A Recipe: Tofu Cacciatore with Mushrooms - Vegan Whole Food Plant Based with No Oil and No Salt

This is a whole food, plant based, no oil/salt version of one of my favorite Italian meal recipes. It's conventionally made with chicken but super firm tofu works just fine because the flavor actually comes from the thyme and mushroom wine sauce. The end result is delicious.

1. In a large bowl, combine a half cup of whole wheat flour and a half teaspoon (tsp) each of the following dried herbs: leaf or ground thyme, leaf rosemary, and garlic powder.

2. Rinse (but don't dry) one block (~15 ounces) of super firm,* high protein tofu and chop it up into one inch cubes.

3. Add tofu to the large bowl containing the flour and herbs mixture and toss until tofu is lightly coated. Then remove the coated tofu chunks to another container and discard any residual flour mixture.**

4. In a large skillet, add one cup of veggie broth and one cup of red or white cooking wine, along with the same quantities of the herbs used in step #1. Bring this to a simmer on medium heat.

5. Add the lightly breaded tofu to the simmering broth and turn the heat to medium low. Note that the breading on the tofu will begin to thicken the broth. If it gets too thick and starts to scorch or stick, add more veggie broth to dilute as needed. Stir occasionally. Meanwhile...

6. In a separate frying pan, add a half cup of veggie broth and a half cup of red/white cooking wine, along with a half tsp of leaf thyme only. Bring this to a simmer.

7. While the broth in step #6 is heating up, chop up half an onion and about 8 ounces of mushrooms (white or baby bella work well). Add these to the simmering broth in step #6 and cook until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.***

8. Pour the mushroom sauce generated in step #7 over the tofu in the large saucepan and turn off the heat to the saucepan. Mix everything up a bit and let it sit about 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

9. Enjoy this as a standalone dish or serve over rice.

*Note: Super firm tofu is the dense, high protein kind that is firmer than extra firm and doesn't crumble. Extra firm tofu will probably disintegrate in this recipe. Seitan (wheat gluten) or textured vegetable protein (soy protein) would also work in place of tofu in this recipe.

**Note: The tofu can be cooked in the wine broth without breading it. However, this will result in a thinner, more runny broth. Some cornstarch can be added to the mushroom sauce near the end of cooking to thicken it up before adding it to the tofu in the saucepan. Experiment!

***Note: You can also use a mixture of diced zucchini and mushrooms to add more whole food vegetable content to this dish. Simply reduce the amount of mushrooms used relative to the amount of zucchini. Another variant is to add a diced roma tomato to the mushroom sauce, if you want to add more of a classic Italian tomato  sauce flavor to this dish.

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