Review of Tofu “Ground Beef” in Pasta Sauce

Tofu Pasta Sauce

Tofu Pasta Sauce

I have been meaning to try ground beef tofu in a homemade pasta sauce for a long time. I am working on some comparisons of meat versus tofu in North American style cooking, aiming for palatable, satisfying dishes that would be readily accepted by meat-eaters.

In trying out various recipes (which I invent myself) I must say I like that that tofu is less greasy. In foods such as wieners, however, tofu does not perform as well. It is kind of rubbery and bland (mustard helps).

The trick with substituting tofu for meat seems to be in emphasizing the herbs and spices and adding butter or flavourful oils.

I enjoy the tofu pepperoni that is available at the supermarket. It does well in pita pockets and mini-pizzas along with melted cheese. I like adding fresh sliced red pepper to these.

Smoked tofu is nice. Very fine in stir fries or thinly sliced and fried until crispy. One could use it as a bacon substitute when it is used to add the smoky flavour to dishes (I’m thinking Pea Soup here, or as a salad topper).

Tonight’s dish was homemade pasta sauce over rotini.

Here’s the list of ingredients I used:

1/2 chopped yellow onion
1 clove of garlic, crushed,
1 container of sliced white mushrooms,
1/3 chopped red pepper
1/3 cup peeled and chopped brocolli stalks
1 T. chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tsp. dried basil/oregano blend
1 T. cold-pressed canola oil
1 package of tofu “ground beef”
1 jar tomato sauce

I sauted the vegetables, added the tofu, sauted some more to blend the flavours. I added the herbs and tomato sauce and let this simmer while I prepared the pasta.

Once the pasta was cooked and drained, I added butter to it, then topped it with the sauce and a little fresh-grated parmesan cheese.

Overall, the dish was not bad at all. The tofu had approximately the texture of cooked ground beef, but slightly firmer. The flavour was not bad. It didn’t exactly taste like beef, but it was still close enough that it could fool a meat eater if the right balance of herbs were used.

I will make this dish again. It was enjoyable. I would improve it by increasing my herbs and oil. I would add a little more salt and use more parmesan.

This dish gets a 3.5 thumbs up out of 5.

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About Teresa

Teresa Carey is a ceramic artist, writer, photographer, journalist, publisher and nature lover. She lives in Manitoba's Interlake on a small acreage close to the shores of Lake Winnipeg.

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