Good Karma Collards w/ Baked Tofu

Something about Collard Greens always puts me in the mood for southern cooking…and while soul food and vegan cooking may not be the most intuitive combination, I assure you it can be delicious!  For this dish we will make a tasty, smoky, meaty baked tofu that we add to our equally smoky and also garlicky and a little feisty collard greens.

I will show you how to get a really fool-proof and satisfying flavor and texture from your tofu and I’ll even show you how to shred those collards with a simple technique that will save you tons of time with all your leafies.

Serves 4-6 as a side, or 2 as a main.

 

For the tofu marinade:

Liquid Smoke – 1 tsp

Coffee Grounds (used or fresh) – 1 tsp

Tamari – 1/4 cup

Smoked salt – 1/4 tsp (I used Alder, but applewood any is fine)

Balsamic Vinegar – 1 Tbs

Fresh Oregano, a few leaves

Crushed Red Pepper – 1 tsp

Firm or Extra Firm Tofu – 1 pack

 

For the collards sauté:

Collard Greens, about 10 medium-large leaves

Garlic, at least 4 cloves

1 chopped white onion

Smoked Paprika – 2 tsp, and more to dust

Vegetable Broth – 1/2 cup

Sea Salt – to taste

Lemon – 1/4 peel and the juice of 1/4

Blackstrap Molasses – 1/2 tsp

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – 1 Tbs

Tomato- 1 small to cook and

 

If you aren’t used to cooking with tofu, you should know that pressing the liquid out to make in firmer is an essential step!  Wrap your tofu block in paper towels or a thick dishcloth, and place between two plates with a couple cans on top to drain the liquid out. Do this while preheating your oven to 350 degrees, and mixing your marinade.

In a gallon sized zip-top bag, add the marinade ingredients listed above and shake.

Then, when the tofu has compressed and looks more dense (or has tossed your cans on the floor and taken an new shape!)  then slice the tofu like this:

The smaller the cubes the happier you will be, and the faster is will bake.  These cubes are just under 1/4 inch cubes

Then you’re going to toss the tofu in the marinade bag and let it sit until the oven has reached the temperature you want, turning the bag over every other minute to ensure even coating.

Spread your marinated cubes out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 25 minutes, stirring the cubes to expose different sides to the heat every 8 minutes or so.

Heat up the oil in a sauté pan and add the garlic and onions.  While they cook, take the peel from one lemons and make thin slivers and add that directly into the pan.


Remove any stems that may be sticking out from the collard leaves and roll your collards (all of them at once is fine, or half at a time) into a cigar and cut the collards while tightly rolled up, about 1/3 inch wide.  Once you have them all ribboned, make one chop down the long way through the middle and your collards are chopped perfectly and quickly for sautéing.

Add the collards in with the vegetable broth and cover for 3-5minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir together until the tomatoes look soft.  When the liquids have reduced, add the tofu and remove from heat.  Stir to combine and dust with the smoked paprika.

Serve with rice for a full meal, or alongside something like these Eggplant Cutlets and with a little sriracha and vegan aioli for a truly decadent flavor combo.

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