As the Christmas holidays are approaching, and as I can’t wait to be home, I’ve decided to share with you a typical Portuguese dish. The only difference is that this one is 100% vegan, which means absolutely no fish was used. Instead, it’s filled with veggies. So it’s a win-win.
I actually came up with this recipe last year after watching Racing Extinction. As a vegan, I feel it’s hard for people to make the connection with sea animals. It seems people just don’t consider them as living creatures. Part of the reason is the argument that fish don’t feel pain – which is completely bullshit. They not only feel pain, but are the largest category of exploited animals, and are sentient beings who suffer some of the worst abuses.
I truly believe that it’s about creating awareness and helping people change their habits – so coming from a country that is largely dependent on fish for many dishes like this one, I feel like it’s my mission to create alternatives. So my wish for Christmas this year is that this recipe inspires you to make some changes.
Ingredients for 3-4 servings:
- 1 minced white onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- ½ sliced leek (around 50g)
- 1 grated zucchini (aroung 175g)
- 2 grated small carrots (around 120g)
- 1 medium bell pepper sliced
- 350- 400g of organic firm tofu
- big handful of fresh parsley
- 300g of rye and spelt bread (or if you are not in Germany like me, just go for the Portuguese corn bread!)
- 2-3 tbsp of hot sauce or Crazy Bastard Sauce (optional)
- 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of tamari sauce
- lots of dried spices – basil, thyme, oregano, bel pepper, more garlic
- salt & black pepper to taste
- smoked tofu (optional)
- The first thing you should do is press and marinate the tofu. This step is optional but it really makes a difference. I press my tofu by wrapping it in a kitchen towel and putting 2 or 3 heavy book on top and wait 20 minutes. This will dry out the tofu a bit which makes it perfect to absorb flavours.
To marinate the tofu, I’ve used Crazy Bastard Sauce (which is amaazing btw) but you can also easily make your own sauce, with chili, garlic, tomato and jalapeños. I’ve also added a tablespoon of tamari sauce and minced garlic. Leave it in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight (even better).
- Slice the leek and bell pepper and grate the carrots & zucchini. Mince the onion and garlic.
- Remove the tofu from the fridge and with a fork smash everything until it becomes a crumble mixture.
- Heat the wok with olive oil and add the onion. Stir for a few minutes and add the garlic and stir a bit more. Then, add all the veggies. Next add all spices, season with salt and pepper and incorporate everything for 3-4 minutes. Now it’s time to add the tofu and stir for another 4-5 minutes.
- While your veggies are cooking, slice your bread and put in a food processor. Here it’s up to you to add the crust or not – I’d say if the crust is quite dense, it’s better to leave it out as it will become very hard in the oven. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic powder and parsley to the mixture and pulse a few times until your have a crumbly and wet mixture. If it’s not humid enough, add another tablespoon of olive oil.
- Once your veggies are done, pour them in an oven-prof dish and spread the bread on top. I also like to add smoked tofu but it’s totally up to you.
- Bake for 15min at 200ºC or until golden brown.
I hope you enjoy it and I wish you a wonderful time with the ones you love.