The flavors of the Islands come shining through in this delicious bowl. Tofu is marinated overnight in a mouthwatering marinade to infuse it with bold flavor then slow cooked in the traditional method just like jerk meats. It may take a little more time than your typical meal but it is well-worth the effort. Make it on a Sunday and eat it throughout the week.
The dish is most definitely spicy but the heat does not linger on the palate. Serve with the refreshing cold carrot juice to temper the heat!
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(Makes 4 servings)
1 - 14.5 ounce package extra firm tofu, pressed at least 30 minutes
1 Tablespoon jerk seasoning (See Note)
1 serving jerk marinade, recipe below
For the jerk marinade
1/3 cup coarsely chopped red onion
1/2 habanero or scotch bonnet (omit if you don't like a lot of heat)
2 Tablespoons low-sodium tamari
1 Tablespoon brown or coconut sugar (I used Origine coconut sugar)
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 green onion, sliced
1 garlic clove
1/2 inch ginger knob, sliced
1. The day before you plant to make the jerk tofu, press tofu at least 30 minutes to an hour. The longer the better. Tofu can be pressed in a tofu press or wrapped in a kitchen towel and placed under a small skillet or pot or under a large cookbook.
2. Place all marinade ingredients in a small blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.
3. Cut tofu into 4 equal "planks" and place into a small bowl or container. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half horizontally to make 4 rectangular planks.
4. Sprinkle half the jerk seasoning over one side of the tofu planks and rub in with your hand or with a spatula or brush. Turn the planks over and sprinkle with the remaining jerk seasoning and repeat process.
5. Place tofu into a medium sized dish or storage container. Pour marinade over the jerk seasoned tofu and spread over the top with a spatula or brush. Turn over planks and use a spoon to scoop up extra marinade from the bottom of the container onto the top and spread again. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
6. The next day remove tofu from the container, reserving any remaining marinade left in the container. This will be used later for basting the tofu. (The olive oil in the marinade will solidify which could make it difficult to remove the tofu. If this is the case, simply heat container in the microwave for a few seconds on high heat to soften the olive oil). Place onto a baking dish lined with a silicone mat.
7. Prepare grill for cooking on lower heat setting (on a pellet grill, preheat to 300 degrees F). Place baking dish with marinated tofu onto grill, close the cover and cook for two hours total, turning every 30 minutes. The last hour, take reserved marinade and thin it with water and use this to baste the tofu after each next turn. The tofu will be soft at first but will firm as it cooks so it is best to use a spatula for turning. Tofu is done when the marinade has "blackened" and and it is firm.
8. Remove tofu from heat and let sit for 5 or so minutes, then slice and place on top of salad and serve with jerk vinaigrette (recipe below) or your favorite salad dressing.
The salad pictured above includes the following ingredients: kale (massaged with olive oil and lemon juice), chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumbers, diced red onion, chopped green and purple bell pepper and chopped orange snacking peppers. All of the produce except the onion is organic and local from Henry's Family Farm.
Note: I made my own jerk seasoning using the recipe in the link included in the recipe list above. Making your own spice blends is ideal because you can customize the flavor to your liking. I used Origine coconut sugar for the sugar called for in the jerk seasoning recipe.
Watch 5-minute video below to see how it's made:
To make the jerk vinaigrette for the salad, I used about 2 Tablespoons of Jerk Hot Sauce from Henry's Family Farm and added the juice of half a lime, about 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup and about 1 teaspoon jerk seasoning. Since the Hot Sauce is a local product, you can substitute your favorite similar product.
(Makes 2 servings)
3 medium or large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup water (minimum 1 cup, or enough to cover the carrots once in the blender)
1-1/2 Tablespoons vegan condensed milk (I used coconut condensed milk)
1/2 teaspoon Origine cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Origine vanilla
Large pinch of nutmeg, or to taste
1.Place carrots and water in blender and blend until smooth and there are no chunky carrot pieces.
2. Pour carrot juice through a strainer and into a large bowl. Use a spatula to press all of the juice out of the pulp. Reserve pulp for another dish or for smoothies.
3. Add condensed milk and stir until dissolved. Add cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust for sweetness or spice as desired.
4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or transfer carrot juice to a jar or large cup fitted with a lid and refrigerate to chill.
The carrot juice recipe can be easily doubled or tripled. Recipe adapted from Roxy Chow Down.