If you haven’t already started cooking with tofu, now is the time to start. Coagulated soy milk curd might not sound like the most appetising meal but if properly prepared tofu is amazing at soaking up flavours and provides a filling alternative if you’re trying to cut back on your meat-eating.

This is not a healthy meal but sometimes a little indulgence is necessary. Drawing loose inspiration from the soul food of the Southern United States, this veggie alternative to fried chicken will fill your stomach and soothe your hangover/Sunday night fear/Monday. I’m also including a basic mac’n’cheese recipe, but if you want to pretend you’re being virtuous you can use the vegan version I posted a few months back!

Serves 4

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the Tofu

  • 400g tofu, drained and cut into nugget-sized pieces
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 3 slices bread, blended to make breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp thyme

For the Mac’n’Cheese

  • 400g macaroni, spirali or similar pasta
  • 250g cheddar cheese
  • 500ml milk
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 slice of bread, blended to make breadcrumbs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c and boil the pasta according to packet instructions.

2. Melt the butter on a low heat and stir in the flour to form a roux. Once it’s combined (careful not to burn it) start adding the milk in gradually, stirring constantly, until you have a thick white bechamel sauce. Add the cheese and season to taste.

3. Stir the pasta and sauce together, top with breadcrumbs and bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

4. For the tofu, mix the flour and paprika on one plate, beat the egg in a bowl, and on another plate combine the breadcrumbs, thyme and garlic.

5. First coat the tofu in flour, then dip in the egg, and finally use the sticky coating to cover the pieces in breadcrumbs.

6. Heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil in a deep frying pan.

7. Fry the tofu for 3-4 minutes per side, adding more oil if necessary. Pat them dry with kitchen paper to remove excess oil.

8. If you’re feeling healthy, sautee a few handfuls of kale or spring greens in a tsp of oil, a tsp of mustard and a squeeze of lemon juice.

9. Enjoy, and while you’re at it, spread the word about your newfound love for meat-free eating and join the university’s Part-Time Carnivore team!

Cormac Cleary

Cormac Cleary

Sustainable Food Assistant at University of Westminster and Aramark
Cormac Cleary

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