I love my tofu – believe it or not in one day in age I used to be vegetarian! I used to eat a lot more of it than I do now, but I miss it and thus come up with crazy recipes like this one 😉 I also LOVE cooking for my family, and both of my parents are vegetarian. Thus, I am always trying to think up new, vegetarian recipes to serve them. This idea came about after I made traditional Chicken Parmigiana for my husband one day. I realized that firm tofu would probably provide the same, meaty texture that chicken gives in the dish, and it really does! My husband actually loves this tofu version and was surprised at how similar the tofu feels to chicken.
My suggestions in preparing the dish are the following:
-Don’t skimp on the tomato/marinara sauce – the baked tofu ends up being a little on the dry side and the sauce is SO necessary to get that creaminess that most people enjoy.
-Watch your tofu as it bakes in the oven – depending on how you slice it, the cooking time can vary based on thickness of your slices
-This does not work very well with anything softer than firm tofu, so don’t experiment with that!
-Ricotta cheese can be substituted instead of the mascarpone for an equally delicious dish
-If you are a vegetable monkey :), feel free to add things like baby spinach, carrots, zucchini to the tomato sauce for an even healthier dish! Since baking time is only 20 minutes, feel free to give them a quick saute in olive oil before you add them to the baking dish.
I am sure you and your family will love it as much as mine does. Try it out!
PS – for the first time ever, I have taken lots of pictures of the cooking process to hopefully make things easier for you. Please do let me know in the comments section if you prefer photo-heavy recipes or what I have been doing earlier.
Yields: 2-3 servings (this is perfect for date night!)
For the baked tofu component:
1/2 cup bread crumbs
5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon tarragon
1 tablespoon basil
2 tablespoons Kosher salt, divided
2 tablespoons black pepper, divided
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
For the rest of the recipe:
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce (you can use pasta sauce/marinara sauce)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
5-6 heaping tablespoons of mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
Kosher salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take tofu out of package and dry with paper towels. Place in ziploc bag and into freezer for half an hour (this allows it to firm up even more for even breading).
Meanwhile, prepare your breading station with three different plates with some depth.
Plate 1: all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon black pepper
Plate 2: 2 eggs lightly beaten
Plate 3: combine the following ingredients with a fork: bread crumbs, paprika, tarragon, basil, cheese, 1 tablespoon Kosher salt, 1 tablespoon pepper
Slice tofu block into 2 thick slices (if you prefer thinner slices and want to make 3 or 4 slices out of the block, that’s fine! Just remember they will get crispy in the oven quickly so adjust the baking time).
One at a time, press tofu slices into the flour, turning to coat all sides. Then press into the egg mixture, turning to coat all sides. Lastly, press into the crumb mixture, turning to coat all sides.
Arrange dredged tofu slices onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet (be sure to spray the parchment paper with cooking spray to avoid any sticking!). Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until browned. Remove and set aside.
Turn up heat on the oven to 400 degrees F.
Meanwhile, combine tomato sauce, basil, garlic.
Place a thin layer of this sauce in an 8 inch baking pan.
Top with mascarpone cheese.
Arrange tofu slices in the pan on top of sauce and mascarpone.
Spoon remaining sauce over tofu. Top with shredded mozzarella and remaining 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan.
Once oven has reached 400 degrees F (205 degrees C), bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbling. If you want a little browning on your cheese topping, at the end broil for 5-7 minutes!
Cut square servings of this ‘tofu parmesan pie’ and enjoy hot!