Like most vegans, I’m often asked what I foods I “miss” the most – and to be frank with you, it’s a hard question to answer purely because I genuinely don’t find the taste of most animal products appealing. I’ve even been known to stop eating mock meat products like sausages or chick’n strips halfway through a meal because it reminded me too much of the “real” thing.
That said if push came to shove I guess I could identify two things that I kind of maybe sort of
miss recall fondly; the first is the flavour sensation of seafood. This makes a fair amount of sense since prior to going vegan, seafood was the one form of animal protein I still consumed semi-regularly and enjoyed having. Nowadays, however, I have no desire to dig into a fillet of grilled fish – but surprisingly I do miss that “fishy” flavour from time to time. Luckily for me, that is easily remedied by a seaweed salad, a miso soup, nori rolls (and a host of other menu items from my favourite Japanese restaurant).
The second thing would have to be Halloumi cheese – hands down. For those of you not in the know, Halloumi is a dense, salty, chewy white cheese usually made from sheep’s or goat’s milk. Usually served grilled or fried as a mezze or appetiser, it features heavily in Levantine cuisine and is also widely popular in countries like Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. It’s also delicious.
Halloumi was really my one weakness – even when I was dairy free for a year before going vegan, I still caved and bought the occasional block every now and again. I have of course tried to recreate a vegan version with varying rates of success over the years – but something was always off, the texture and consistency were never quite right. That is, until I discovered the wonder that is waffle-iron tofu.
- Half a block of extra firm tofu (organic and non-GMO is best)
- 1-2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1-2 tsp of sea salt (adjust to your preference as needed)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Start by draining and pressing your tofu – wrap it in a clean cloth and place a heavy book on top for about 15 minutes. When done, slice your half block into strips 6-8 strips, not too thin and not too thick – somewhere in the middle. Set aside.
- Mix up your magical marinade by combining the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Note that you want the marinade to be a thicker consistency rather than watery – so adjust liquid amounts accordingly.
- Now we rub! In a shallow dish, lay out the tofu strips and pour over a little marinade on each strip before using your fingers to rub it in on both sides. This is the trick to really infusing the flavour in a short amount of time. Pour on any additional marinade left over and leave the tofu to rest for 30 minutes. For best results, I'd suggest marinating overnight.
- In the interim heat up your waffle iron – if you don’t have one you can substitute a panini-style or George Foreman grill.
- Grill tofu for 5 minutes or so in your waffle iron/grill until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped fresh mint, olives and tomatoes.
If you find yourself without a waffle iron or grill, you can of course, use a regular pan with a sturdy spatula and some elbow grease. If you’re using a pan you may have to grease it with some olive oil to avoid sticking – use a spatula to press down the tofu as it’s grilling on both sides to achieve the desired texture.
That said, this really works best if you have some sort of grill apparatus that closes on itself. I mean, just look at those crisped edges.
Tofumi? Hallofu? Whatever you want to call it, it is a life changing, salty, chewy and mint infused cheesy waffle-ironed wonder. Not to mention full of protein, and of course cruelty-free to boot.
Enjoy dear readers, until next time!