I love a Blue Plate Special. It reminds me of growing up and the kind of plates my Mom would serve us. Back when I first started this blog over 12 years ago, I posted about my favorite comfort food meal but my ability to create and write recipes (not to mention taking photos of them!) has come a long way. So, here is my updated version. And it includes “The Good Tofu!”
What is a Blue Plate Special you ask? Well, it is a plate of food that includes a protein, a grain or pasta and a vegetable – you know, tofu/tempeh/beans, rice/pasta/quinoa and spinach/broccoli/green beans/cauli – or whatever else you love. Take each of these parts and switch them up with different sides and you have a delicious blue plate special any day of the week.
This plate is all about tofu + mac and cheese + broccoli.
It’s “The Good Tofu” because after I made it a few times my family kept saying, “Oh, you made the good tofu!”
There are a million recipes for vegan mac and cheese. (I have one in each of my books, Wait, That’s Vegan?! and The Vegan ABCs Cookbook) but this is my go to for weekdays. Note, you can make the cheesy sauce ahead of time and freeze it! I like to double the recipe and have some on hand to make cheesy vegetable soups!
And, finally, any vegetable that is tossed with lots of butter and nutritional yeast will get anyone to eat their greens!
I call this the perfect meal!
The Good Tofu & Macaroni and Cheese & Cheesy Broccoli
- 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight unless you have a high powered blender)
- 1 cup water
- 1 roasted red pepper (make your own or use one from a jar)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon mellow white or chickpea miso
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 lb. macaroni
The Good Tofu
- 1 box extra firm tofu, cut into 8 triangles (pressed for at least 10 minutes)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 chickpea flour egg or 3 tablespoons aquafaba* (1 tablespoons chickpea flour + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (if yours are not seasoned, add a little garlic and onion powder to what you have.)
- Sunflower oil, for frying
- 2 crowns broccoli, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter (vegan)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Salt, to taste
Macaroni and Cheese
To make the cheese sauce, add all ingredients into the Vitamix or blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Boil the macaroni and toss with sauce. Be sure it is heated through before serving.
The Good Tofu
Set up a breading station. Cornstarch. Chickpea flour egg or lightly whisked aquafaba. Breadcrumbs.
Dredge the tofu in the cornstarch. Dip into the chickpea flour egg or aquafaba. Then coat with breadcrumbs.
Heat oil in a nonstick or cast iron skillet. Fry the tofu on both sides until browning.
Steam the broccoli. Toss with butter and nutritional yeast. Season with salt.
*Aquafaba is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. It has the same chemical makeup as eggs and works in a similar way. Drain a can and use the chickpeas in a salad. They are one of Mother Nature's most perfect foods, high in protein, fiber and iron. Save the aquafaba in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze in 3 tablespoon increments and defrost when needed.