up in the process but it wasn't a bad thing to have that ground meat texture all up in the sauce. I suppose instead you could just leave them in the oven until it is time to eat so they stay warm.
The flavors in this dish are amazing. Mandi and I have been avoiding meat this month(mostly) as a way to kickstart a much less meat intensive diet, and this dish really felt hearty and meaty and satisfied all of our cravings.
1 package firm tofu
1 large onion
about 12 crimini or baby bella mushrooms (one package from most grocery stores)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 can black beans, rinsed and strained
oregano, red pepper flake, salt and pepper, and breadcrumbs
Cut the block of tofu in half the long way. Sear on a hot grill pan or frying pan on both sides. Turn heat to medium low. Place a heavy weight on them and cook 30 minutes. Flip and cook another 30. The tofu should be lightly browned on both sides and very thin and chewy.
Dice the onion and cook in butter or oil for about 25 minutes until very browned. Meanwhile dice the mushrooms. Add them at the 25 minute mark and cook another 10 minutes until everything is very brown. Also meanwhile, strain and rinse the beans and mash them up in a bowl with the egg. Add the browned veggies and the tofu to the bowl, along with the spices, garlic, salt, pepper, and breadcrumbs.
Mix well and form into balls. Broil for 5 minutes, flip and repeat.
2 plum tomatoes
2 red peppers
15 roasted almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup red vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt, pepper, red pepper flake
Broil the tomatoes and peppers until browned. The tomatoes actually will start peeling immediately and don't need to fully brown. Pull them out and finish peeling them and add them to the food processor. Let the peppers finish browning while you add the rest of the stuff to the processor. Peel and deseed the peppers and add them too. Blend until very smooth.
julienne cut some zucchini and get your udon out and bring some water to a boil. Boil the zucchini and udon for about 4 minutes, then add them to a frying pan with your romesco sauce and toss to coat. Add some water from the pot you boiled the noodles in if the sauce seems too tight. Gently stir in the tofuballs and serve.