Tofu, Polenta, Asparagus, and Beets with Pistachio Cream Sauce

The huge variety of readily available foods that cater to the plant lover’s palette definitely makes being vegan easier and more enjoyable but I think there is a tendency, when trying to develop new recipes and hone our ideas about plant based cuisine, to include this array of extra ingredients as a means of providing proof and showcasing just how rich and diverse the food can be.  Call it a play on “Keeping Up With the Joneses,” except the Joneses in this case are Omnivores.  The trend of exotic superfoods has not helped this epidemic any.  It sometimes feels like cooks are pressured to incorporate whatever fashionable substance is the rage that month (ie: Matcha), and thus their shopping list grows ever longer       

polentpistacio

pistaciopolenta2.jpg I’ve been experimenting with shorter ingredient lists, of finding ways to emphasize individual ingredients.  It is also vastly more economical, which is important for many of us.   What I like about this recipe is that you can taste each of the individual ingredients. It’s not so overloaded with “things” that flavour profiles get buried.  Veganaise has a fairly long content list, but otherwise these are relatively straightforward ingredients. The texture of the steamed asparagus and beets, when eaten in unison with the tofu and polenta, works surprisingly well together.  Also, I just discovered that Fiesta Farms and Whole Foods sells packaged pre-steamed beets.  As much as I like the idea of prepping everything myself, beets are messy to prepare.  I do love them though, so this small convenience makes me very happy.

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Ingredients

1 bunch of asparagus spears
1 bunch of dill
1 cup of pistachios
½ cup of vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
½ cup coconut milk
2 tbsp of garlic powder
1 Polenta Roll
1 Block of Extra Firm Tofu (I used Soyganic Smoked Tofu)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of Beets (or 1 package of pre-steamed beets)

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Directions

  1.  Remove the stems from the dill and chop until fine.
  2.  De-shell the pistachios.
  3.  In a food processor, blend together the Vegenaise, the pistachios, the coconut milk,  garlic powder and about half the chopped dill.  Blend until smooth and set aside.
  4.  Steam the asparagus until tender (about 20 minutes).  If not using pre-steamed beets – peel the beets and steam until tender as well.
  5.  Lightly oil a large frying pan and heat at medium heat.  Slice the polenta into 1/2 inch rounds and cut the tofu block four even squares and place both together in the frying pan.  Polenta sticks very easily so it should be flipped often.  Cook until both the polenta and the tofu are crisp on both sides.
  6. Plate your dish with the Pistachio cream sauce, and place the tofu and polenta on top.  Garnish with the asparagus spears, beets and extra dill.

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