Saturday, 19 January 2013

Polenta Crumbed Tofu with Steamed Vegetable Salad and Roast Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe comes from a cookbook called 'Meat Free Mondays' which gives a mealplan each Monday for a year, based on seasonal produce and a balanced diet. Now, I only just discovered this book, but it made me think that I'd never really explained in full on this blog why I'm vegetarian, or how I came to be.

In 2009, when I was in Year 6, my teacher was vegetarian, which I think was the first example of a real-life vegetarian I'd ever met. Then, later in the year, one of my friends decided that she was going to stop eating meat on Mondays, as a sort of middle-ground between liking meat and feeling that it was unethical.

So, I decided to do the same thing, and my Mum agreed to do it too for support, and so we started sometime in late 2009. At the time, I had no idea that Meatless Monday was a worldwide movement, I thought it was just a good idea a friend had come up with.

Later that year, we went on a family holiday to Taiwan, which was fabulous, and I had an experience that really puts me off meat to this day. We were in a hotpot restaurant, where each person has a butane burner and a pot of hot stock, and you order various meats and vegetables to put in the stock. Well, I chose to order prawns, and (little-did-I-know) this restaurant's prawns were, uh… fresh (as in live!). They brought a little plate with a cover and all of a sudden it started jumping and making noise. Needless to say, I didn't eat any prawns that night (or for almost a year after!).

Finally, in 2010, I saw a documentary called Food inc. which is about how food in mass produced, particularly in America. Some of the factory farmed chicken and pork segments were really confronting, I think I was crying for most of the film. That was what triggered my becoming vegetarian all the time. I also did some research in alternate sources of omega-3 and discovered that almost every way of getting omega-3 has either got fish in it or is a different variety of omega-3 to the one found in fish which is not as important/good. So, I've been pescetarian (eating no meat but eating some fish) since May 2010, and I think it's one of the best decisions I ever made.
This dish is the perfect vegetarian dish; lots of different coloured vegetables and plenty of protein. I really liked it, as it really lets the natural flavours of the veggies and tofu shine through, without masking them with strong flavours as many recipes might. It's also super quick and easy, the perfect weeknight meal.

Thanks for bearing with me on that one!
Mia x

Polenta Crumbed Tofu with Steamed Vegetable Salad and Roast Cherry Tomatoes
Based on: Recipe by Paul McCartney, pg. 36 'Meat Free Monday'

28 cherry tomatoes
1 large head of broccoli, stem and florets chopped into small pieces
12 green beans, cut into 2cm lengths
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into 2cm chunks
1 lettuce, chopped (cos would be ideal, but I used green oak)
100g polenta
A handful chopped herbs of your choice
250g tofu, cut into slices
olive oil for flying
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F. Put the cherry tomatoes on a small baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, then roast for 10 minutes.
2. Half fill a pan with cold water and place a steamer above it, ensuring the steamer doesn't touch the water. Put the broccoli, green beans and carrots in the steamer, place over medium/high heat, cover and steam for about 15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked to your preference.
3. Whilst the vegetables are steaming, combine the polenta and herbs in a shallow bowl.
4. When cooked, remove the vegetables from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, dipping the tofu into the polenta mixture before frying until golden.
5. Make the dressing by placing all ingredients in a small jar and shaking until combined.
6. Assemble the meal by first placing lettuce on the plate, then the warm vegetables and the tofu, and finally drizzling lightly with the dressing. Serves 4

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Why hello there! If you liked or disliked this post or just want to say 'hi', feel free to leave a comment. I love getting comments- it's nice to know that someone out there is actually reading what I have to say, and they're really motivating!
Mia xo

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