Thursday, January 3, 2019

Tofu Pizzaiola

At a glance the name of this recipe, “Tofu Pizzaiola” (page 286), gives you the impression it’s going to be some sort of tofu pizza. But in reality, the word pizzaiola describes a sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and oregano. These are definitely ingredients found in pizza sauce, so my initial impression probably wasn’t too far off. This recipe calls for canned diced tomatoes, and oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes. I prefer to use the oil-free sun-dried tomatoes that come in a resealable pouch. They are soft like raisins, already cut in julienne strips, and contain no oil at all. Added capers and olives provide a bright burst of flavor and round out this rich and delicious sauce.

The second part of this recipe consists of preparing the tofu. The instructions say to brown the tofu in heated oil in a large skillet. While it is very easy to dry-fry tofu in a good quality nonstick skillet, using no oil at all, you won’t get as much browning as you do when cooking in oil. I have no problem with that, and is typically how I would have worked around this. But recently I’ve added an air fryer to my kitchen collection, and it was easy to “fry” the tofu strips in this handy appliance, achieving both crispy and browned tofu strips, without using oil.

The pizzaiola is served over the prepared tofu, and I was more than pleased with the flavors and textures. I only wish I’d doubled the recipe, it was that good, and the small portion of leftovers even better. There is something about flavorful tomato based sauces that improve overnight, and this was certainly the case here.  

Keeping it “McDougall Friendly” check list:
  • Use oil-free sun-dried tomatoes instead to those packed in oil. Alternately, you can try rinsing the excess oil off the oil-packed variety before adding to the sauce.
  • Omit the oil when browning the tofu. Use a high quality nonstick skillet and “dry-fry” instead, or, if you have an air fryer, try “frying” the strips using this method.