Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl

Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl
Braised tofu with kale & bulgur wheat

Being vegetarian for thirty-four-years, I’ve certainly eaten my fair share of tofu, aka, bean curd. Much like cheese, tofu is made from curdled soy milk and compressed into blocks – mmm tasty. Speaking of taste, tofu literally has none. Eaten raw it tastes wet, soft and tasteless – much like my ex boyfriend. However, cooked correctly, tofu becomes juicy, flavourful and sassy – much like Beyoncé.
To make Beyoncé tofu you need to make a bootylicious broth for your tofu sponges to soak up and I have just the recipe.


Braised tofu & kale bulgur bowl
Serves 4 / Hands on time 45 mins / Total time 45 mins / V Vn Df 
300ml cold water
120g bulgar wheat
Knorr vegetable stock pot or stock cube
1 tsp sesame oil
1 medium onion, roughly sliced
½ tsp sea salt flakes
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs light soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
300ml boiling water
125g Shiitake or chestnut mushrooms, sliced
280g firm tofu, cut into thick slices
4 handfuls chopped kale
2 spring onions, chopped to serve (optional)


Method
1. Measure out the bulgur wheat and pour into a small saucepan along with 300ml of cold water and half a vegetable stock pot/cube. Place over a medium to high heat until boiling before turning down and simmering for 8 mins. Once the water has absorbed, remove from the heat, give it a quick stir and cover with a lid. Put to one side.
2. Meanwhile, warm 1 tsp of sesame oil in a large pot with a lid over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions, ½ tsp sea salt flakes and 1 tbs of balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir and pop the lid on. Turn down the heat slightly and allow to soften for 10 minutes – stirring occasionally.
3. Once the onions have softened, add the garlic and cook for a further 3 mins before adding 1 tbs soy sauce, 300ml vegetable stock (use the other half of the stock pot/cube) and add the roughly sliced mushrooms. Up the heat and bring to the boil.
4. Once boiling, reduce the heat and carefully submerge the tofu slices into the broth before covering with a lid and cooking for 10 minutes. Once the tofu is cooked, add 4 handfuls of kale directly on top the tofu and cover again for a further 5 minutes.
5. Loosen up the bulgur wheat by stirring with a spoon and divide into bowls. Top with the braised tofu and sprinkle with chopped spring onions.

Braised tofu with kale & bulgur wheat

If you’ve had a go at making my braised tofu or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


– Vegetarian     Vn – Vegan    Df – Dairy free



Braised vegetable orecchiette

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

As promised, I have returned from my gorgeous holiday in Puglia with more than just a few extra pounds and a sunburnt belly button – believe me, I’m as surprised as you are.
I come bearing gifts and the first one is this utterly delicious braised vegetable orecchiette. I discovered this dish on our last evening in Bari, in a pleasant little restaurant, next to a rather unpleasant fat Australian who moaned about her pasta being ‘too hard’. Philistine.
Anyway, it turned out that most of the vegetarian pasta dishes I had my eye on were unavailable, due to the ingredients being out of season. Eating seasonally is obviously a big part of Italian culture which is nice, but unfortunately for me, this meant that I was left with the rather dubiously named ‘vegetable pasta’. I didn’t want to show my disappointment, so I simply smiled and willed it to be more than just a bowl of vegetables and pasta.

It arrived and it was just a bowl of vegetables and pasta – but it was one of the nicest bowls of vegetables and pasta I had ever eaten. Local orecchiette floating in a salty vegetable broth peppered with seasonal vegetables. Bellissimo!

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Serves 2 / Hands on time 30mins/ Total time 30mins 
25g unsalted butter
300g baby mixed vegetables (I used 1 small courgette, 2 chestnut mushrooms, 3 baby leeks, 4 baby carrots, 2 baby parsnips. Although you can use whatever vegetables you like)
100g dried orecchiette* or pasta of your choice
500ml vegetable stock (I used 1 Knorr stock pot)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried parsley
Pomora extra virgin olive oil to serve
Handful grated vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan

Method
1. Chop your vegetables to your desired size – personally I think the bigger the better, especially when braising. In a large heavy bottomed pot with a lid, add the butter and spread the vegetables out as evenly as you can. Cover with roughly 500ml of vegetable stock (you want to make sure the vegetables are only just covered). Season with salt and pepper and add the bay leaves.
2. Bring to the boil on a high heat before turning back down low and covering with a lid. Let the vegetables simmer for 10-12 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, boil your pasta in slightly salted water and grate the parmesan.
4. Remove the lid off the vegetables, stir in a tsp of dried parsley and turn the heat back up and vigorous boil for another 3 minutes. Meanwhile drain your pasta and put to one side.
5. By now your vegetables will be lovely and soft. Take them off the heat and discard the bay leaves. Pour the pasta straight into the pot and stir through carefully – you don’t want to break the vegetables up too much.
6. Divide into bowls and serve with a drizzle of good quality extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of parmesan.

Braised vegetable orecchiette
Braised vegetable orecchiette

If you’ve had a go at making my orecchiette or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


*Orecchiette is a pasta that’s popular in Southern Italy and literally translates to ‘little ears’.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.