New England summer staples
There’s a lot of “I can’t wait for fall!” giddiness going on this week. What gives? Yes, the cool morning air is refreshing and it’s been nice digging out a few lightweight long sleeved tops for layering, but for the love of god, people, let’s stay focused.
It’s still summer. It’s gorgeous out. Let’s embrace it.
Nothing says summer in New England more than zucchini and summer squash, crayon-colorful and absolutely ubiquitous this time of year. Cook it up with a little EVOO, garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh thyme and you’re in business – add pan-friend tofu with a side of balsamic roasted shallots, and you’ve done your summer staple proud.
This easy vegan entree comes together in four simple parts. First, put 1 cup of brown rice on the stove and let cook for about 45 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 and grab your:
Balsamic Roasted Shallots:
- 8-10 large shallots, peeled with ends removed
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp EVOO
- Salt and pepper
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
- 1 TBSP EVOO
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- Sea salt to taste
Summer squash, zucchini & sliced mushrooms:
- 3 small summer squash, sliced at ¼ inch thickness
- 3 small zucchini, sliced at ¼ inch thickness
- ¾ cup white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp EVOO
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp fresh thyme
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Begin by peeling the shallots and trimming the ends. Arrange all shallots on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with balsamic and EVOO. Sprinkle with sea salt and place the thyme evenly across the cookie sheet. Cover with tin foil and roast at 400 for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the tin foil and thyme sprigs, and continue to roast for another 15 minutes, or until the shallots are evenly browned.
While the shallots are roasting to perfection, pan-fry your tofu in 1 TBSP EVOO over medium heat. As tofu begins to brown, after about 5-7 minutes, add the red pepper flakes and garlic, stirring often to make sure the garlic doesn't burn. At the 10 minute mark, add sea salt and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until desired crispness.
And for the squash, grab a large frying pan and heat the EVOO over medium. Add the squash and mushrooms, stirring often until they start to soften. After about 5 minutes, add your red pepper flakes, sea salt and pepper. If your squash is sticking to the pan at all, add a splash of veggie stock or water. When the squash and mushrooms are soft but still firm, about 8-10 minutes in, add a sprinkling touch of thyme and remove from heat.
Serve over a scoop of brown rice, piling your squash on first, followed by the tofu and shallots. If desired, garnish with fresh thyme.