Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Blackened Tofu with Cheezy Polenta and Greens

Before I was vegan, I used to make a dish much like this, but with blackened shrimp. However, considering shrimp are one of the worst seafood choices we can make (they are responsible for the destruction of mangroves and fetch between 12 and 68 pounds of bycatch [dolphins, porpoises, albatross, gulls, sea turtles, and at least 250 other sea creatures] for just ONE pound of shrimp), shrimp is an unfathomable delicacy that we can certainly do without. For you tofu-haters- give it up already. It's delicious, especially when fried. 

To make this dish gluten-free, you can use chickpea flour rather than white flour for gravy. 

6 cups water
2 cups polenta
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
½ cup cheddar Daiya
salt and pepper to taste

Heat water over high heat until boiling. Pour in polenta and stir, reducing heat to low. Cook for about 10 minutes, checking and stirring periodically, until polenta is cooked through and creamy. Remove from heat and stir in margarine, Daiya, pepper, and salt. Return lid and keep warm. 

Cajun Blackened Tofu
4 tablespoons olive oil, or enough to coat the entire bottom of the pan
½ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 pound extra-firm tofu, cubed into ¾ inch cubes

While heating oil over medium high heat, combine celery salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, cayenne, garlic and cornstarch in a large bowl. Toss in tofu until well coated. When oil is hot, add tofu to pan. When browned on one side, stir and flip, until all sides are blackened. Remove from pan and keep warm. Keep pan on medium high for making the gravy.

Basic Gravy

1 tablespoon Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
3 tablespoons flour
1½ cup veggie broth

Melt margarine in the pan you fried the tofu in. Add flour and whisk. Keep whisking and heating until the color of a copper penny. Pour in broth, whisk, and cook until thickened. 

Basic Greens

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Lacinto Kale (or "dinasour kale"... it's my favorite green!!) or any green you want
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat oil over medium high heat. Saute garlic. When beginning to brown, add kale and cover until wilted. Remove from heat, and toss with vinegar. Keep warm.

To serve, plate the polenta, and greens, ladle-on the gravy, and top with blackened tofu. 



  1. Trying this tonight.....I can't wait!

  2. Recently started doing "vegan days" a couple days a week and always on the look out for tasty recipes. Just made this now...very good! I'll have to share this with my readers! Thanks!


  3. This looks fantastic! I can't wait to make it.

  4. I was craving faux shrimp and grits but I couldn't figure out how to incorporate the tofu as the shrimp. I googled and found your recipe. It was spectacular and definitely satisfied my craving. Thank you!

    1. How funny Cma713, I just made this last night! Thanks for your kind words--I'm so glad you liked it! :)