Here’s a vegan-friendly dish that is Cajun-inspired in its ingredients yet packs just a hint of heat and yields a great sense of freshness. Deliciously different, served over rice, it makes a great one-pot meal.

Cajun-Style Tofu with Tomatoes and Okra

Ingredients

Medium (approx. 3 quart) slow cooker

2 tbsp oil 30 mL
1 onion, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp salt 5 mL
1 tsp cracked black peppercorns 5 mL
1 tsp dried thyme 5 mL
2 bay leaves 2
1 tbsp tomato paste (see Tips, left) 15 mL
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) diced tomatoes with juice
2 cups thinly sliced okra (see Tips, left) 500 mL
1 cup corn kernels 250 mL
1 red or green bell pepper, seeded and diced

Tofu

1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour 60 mL
1 tbsp Cajun spice mix 15 mL
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional (see Tips, left) 1 mL
1 lb firm tofu, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) squares 500 g
1 tbsp oil 15 mL

Preparation

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, peppercorns, thyme and bay leaves and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
2. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours. Stir in okra, corn and bell pepper. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until pepper is tender. Discard bay leaves.

Serves 4-6.

Tips

If you’re using Italian San Marzano tomatoes, which are very rich, omit the tomato paste.

Okra, a tropical vegetable, has a great flavor but it becomes unpleasantly sticky when overcooked. Choose young okra pods, 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long, that don’t feel sticky to the touch. (If sticky they are too ripe.

Gently scrub the pods and cut off the top and tail before slicing.

Whether you add cayenne depends upon how spicy your Cajun spice mix is and how much you like heat.

Make Ahead

Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, complete the recipe.

Excerpted from 250 Best Beans, Lentils & Tofu Recipes by The Editors of Robert Rose Inc. © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without permission.