Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast!  »

More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.

Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!

A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Roma tomatoes
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)

vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Tomato sauce
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.

Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.

After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.

Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.

With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!


Vegan MoFo PLUS: Tofu Xpress makes amazing antipasto!  »

The cool dudes over at Tofu Xpress were kind enough to send over a unit for review, and I was so pumped about using the nifty gadget that I decided to incorporate it into my Vegan MoFo recipe. Talk about slicing two carrots with one knife!
The Tofu Xpress is a fully dishwasher-safe, easy-to-use, gourmet kitchen tool. Though it was created to remove moisture from a traditional block of tofu, it can be used for other foods that need pressing as well. To use, place a block of firm or extra-firm tofu into the container, attach and lock the lid, and let it do its job. Most of the water will be gone after an hour or so, but you can leave the Tofu Xpress in the fridge overnight, or however long you’d like.

Once pressed, tofu becomes easier to grill, marinate, stir fry and bake and results in richer flavors and increased versatility. After food prep, the machine is easy to clean and store, with only two, corrosion-resistent parts. Miraculous! After searching for some relatively simple pressed-tofu recipes, I was thrilled to find the perfect project: Marinated Tofu Cheese.

After pressing a block of extra-firm tofu for 48 hours (I wanted to be sure!), I chopped it into small blocks and tossed it with sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives, fresh basil and rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. After making sure it was well combined, I packed the whole mixture into a Mason jar, topped it up with more olive oil, and let it sit in my fridge—patiently—for almost four days to soak up all the goodness.

Today, I picked up an Italian loaf at a local market and packed it, along with about half of my ready-to-devour mixture, and headed into work. After tasting the antipasto goodness myself, and gathering feedback from my foodie coworkers, the consensus is that my first Tofu Xpress experience was indeed a GREAT success!
Next time I’ll add a few whole cloves of garlic to the marinade, but aside from that it was truly delicious and rich. One of my coworkers said she’d even love to serve it at a party! Win! Can’t WAIT to try another recipe!

[Tofu Xpress image via Rollin’ Oats Market]

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