Hi, my name is Raquel and I am
an alcoholic a vegetarian who doesn’t like tofu.
I feel like whenever I say that people really look at me like I just admitted to disliking puppies or kittens or beer, for that matter. Like, what?! But no really, let’s not pretend like tofu is tasty. At least not in it’s unadulterated form. I don’t know many people (or anyone?) who would voluntarily take the block of tofu out of its nasty preservative-laden watery bath and bite a big chunk off the side. Sound appetizing yet? I didn’t think so.
But! I have found ways to enjoy the stuff, the most important being finding the right tofu. All tofu is not created equal! I’ve found that there is a flavor in the water that really turns me off, and that pressing it usually doesn’t help much. I have, however, experimented with soaking the tofu in fresh water for a while and that seems to help a lot – I’ll share this technique sometime in the future. But today’s technique involves none of that – all you need to do is buy the shrink-wrapped tofu from Trader Joe’s. Done! It’s got decent flavor and is super firm, the best for grilling (in my opinion). If the water-soaked tofu doesn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, that’ll be fine to use, too.
What I’ve done here is taken the block of tofu and sliced it, then marinated it in a paste made from paprika, olive oil, and lemon juice. It grills up nice and crispy on the outside with a great smoky flavor. Then I put it on a plate with some charred grilled romaine hearts and some quick-cook barley & voila! Dinner.
But wait wait wait. I didn’t even tell you about the romaine! I know that I am not the first one to do this. But, we make some variation of it rather often (and a lot of times using cabbage), so I thought I should share my particular version. If you’ve never made or eaten grilled romaine before, get ready to be surprised. I know you’re thinking how can this be good? Grilled lettuce?? But believe me – it’s tasty. It takes on a transformation that will have you craving romaine lettuce for dinner. I don’t know about you, but most people don’t say that very often. But after tonight, you most definitely will.
- 16 oz super firm tofu*
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp dried ginger
- 3 hearts romaine
- ½ small shallot, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- Quick-cook barley, cooked, for serving (or other gluten-free alternative, such as quinoa)
- Slice the tofu along the short edge into 8 pieces. In a shallow baking dish (e.g. 9x9), combine the lemon juice, olive oil, and spices into a paste.
- Add the tofu pieces one-by-one and toss them around to cover in the marinade. Push it to the side and add another, then stack it on top of the first. You'll end up with 3-4 stacks of a couple pieces of tofu. Cover and let sit for 1 hour.
- Preheat the grill over medium-high heat. When it is hot, toss each piece of tofu again in the marinade then place on the grill. Cook each side 4-5 minutes, until lightly charred.
- Cut each romaine heart in half through the core. Combine the remaining ingredients and evenly brush over the cut side of the hearts using a pastry brush.
- Grill alongside the tofu, cut-side down, about 5 minutes, until lightly charred.
- Serve the tofu and romaine with some cooked barley for a well-rounded meal!