Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vegan Mofo #8 - Mark’s Mediterranean Pistachio-Crusted Tofu & Saffron Quinoa Pilaf ...

Vegan Mofo #8 - Mark’s Mediterranean Pistachio-Crusted Tofu & Saffron Quinoa Pilaf 

The Region - The Mediterranean
The Book -The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe
The Author - Mark Reinfeld
The Recipe - Mediterranean Pistachio-Crusted Tofu & Saffron Quinoa Pilaf
Page # 229-231
Difficulty - Easy
Duration - Roughly 45 minutes

This is another fusion-style recipe but it was just so good I needed to share it. I’ve actually been dying to make this recipe ever since I got Mark Reinfeld’s “30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe” but I never seem to get around to it, or I never have the ingredients, or it’s never the right time. It also doesn’t help that my husband hates nuts, so it’s never a recipe I’m able to squeeze into the repertoire. But Mofo is all about trying new things, branching out, and new experiences so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make this dish, fusion or not.

Close up of the tofu, sorry for the blur-factor 

Apparently Mark Reinfeld won’s “Recipe fo the Year” award in 2011with this dish, and after trying it myself I have no trouble in seeing why. This dish is bursting with unique Mediterranean flavor, and whilst it was cooking it filled my kitchen with the most mouth-watering scents. This may not exactly be ‘traditional’ Greek-food, but my kitchen certainly smelled like a Greek restaurant. I mean I was instantly transported back in time to every Greek establishment I’ve ever eaten in, and every Greek take-out box I ever ate out of growing up. Delicious, delicious, delicious - no lie.

Now, there are several steps to this dish. Not only do you have to make the Pistachio encrusted tofu, but you also have to make the marinated Mediterranean vegetables and for the full effect a batch of Saffron Quinoa Pilaf. I highly recommend going all out and making the full meal here, because it’s so worth it, even if it takes a little longer then the 30 minutes it’s suppose to. Even despite all the steps you need to take this dish comes together relatively easily, so you don’t feel too overwhelmed. My only complaint - and this is a complaint with the entire book in general - is that some of the instructions are not very specific. The recipe for example doesn’t say whether or no the tofu should be pressed, and so I pressed it just because. I recommend this. After pressing the tofu you slice it into four cutlets, and marinate it in a mix of soy sauce, olive oil, and water. I marinated it for longer then specified. Since it doesn’t take long to bake I decided to let the tofu marinate while I was chopping up everything else. I think this was a good idea and would recommend doing the same.

Once your tofu has marinated you bake it for 10 minutes. Then you slather it in a mixture of tahini, soy sauce, and lemon juice. Then press on the crust which is made of toasted pistachios, parsley, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and bake it until golden.

Close up of the marinated veggies

Meanwhile you make the marinated vegetables which is just a nice cold salad of artichoke, tomato, arugula, kalamata olives, green onions, fennel, capers, basil, oregano, thyme, lemon zest and a simple oil vinegar dressing, with salt, pepper and garlic. Since I didn’t have fennel I just used thinly sliced red onion and it worked out beautifully.

Close up of the Saffron Quinoa Pilaf 

Next you make your Quinoa Pilaf which is super easy and yet super delicious. All it is, is quinoa, vegetable stock, saffron threads, salt, green onions, lemon juice, lemon zest, and parsley.  Super simple and yet amazing.

I love how all these different flavors and textures work together. You get the bitter tahini, on soft tofu and the crunch and pizzaz of toasted pistachios. Mix that with cool, oil and vinegar raw veggies, and creamy, lemony, delicately spiced quinoa. It’s a match made by the best kind of kitchen magic, and I urge you to make this recipe. If you don’t have the book, I can tell you everything I’ve made from it thus far has been a total winner.


  1. Yum, I love the look of this, especially the pistachio crust!

  2. Mmmmm.... looks incredible! My brother and his fiancee gave me this cookbook as a gift last year. I've barely scratched the surface of it, but your post is reminding me that it's filled with out-of-the-box ideas.

  3. Mandee - The Pistachio Crust is delicious!

    Tinajoan - I know, I kind of forgot all about this cook book in my collection until Mofo came around, and now i'm amazed at the wealth of delicious recipes and cool ideas, I only wish i'd started cooking from this book sooner!!