Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Third Time's the Charm (VEGAN MOFO: DAY 17)

Two Thursdays ago, my office ordered lunch takeout from a Downtown Pittsburgh restaurant called Six Penn Kitchen, where they had a BBQ Tofu Salad listed on their online menu, although I later learned it actually wasn't on the menu anymore.  I ordered it, and they made it for me despite their outdated online menu. 
It was tofu, probably baked with a BBQ sauce, some fried onions, a bed of raw spinach, and some mushrooms.  At first bite, I thought it was kind of boring.  But it grew on me with each successive bite.  The spinach really had nothing on it, but when you cut up the tofu and onions, the bit of oil and spices on them got on everything, and it really wasn't half bad.  Actually, it inspired me.  I figured, hey, I could make this, it's really simple and low-calorie.

Recently, I made this BBQ popcorn from Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food, and I thought that the spice and sugar mix for that popcorn would probably make a suitable dry rub for the tofu.  I pressed the tofu and covered them with the rub, then put them into my cast iron skillet and into the broiler for about 10 minutes, flipped them, then 10 minutes more.  There was no oil on them, but then I also fried up some onions, where I used some spray oil--not too much.
Once again, a bit plain, but I would like it better every bite I took.  Not quite as good as Six Penn's version, but I wasn't dissatisfied with it.

Then I got Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton from the library, and I saw her simple recipe for Sunflower BBQ Tofu, and thought I'd make another carton of tofu with that recipe.  I'm not really sure what sunflower butter is, so I used one of her alternatives listed, tahini.  The recipe also had oil, which I cut in half.  Then I made the Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, or "Caulipots" from Appetite for Reduction to add to this mix and make it a little more exciting.  Never one to feel limited to using just ONE listed recipe variation, I added both garlic with spices AND some nutritional yeast. 
Oh yeah, NOW we're talking!  This is a meal!  Caulipots, a bed of spinach, a couple raw mushrooms, some BBQ tofu, and fried onion.  It looks all organized in the above picture, but ultimately, I cut it all up and mashed it all together and mmmmmmmm.  Really great, and still very healthy!  I could eat this a few times a week and be happy.  But mostly, I'm just proud that I took an idea from a restaurant and made it way, way better.  Way to rule, me.  ::pats self on back::


  1. Oooh, I love the feeling of trumping a restaurant. :) That's a really good-looking meal - it's been forever since I've taken the time to marinate and cook tofu in something beyond soy sauce. This looks super homey and comfort food-y!

  2. Maybe you could offer the restaurant a few pointers and a recipe! I think I may have to get a copy of Dreena's book — I keep hearing such good things about it.

    1. Actually, I kinda had a fight (not really a fight) with this restaurant about their selling of endangered fish, so I'm not sure they want to hear from me. Plus, they're corporate-owned. But, in general, I OFTEN eat the Downtown restaurants' crappy vegan options and want to go to them and be like, "HELLO?? Do you know how easy this is to make delicious?" I get kinda pissed about it. They are really not putting any effort in to make the food good. I mean, if I had a restaurant, I'd be embarrassed if there was anything bad on the menu -- why aren't they?


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