Balsamic Tofu Caprese
1 large tomato, or 4 small vine tomatoes
1/2 cup firm tofu (cut in cubes)
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic
6 Kalmata olives
pine nuts, (or sunflower seeds) 2-3 tablespoons
2 medium sized basil leaves
1 sprig parsley
I grew up in a Sicilian house, so there is a lot of great food and culture I gave up when I decided to go vegan. This is a recipe I love because it really tastes just like a real thing! Here is my best Balsamic Tofu Caprese:
There are two preparations for this recipe, one is a fancy appetizer verson (like a traditional Caprese) I came up with for fun, the other is a practical salad version you can eat out of a bowl, which is the one I usually make.
Salad Bowl Version:
Take whatever bowl you are going to make your salad in and put a little balsamic vinegar at the bottom. Chop up your clove of garlic finely and throw it in the vinegar.
Next cut your tofu into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes. Tofu will be acting as mozzarella in this Caprese. You'll want cold fresh tofu, preferably, not something you already opened so that it will be soft, bland, and watery like real mozzarella cheese. Toss those cubes into the garlic vinegar mixture and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper over the top.
Now we cut the tomato! It doesn't matter what kind you use, just make sure they are in a small bite sized, cube form. Dump them into the bowl, then drizzle with a little olive oil, balsamic and salt and pepper to layer in some more flavor. (Don't be overly shy with the balsamic, it is a very sweet vinegar that the bland tofu with soak up, getting rid of some of it's blandness.)
Next cut your Kalmata Olives and Almonds in half and toss those in. Cut your two Basil Leaves into small strips and chop up that parsley and throw it in too. Toss a handful of Sunflower Seeds, or Pine Nuts over the top. Drizzle again with a little Balsamic and Olive Oil. Sprinkle in a little more salt and Pepper, toss and serve.
Traditional Caprese (Fancy Version):
This version is fun if you have a little more time on your hands, or someone to impress. The first time I made this for my grandma, who is Sicilian, she couldn't tell the difference between the tofu and mozzarella cheese! It's important to layer the flavors, and not be shy with the balsamic, otherwise this dish can get a little bland.
Take a small serving dish and put a little balsamic vinegar at the bottom.
Take one large tomato, and slice it into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
Take a block of tofu and slice it as thinly as the tomato, making sure it is similar in diameter (your going to be stacking them together, and you don't want it to be lopsided).
Take a slice of tomato, and put it in the dish. Salt it, pepper it, and lay a basil leaf on top and drizzle with olive oil.
Then take a slice of tofu and stack it on the basil leaf. Drizzle it with balsamic, salt it, pepper it, and baste it with a pinch of chopped garlic. Layer another tomato on top and repeat the pattern.
(Tomato, Salt, Pepper, Basil, Olive Oil. Tofu, Balsamic, Salt, Pepper, Garlic.)
Once you have about a 3 inch stack, drizzle it with balsamic and olive oil. Chop almonds and olives in half and throw over the top along with a handful of sunflower seeds/pine nuts and chopped parsley. Enjoy!
It works best to eat this with a knife and fork, kind of like a cake.