Who doesn’t like chipotle spices? Who doesn’t like maple butter?
So why not combine them, right?
I didn’t think anyone had done this before, so I did, and it works. The wedding of chipotle spices, smoked paprika, maple syrup and vegan butter worked on my
sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and extra firm crispy tofu to produce a savory-hot-sweet taste.
What was interesting is that I started out to make a Southwestern-flavored dish and had the tofu cut and marinating, but then stumbled upon a maple-glazed brussels sprouts recipe at Good Life Eats (http://www.goodlifeeats.com ). It’s got some but not all of my ingredients, for instance I added the tofu and the smoked paprika to make it a main dish, not a side dish.
So the final dish is one tasty vegan feast.
Maple-Chipotle Tofu, Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed in paper towels to remove excess moisture, then sliced lengthwise and crosswise to make small chunks the same size as the sweet potato, or strips the length of double chunks
12 large or 15 smaller brussels sprouts, picked over and trimmed (bottom stems reduced, bruised outer leaves removed)
Salt and pepper
Marinade for the Tofu:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash’s Chipotle seasoning blend
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Squeezed juice of one lime
Marinade for the Brussels Sprouts and Sweet Potatoes:
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons Earth Balance margarine
Prep the tofu, brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes per the ingredients list above.
Mix tofu marinade and pour into a shallow pan. Lay the tofu in the marinade and gently turn to coat. Set aside.
Mix the brussels sprouts/sweet potato marinade. Toss the sweet potatoes briefly in the marinade and remove back to their bowl.
Now if you want, you can put the sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts and tofu on a cookie sheet and roast them for about 20 minutes in a hot oven. Test with a fork every 10 minutes or so to make sure the vegetables and tofu don’t burn. Some things will be ready sooner than others so be prepared to babysit the oven.
If you are using an outdoor grill, follow this procedure:
Heat up an outdoor grill or stovetop skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/8 inch of olive oil. When it is just smoking lightly, put the brussels sprouts, cut side down, into the pan. Let them crisp up until they are golden brown on the bottom, then turn them all over and do the other side. They are done when a testing fork has just a little bit of effort to get through the entire sprout. Set aside on paper towels to drain. (Note if you have LARGE brussels sprouts, you’ll need to add about a quarter cup of water to the pan and put a lid on the pan for about 2 minutes to parboil them. Be careful to have the lid in hand when you add the water because you’re going to need to clamp it down fast to prevent a splatter burn. Lift lid and peek after about 2 minutes or when the sprouts start to take on a more vivid green color and let the water boil off. Don’t touch them, just let them brown, as noted above.)
Bring oil back to high heat and fry the sweet potatoes. Don’t turn them until you start to see a little bit of burn on the bottoms, then turn them all over once. When golden on both sides, drain on paper towels.
Now get that heat up again, add a little more oil if necessary, and fry the tofu strips til they are crispy on the outside. Do not move them around until the bottom is browned. Flip over just once. Drain on paper towels.
Now mix all the reserved marinades — chipotle and maple butter — together so they co-mingle in one small bowl.
To assembly everything, put the tofu, brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes together in a clean wok and heat to sizzling. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour on the reserved marinade, toss a bit, and serve.