You are about to get a personal favourite of mine. I’m a big fan of a great pesto dish. I didn’t grow up with these kinds of dishes due to me and my family coming from Cameroon, West Africa. Dishes from home consisted of a lot of oil and soup/spinach based dishes/ meat/fish stews and a lot of plantain and yams! Then I remember one time eating out for a friend’s birthday at the age of 12/13, the age where you start venturing out of your parents home cooking, and I fell in love with this one chorizo and pesto pasta dish. From then on I never looked back, every opportunity I had I would always go for an Italian based dish with pesto in. Which is ironic as I’m not much of a cheese lover (which is always a head turner when I mention it), as you know a traditional Italian pesto requires the ingredient cheese. BUT the basil/ garlic and pine nuts make it very forgiven.
So after making the active decision to transition into a vegan one of my first thoughts where, but what about pesto though?! I stumbled onto a recipe when researching the different ways to use tofu and I almost cried, it was labelled “Vegan Tofu Pesto Pasta.” This graceful stumble ticked a dozen boxes. Basically the Tofu in this vegan pesto mix replaces the cheese! Most of the other ingredients stay the same so we aren’t reinventing the wheel here.
LESSON TIME: Perks of Tofu
- Tofu is an excellent source of protein all the while being very low in fat (almost no fat in fact). This is basically the ‘chicken’ or ‘turkey’ equivalent for vegans and vegetarians.
- Contains all eight essential amino acids: which in lame mans terms means it has all the essential building blocks for a balance diet in one place. Which is very hard to find in other vegetables/nut/ beans/ seeds and pulse.
- Good source of calcium and iron (essential you have enough iron to absorb the calcium otherwise having all the calcium will probably turn into fat!)
So to summarise, Tofu is food gold.
Tofu is not highly processed if you get it from the right place. If you get it from your local Chinese/ Vietnamese/ Asian supermarket and you read the ingredient list it will state that is has water, soybean and some form of stabiliser (that holds it in place) which commonly is magnesium then you are good to go! It’s usually the chain supermarket tofu that will be highly processed and full of salt and preservatives to extend the shelf life.
- Tofu, soft, 320g
- Whole wheat Spaghetti, 150g
- 1 Carrot
- Okra, 7 pods
- Basil, 30 grams
- Spring onion 30g
- Water, 200 mL
- Rapeseed Oil, 1 tbsp
- Olive oil, 1 Tbsp
- Himalayan Pink Salt, 0.25 tsp
- mixed dry herb, 2 tsp
- Boil hot water, place pasta in to cook. Keep an eye on the pasta and keep mixing every so often.
- Blend the Tofu, basil and Olive oil, 200ml of water in the blender until smooth consistency. Put into the fridge to rest until needed.
3. Fine chop up the Okra, carrot, spring onion and red chilli peppers.
4. Place 1 rapeseed oil in a pan and pan fry all the vegetables until cooked 5-8 minutes.
5. Drain the pasta and add into the vegetable mix. Take out the Tofu pesto from the fridge and also add to the pot.
- Mix everything In the pan for a further 3-5 minutes on a medium heat.
- Remove, leave to cool and serve.
- Add a bit more chillies and spring onion and chillies on top of dish for garnish (optional)
Serving size of 2.
- High in protein with 21.5g of protein per serving
- Low in fat with no cholesterol and low saturated fats! – Waist line slimmer.
- Low calorie dense dish
Hope you enjoy making and eating this dish as much as I do.