I am a big fan of Eggplant Parmesan. It is healthy and incredibly delicious. It was likely my favorite Parmesan dish, that is until I ate one of the most amazing sandwiches during a vacation to Colorado this past summer. We ate at a restaurant with several vegetarian selections, including a Tofu Parmesan sandwich. You would never have guessed that the sandwich was made with tofu. In fact, it pretty much tasted like I was eating a Chicken Parmesan sandwich. Ever since then, that sandwich has been on my mind. This past weekend I decided to semi-recreate the recipe. While I knew it would never be AS GOOD as the one that I had at the restaurant, I was eager to attempt to make a healthier version. Minus the cooking catastrophe that occurred during the baking process (more on that later), I was quite satisfied with the results.
Servings: 3-6 (depending on serving size)
EVOO cooking spray
1 16-18 oz block of extra-firm tofu, pressed and dried
3 egg whites, beaten
bread crumbs (Italian seasoned)
1 28 ounce jar of marinara sauce
2-3 TB of chopped onion, dried or fresh
shredded mozzarella cheese, optional
nutritional yeast, optional
parmesan cheese, optional
whole wheat bread, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet and a 9 x 13 baking dish with EVOO cooking spray.
2. Combine bread crumbs, a few sprinkles of garlic powder, and a few sprinkles of onion powder into a shallow dish or plate. I never measure the bread crumbs or seasonings. Rather I just start by coating the plate and add more, as needed.
3. Cut the block of tofu into six equal-sized slices. Bread the tofu by first dipping it into your egg whites, and then coating it with the bread crumb mixture.
4. Place each block of tofu onto the baking sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip, and return to the oven to bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the bread crumb coating begins to get crispy.
Word to the wise: When you are selecting a baking sheet, pick one with edges. As I was removing my tofu from the oven to flip it, half of the tofu pieces slid off of the sheet and into the oven, leaving a horrible, burnt mess to clean up. And let me tell you, cleaning up tofu is NOT easy! After this cooking catastrophe (it happens to the best of us! ), I was still left with three pieces of tofu, and thank goodness for that because I was starving.
5. Pour a small layer of marinara sauce into the bottom of your baking dish. Carefully remove your tofu from the oven for the second time. Place your tofu pieces into the baking dishes. Cover each tofu slice with marinara sauce, a sprinkle of dried basil, and chopped onion. Top each tofu piece with additional marinara sauce and shredded cheese, if desired.
6. Bake, uncovered, for approximately 10 minutes.
7. Top baked Tofu Parmesan with nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese. Serve on whole wheat toast, if desired.
I served my Tofu Parmesan with cooked peas and carrots (two of my favorite veggies!).
Looks like chicken, right?!?
The cooking process may have gone far less smoothly than I had hoped for, but the results were great. Well worth the near melt-down that occurred in the kitchen!