Take me to the Mediterranean!
Now that you are a have drizzled Potato and Carrot Cheese Sauce all over your broccoli, potatoes and Mexican treats, and impressed your friends with creamy Basil Cashew Cheese, it’s time to usher in salad season and my final cheese for this series.
This cheese is a favorite in many salad recipes from the obvious Greek to pasta, watermelon, beet, chickpea, in tomato & basil or cucumber & avocado, its tangy and comes in a brine. A common ingredient in pasta dishes and bowls alike, you can put it on pizza or bake it in spanakopita, blend it for a dip or roast it with lemon. Yes, you guessed it, I’m talking about a Mediterranean favorite feta, but in the plant based world its better known as tofu feta.
The Mediterranean diet has become one of the most popular meal plans around the world, based on eating what was regional cuisine in the ‘60s in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea. Many find it an easy transition to eating more plant-based dishes because, other than the seafood and dairy, the diet focuses on traditional fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and of course olive oil. The eating plan encourages eating and sharing food with family and friends to get the full benefits of healthy eating and feel better physically and mentally through the process.
The great news is that the plant-based community has come up with many substitutes for both seafood and dairy so if you are currently eating Mediterranean, then there are many plant-based options to explore! One of my favorites is tofu feta. Yes, I know tofu is not cheese, I get it, but hear me out. Tofu like feta comes in water or brine, and tofu will basically accept any flavour you marinate it in. In this case a mixture of plant milk, vinegar, lemon juice, basil, oregano, and salt does the trick.
I don’t know about you but I am all about the bowl, whether it be salad, rice, noodle, quinoa or another base there are just so many options and with a couple of star ingredients you have a theme to run with. With the tofu feta and some homemade hummus in the fridge, I was on my way to make a Mediterranean Bowl.
Since I only used part of the block of tofu for the feta, I decided to cut the remainder into slices and coat it in some shawarma spice and air fry it. The shawarma spice is a mixture of cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, salt, pepper, ground cloves, all spice and nutmeg. Air fried for 15 mins at 400. My theme is now going Greek with the hummus, shawarma tofu and tofu feta.
How do I build upon my theme? Easy! I had about 1 ½ cups of leftover rice in the fridge. I squeezed the juice of a lemon on it and topped with a tsp of oregano and stirred, once heated it would be the perfect base with some baby spinach. If I was going Greek, then, there is nothing better than lemony garlic potatoes. I took two potatoes and cut them into wedges (about 12 pieces) I put them in a roasting pan and covered them with vegetable broth, 2 gloves of garlic minced, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp of salt and 2 tbsp olive oil and put into a 400 degree oven for 45 mins, flipping the potatoes over at 25 mins. By this time the potatoes have absorbed most of the liquid. Remove potatoes from the bowl, leaving the liquid, and continue to roast for 25 mins until crispy again flipping ½ way. Once done remove from oven and put back in liquid to absorb.
I cut up some green pepper into about ½” chunks, cut a tomato into wedges, diced some cucumber and sliced some red onion for the fresh ingredients and found some Kalamata olives to finish the bowl.
Ready for assembly: baby spinach and lemon oregano rice on the bottom and then I arranged all my toppings on top – shawarma spiced tofu, lemon garlic potatoes, diced cucumber, sliced tomato, green pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, the tofu feta and then a big dollop of homemade hummus in the middle and then dress with a vinaigrette for my Greek Goddess Bowl.
Recipe: Tofu Feta
¼ block of extra firm tofu 454g
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup soy milk
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp basil
½ tsp Hamalyan pink salt
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Drain and pat dry tofu, then I either crumble it or cut in ¼” cubes depending on what you want your feta to look like on the plate. Combine vinegar, plant milk, spices and lemon juice in a small bowl, mix well. Add tofu and stir, cover and let marinate for a few hours or overnight and serve using a slotted spoon.