Spicy Baked Kale & Tofu

It’s raining today. The electrical work on our apartment is not quite done, but today we had a break from early morning construction & the country music of the local electrician. Last night, we sat down for the first roommate dinner. It was filled with cheers and warm laughs. Afterward, we played Quiddler at the table until we were all too tired to make sense of words. There is no television in our home, so we spend most nights playing games or chatting. It’s simple, peaceful, and quiet.

I imagine there are more homes that could benefit from this type of set-up. I do not envy the tube in the house across the way or the unnecessary loudness that comes from most boxes.

This morning, despite the rain, I woke up with new resolve to tackle my daily to-do list, which included making this healthy meal for lunch. There has been an ongoing joke with almost everyone that I am obsessed with kale. Kale is a great vegetable that is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. For plant-based eaters (like me) it gives us nutritional value that is hard to come-by in our daily diets. I wouldn’t quite say that I am obsessed with kale, but I think it’s one of the few vegetables I can rely on to provide me with the nutrients that I may be missing.

It’s funny, I guess, to compare vegetables to ourselves, but I think that being more like kale wouldn’t be so bad. It is one of the heartiest vegetables that can grow through winter. I know that during the winter I can always use a bit more encouragement, strength, and resolve.

Although it’s only October, I have already begun to settle in for what is to come. As I sit here with a stomach full of kale & tofu, I flip through websites that will help prepare me for my interview tomorrow.

I have new resolve these days to be what I set out to be, no matter the weather.

Spice Kale & Tofu Recipe (inspired by The First Mess)

Preparation & Cook Time: 45 min.

– 1 bunch of kale
– 1 package tofu (I used Extra-Firm, but I would adjust this depending on what you like)
– 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juice
– 2 cloves crushed garlic
– 2 tsp crushed red pepper
– 2 tsp Mexican Chili Powder
-1 twig rosemary (if you have dried rosemary I would use about 1 tsp)
-1/4 cup pine nuts
-1-2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil* (to cover the kale)

Preheat over to 375°. Unpackage & drain tofu. I like to blot my tofu dry with a towel to remove some of the excess moisture. Once the tofu is sufficiently dry, cut into 1/2 cubes. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper, chilli powder, and rosemary. Coat tofu with the mixture by rolling around the individual pieces of tofu in the bowl until covered. Once you have covered the tofu in the sauce place them in a 9×6 baking pan, or a pan large enough for all of the pieces of tofu to lay flat. Pour 3/4 of the remaining sauce over the tofu and place in the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tofu has heated through and is slightly baked on the outside.

While the tofu is baking heat 1/4 pine nuts in a small pan until they turn golden, or lightly brown, on the outside. Make sure not to overcook the pine nuts or they will release a bitter taste. Once they have toasted leave them in the pan to cool.

While pine nuts are cooling and the tofu is baking in the oven, rinse & strip kale in a large bowl. You have the option of using a bit of the stem or to completely remove the leaves from the stem. I usually keep about 1/4 of the stem to provide a bit of crunch. If you don’t like stems ago ahead and toss them into the compost! Once you have a nice pile of kale, drizzle 1-2 tbs EVOO over the top, and mix with your hands. Make sure that all of the kale is covered in EVOO, this will make it crispy and delicious once you put it in the oven! Set aside.

The tofu should be ready to take out of the oven by this point. Once you have removed your tofu from the oven place the kale directly in the pan over the tofu. Pour the pine nuts on top, spreading them out evenly over the kale. If you like, I sprinkled a pinch of crushed red pepper & Mexican chili powder over the top. Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until kale becomes brown and crispy.


p.s. If you like this recipe, then you should definitely check out some more delicious kale ideas from Honest Fare, Happyolksand the Post-Punk Kitchen.