Cheesy Tofu 'Burger' Pasta
with lettuce, tomato, and onion salad
We had a lot of fun creating this deconstructed vegetarian 'cheeseburger', right down to the classic cheeseburger toppings that we transformed into a side salad. Pickle relish might sound like a strange thing to add to the pasta, but it adds a sweet-tart flavor that is delicious as well as on-theme (feel free to skip it if you don’t have pickle relish).
Smarts: This is a one pan pasta dish where the pasta cooks right inside the sauce. Cooking times may vary, so just keep an eye on your pasta and check it frequently as it cooks.
- Tofu, extra-firm - 16 oz , crumbled (vacuum-packed preferable)
- Shallots - 2 cloves , diced
- Garlic - 2 cloves , diced
- Cheese, cheddar - 4 oz , shredded (for best results, do not buy pre-shredded)
- Oil, cooking - 1 Tbsp
- Flour, all-purpose - 2 tsp
- Paprika - 1 tsp
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
- Stock, vegetable - 3 cups
- Tomato puree or sauce (8 oz / 227 g) - 1 can
- Pasta, medium shells - 8 oz (sub any pasta shape)
- Pickle relish (opt) - 1 Tbsp
- Onions, red and medium - 1/4 , very thinly sliced
- Vinegar, white wine - 1 Tbsp
- Lemon juice - 2 tsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
- Honey - 1/2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 3 Tbsp
- Lettuce, romaine - 1 heart , torn or chopped
- Tomatoes, medium - 1 , halved and sliced
Shallots / Garlic / Onions - Prep as directed. Combine shallots and garlic. Store onions separately. (Note: The onions will be served raw in the salad. If you’d like to take a little of the bite out of them you can soak them in cool water in the fridge until ready to use.) (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Make vinaigrette - Whisk together vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, and honey. Add olive oil while whisking. Season with some salt and pepper. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
Cheese - Shred cheese. (Can be done up to 2 days ahead)
Lettuce / Tomatoes - Prep as directed.
Crumble tofu - Use your hands or two forks to crumble the tofu into bite-sized pieces.
Heat a large saute pan (use one with a lid) with cooking oil over medium heat. Add tofu, shallots, and garlic and saute until tofu is golden and crisp on the outside, 4 to 6 minutes.
Stir flour, paprika, salt, and black pepper into tofu until no dry spots remain.
Pour stock and tomato sauce into the pan. Bring to a simmer. When liquids begin to simmer, stir in pasta, scraping up anything that is stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cover pan with a lid and let the pasta cook until tender. Give the pasta a stir every couple of minutes, especially towards the end of cooking when more of the liquids have cooked off, replacing the lid each time. (Note: Check the package directions on the pasta for recommended cooking time, though the pasta may need a couple of extra minutes since it is not submerged in water.)
When the pasta is tender, remove the pan from heat and add the shredded cheese in several additions, stirring well each time. Stir in relish.
Toss lettuce, tomatoes, and onions in vinaigrette until dressed to your liking.
Serve pasta with salad on the side. Enjoy!