This is a super-healthy, vegetarian version of an Italian favorite. As I describe below, be sure to really "press" the excess liquid out of your tofu to ensure that it absorbs the wonderful flavor of the sauce. Don't be afraid to put something really heavy on it to draw out the moisture. Cast iron pan works great! Also, don't limit yourself to just tofu here. I made this for both vegetarians and meat eaters. Make the sauce as written, and then substitute half the amount of tofu with 4 boneless chicken breasts. Then I bake for about an hour, in separate dishes, of course.
- 2 lbs firm tofu
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 (14 1/2 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1⁄4 cup flour, for dredging
- grated parmesan cheese or romano cheese, for topping
- To press tofu: For best results, tofu should be"pressed" in order to remove excess liquid and absorb the flavors of the marinade.
- Press tofu block between two plates, weighted down with a cast iron pan, large bowl of water, or heavy cans, for about 30 minutes.
- Halfway through, you may dump the plate of water and flip the tofu block.
- For an even meatier texture, place the pressed tofu slices in the freezer until ready to use.
- For the cacciatore: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Coat a large, non-stick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium low.
- Add onion and bell peppers and cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add garlic, oregano, basil and crushed red pepper, if using, and stir to coat the vegetables evenly.
- Next, add the diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
- Mix well and bring sauce mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, and simmer the sauce covered for about 15 minutes.
- While sauce simmers, cut the block of pressed tofu into ½ inch thick slices.
- Mix flour with a good pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray, and place over medium low heat.
- Dredge the tofu slices in the seasoned flour; be sure to tap off the excess.
- Place slices into skillet, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
- Watch that the pan doesnt get too hot, and lower the heat if necessary.
- This step needs to be done in two batches.
- Be sure to re-coat the pan with spray for the second batch.
- As the tofu slices are finished browning, place them in a baking dish in a single layer.
- Pour tomato pepper sauce over tofu, sprinkle generously with Parmesan or Romano cheese if desired, and cover dish with foil.
- Bake until heated through (about 45 minutes to 1 ½ hours) The longer the tofu bakes, the more flavor it will absorb.
- Serve hot.
This is AWESOME! I halved the recipe, used one block frozen/defrosted tofu and a yellow pepper. I didn't dredge it, just seasoned it and browned. This also freezes beautifully. Thanks for sharing. In all my years of vegetarian/veganism I've never even thought of making a cacciatore. Thanks!
This dish was just okay for us. The sauce was great but the tofu was incredibly bland- though I should have guessed, with it only seasoned with salt and pepper. We're a vegan household and love our tofu! Next time I would omit the tofu altogether and make the sauce. Would also save a lot of time and trouble not having to bake it.
My family LOVED this dish. They really don't like tofu but they gobbled this up before I even got any, lol! =) Thank you for sharing!