Cajun-Spiced Tofu with Mustard-Thyme Cream Sauce
with roasted parsnips / balsamic kale salad
Tart Dijon mustard and fresh thyme in a creamy sauce balance the Cajun seasoning of this pan-seared tofu. Serve the tofu with warm roasted parsnips and a sweet-tart kale salad on the side.
Cajun-Spiced Tofu with Mustard-Thyme Cream Sauce:
- Tofu, extra firm - 16 oz , 1/2" / 1.25cm rectangles (vacuum-packed preferable)
- Shallots - 2 cloves , diced
- Cajun seasoning - 1 Tbsp
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Butter - 3 Tbsp
- Flour, all-purpose - 1 Tbsp
- Stock, any type - 3/4 cup
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
- Thyme, fresh - 3 sprigs
- Heavy cream - 1/4 cup
- Parsnips - 1 1/2 lbs , cubed
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
Balsamic Kale Salad with Breadcrumbs and Parmesan:
- Cheese, parmesan - 1 oz , shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or grated
- Kale, curly leaf - 6 oz , stems removed and leaves finely chopped
- Butter - 1 Tbsp
- Panko breadcrumbs - 1/3 cup
- Avocados - 1 , cubed
- Vinegar, balsamic - 1 Tbsp
- Honey - 1 tsp
- Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
- Tofu - If tofu is packaged in water, press out liquid first, like in this video. Then slice into 1/2” / 1.25cm thick rectangles. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Shallots / Cheese / Kale - If prepping before cooking, get the oven heating first. Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Toast breadcrumbs - This step is optional, but will give the breadcrumbs extra flavor. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add butter (the portion for the salad) and then breadcrumbs to melted butter. Cook, stirring constantly until breadcrumbs are golden brown, ~5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Parsnips - Slice parsnips. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
- Avocados - Cube avocados.
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- Heat oven to 500F / 260C.
- Season tofu slices with Cajun seasoning. If your blend does not include salt as an ingredient, add some salt.
- When the oven is heated, spread parsnips out on a sheet pan and cover tightly with foil. Steam parsnips in the oven for 10 minutes to get them started cooking. (Watch this video for tips.)
- While parsnips are steaming, in a large serving or mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. Pile kale on top and toss to coat in dressing. If you’d like, you can use your hands to “massage” the dressing into the kale leaves. This will yield more tender kale leaves (and messy hands!). Set aside.
- Remove parsnips from the oven and discard foil.
- Turn the oven’s heat down to 375F / 191C.
- Toss parsnips with cooking oil (portion for the parsnips) and season with some salt. Return to oven and continue roasting, shaking the pan halfway through cooking, until parsnips are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Heat a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add cooking oil (portion for the tofu) and then tofu to heated oil (do this in batches to prevent crowding the pan). Sear tofu on both sides until golden brown, ~5 minutes on each side. Set tofu aside and return pan to heat.
- To heated pan add butter (portion for the tofu) and shallots. Saute until shallots are soft, ~2 minutes. Stir in flour until no dry spots remain. Add stock and mustard while whisking. Add thyme sprigs. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking until sauce is thick, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add heavy cream to sauce and continue simmering until thick and creamy. Taste and season with some salt, if needed.
- Toss kale salad with avocados and top with cheese and breadcrumbs. Spoon pan sauce over tofu. Enjoy tofu with kale salad and parsnips on the side.