Baked Tofu and Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt sauce is a fairly common culinary component but it seems to have not gained as much traction with the vegan community, maybe because even some plant-based veterans are not that familiar with the variety of vegan yogurt options available.   It is, after all, a somewhat recent innovation.  Given that the yogurt we are most familiar with – the kind made from the fermentation of various animal milks – is over a thousand years old, it’s not surprising that plant-based alternatives haven’t been given much attention.  But vegan yogurts (or cultured products as they must sometimes legally be called) are becoming more and more plentiful and more artisanal.  Though the bacteria used is obviously different, the process to create a yogurt is essentially the same.  That means that you can produce a yogurt from any type of milk, like almond, soy, or coconut. 
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I’ve been eating plant-based yogurts since going vegan twelve years ago, but there sure are lot more varieties available now – for me it’s coconut yogurt that reigns supreme.  Given that it’s now making its way into the mainstream, I’d like to take it a step further and start incorporating these creamy, tart alternatives into recipes.

One of the best parts of incorporating yogurt into your cooking is that requires very little effort and time to flavour – you don’t have to add much, or anything really, to make it work. It’s more a matter of figuring out what to pair it with. For this particular recipe, the most logical pairing that I could think of was baked tofu.

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Ingredients:
For the Tofu
2 x 400g blocks of extra firm tofu
2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tsp of pepper
2 tsp of dried basil
2 tsp of garlic powder

For the Yogurt Sauce
400g container of plain vegan yogurt (I recommend coconut yogurt)
3 tbsps. of lemon juice
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of turmeric
2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of ginger
1 tsp of cumin

Directions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Chop the two 400g blocks of extra firm tofu into 1/2 – 3/4-inch cubes.  Add the tofu to the bowl, and mix in the 2 tsp of salt, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp of pepper, 2 tsp of dried basil, 2 tsp of garlic powder.
3.  Lay the tofu out evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the 400g of vegan yogurt, 3 tbsps. of lemon juice, 1 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of turmeric, 2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tsp of cumin.
5.  Top the tofu with a generous portion of the yogurt mixture and serve with rice and veggies.

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