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This lemon caper herb-crusted tofu is the ultimate dinner-party recipe!

The tofu looks so elegant on top of mounds of pillowy mashed potatoes and the shallot butter sauce adds amazing flavor and ties the whole thing together.

This dish goes well with so many different sides. It’s also surprisingly quick and easy to make. As this meal has multiple items, you’re going to appreciate the simplicity of making this tofu. Although the ingredient list is kind of long, the process for making this dish is not difficult, so don’t be discouraged!

In the past, I’ve served this herb-crusted tofu with crispy oven-roasted potatoes and cashew caper aioli, which is a winner combo. But the more traditional mashed potatoes and buttery sauce are even better with it. They provide a velvety contrast to the crispy tofu crust and the miso in the mash adds another layer of rich flavor.

To top it off, the shallot butter sauce takes this whole dish over the top and really ramps up the flavor factor. I’ve used a few tablespoons of plant-based butter in the sauce, but you could easily substitute it with more olive oil instead.

In case you need some inspiration for what to serve alongside this main course, here are some ideas:

I love serving this herb-crusted tofu with a side of whole olive oil roasted leeks. Roasting leeks whole and treating them as a stand-alone vegetable might seem strange depending on where you’re from in the world, but roasted leeks are a revelation. Coating them in olive oil and then roasting them makes them buttery soft and sweet. Although part of the allium family (along with onions, garlic, shallots, chives, and green onions), roasting leeks transforms them into something delicious on their own.

In place of leeks, however, you could serve this entree with any other veggie side. Roasted carrots, beets, or zucchini would all be delicious, as would sauteed mushrooms or leafy greens.

I served this dish as the main course of my ultimate plant-based Valentine’s dinner, an indulgent three-course meal for two you can find here.

From start to finish, this recipe only takes about an hour to make. Because this dish includes several different components, though, you may want to prepare some of the meal ahead of time.

Here’s what I recommend preparing ahead of time (like a day or two before):

  • make the lemon caper herb crust, coat the tofu slabs in it, and let it marinate in its baking dish in the fridge
  • boil the potatoes for the mash
  • wash and trim your leeks, but keep them whole (or prep whatever veggie you’ll make as a side dish)

This might not seem like a lot of prep, but it will cut your cook time in half. That way, you hardly have any work ahead of you to put this whole dish together the day of! You’ll just need to pop the tofu in the oven, reheat the potatoes and make the mash, prep and roast the leeks or other veggie side, and make the shallot butter sauce.

To make this herb-crusted tofu recipe you’ll need a handful of key ingredients:

  • extra-firm tofu
  • pine nuts
  • capers
  • fresh and dried herbs
  • potatoes (whatever kind you like best for mashed potatoes)
  • plant-based butter (Miyoko’s cultured European style butter is my go-to)
  • mellow white or yellow miso
  • canned coconut milk (or use another neutral flavored plant-based milk such as oatmilk)
  • shallots (substitute these with yellow onions if you don’t have them)
  • small and slender leeks

You can get creative with these ingredients and substitute what you have on hand. Switch up the herbs in the marinade, change the lemon zest for lime zest, or use other nuts instead of pine. The mashed potatoes would also be delicious substituted with half mashed celery root, parsnip, or cauliflower. And you can always use yellow onions or even garlic instead of the shallots in the sauce.

I hope this recipe gives you a glimpse into the kind of creativity and elegance you can achieve in a plant-based kitchen.

And with that, let’s get into the recipe!

Lemon Caper Herb-Crusted Tofu with Miso Mashed Potatoes and Shallot Butter Sauce

Course: Dinner
Servings

3

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

Ingredients

  • For the mashed potatoes
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons plant-based butter (I love the Miyoko’s cultured European style butter)

  • 1/4-1/2 cup canned coconut milk, depending on how thick you like your mashed potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons mild white or yellow miso paste

  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • For the herb-crusted tofu
  • 1 block extra firm tofu

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained

  • Zest from 1 organic lemon

  • 1 large clove garlic, grated

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil

  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and black pepper

  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

  • For the shallot butter sauce
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 4 shallots, finely diced (or grind them up in the food processor for 30 seconds)

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Pinch of coarse salt

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste

  • 2 tablespoons plant-based butter (I used the same Miyoko’s cultured European style butter)

Directions

  • Start with the mashed potatoes
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into quarters. Place these in a pot and cover with cold water, about 1 inch over the potatoes. Add a generous pinch of salt to the water, then cover the pot and bring it to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down to simmer and cook the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until they are soft when pierced with a fork.
  • Drain the potatoes and then put them back in the pot to keep warm while you prepare the tofu and sauce.
  • Make the tofu
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  • Slice the tofu block in half lengthwise, then slice 3 times crosswise into 6 rectangular slabs and place in a shallow baking dish.
  • Combine everything else except the lemon juice in a small bowl, mixing thoroughly.
  • Spoon the crust on top of the tofu, then carefully flip them over, and coat the other side in the remaining crust. Press the crust gently into the tofu so it sticks. Be gentle when turning over the tofu so you don’t break it.
  • Bake the tofu for 15 minutes, then carefully flip the slabs over, putting any crust that’s fallen off back on top of the slabs, and bake for another 15 minutes until the crust is browned and crispy.
  • Once done, remove the tofu from the oven and drizzle with the lemon juice.
  • Now make the shallot butter sauce
  • While the tofu cooks, make the shallot butter sauce. Heat the oil in a wide shallow pan on medium heat, and once hot, add the shallots, the salt, and the thyme. Stir to coat the shallots in oil and cook on medium-low for 10-15 minutes until golden and starting to caramelize. Don’t let them burn or your sauce will taste bitter.
  • Pour in the veggie broth and let this simmer for five minutes until the liquid has reduced.
  • Add in the red wine vinegar, the miso, and the butter and cook for a further few minutes, stirring constantly, until the miso and butter have dissolved.
  • You should have a thick rustic sauce at this point. You can leave the sauce as is for a rustic feel (or if you’re short on time). Otherwise, transfer the sauce to a small blender and blitz for 10 seconds to break down the shallots. You should now have a smooth, creamy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding another pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon juice if you like.
  • Finish up the potatoes
  • Now return to your potatoes. Put them in a shallow bowl or large plate and mash them with a fork until smooth (feel free to leave some lumps if you like more texture variance.)
  • Then add in the remaining ingredients, letting the butter sit for a few minutes to melt, before gently stirring everything together. The mashed potatoes should be smooth and velvety. Be careful not to over mix or the potatoes will become gooey. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Plate your meal
  • To serve, place a mound of the mashed potatoes on a plate, then carefully arrange two tofu slabs on top.
  • Drizzle on the shallot butter over everything, or if your sauce is thick, add it in a ring on the plate around the sides of the mashed potatoes.
  • Serve with your preferred veggie side and a simple green salad.

Notes

  • Feel free to substitute many of these ingredients. Switch up the herbs in the marinade, change the lemon zest for lime zest, or use other nuts instead of pine. The mashed potatoes would also be delicious substituted with half mashed celery root, parsnip, or cauliflower. And you can always use yellow onions or even garlic instead of the shallots in the sauce.

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