When Nava Atlas wrote to me a couple of years ago and asked if I’d consider taking the photos for her new book, Vegan Express, I recognized it as a unique opportunity to expand my photography skills and have my photos published in an actual book–a chance that wasn’t likely to ever come along again. Working with Nava, her editor, and the book’s art director was a great learning experience, but an unexpected benefit was that my family got to sample over a dozen of the recipes before the book was ever published. One of the first recipes I tried, when I was still “auditioning” for the job, was Seitan and Polenta Skillet with Fresh Greens, and it was such a hit with my husband that he was overjoyed when the art director asked me to re-shoot the photo–it meant that I’d have to make the recipe again. As it turned out, I’ve made the dish several times at my husband’s insistence, and we never get tired of it. There’s something delicious about seitan, polenta, and fresh greens, and when you season it all with balsamic vinegar and sundried tomatoes, it’s a hearty yet “haute” meal.
So a few days ago, when I needed to get a meal on the table fast and to use up some baby bok choy before it went bad, I thought of Nava’s recipe. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any seitan, and oil-packed sundried tomatoes are not on my diet, but I did have a roll of prepared polenta in the pantry and a willingness to experiment. My version, which uses marinated tofu instead of seitan, isn’t quite as quick, as easy, or as photogenic as the original, but it was still a big hit with my family. And without those oil-packed tomatoes, it’s light enough to get the seal of approval from just about any low-fat diet plan, including Weight Watchers’ Core and the McDougall Program.
Polenta and Tofu Skillet
Using reduced-fat tofu will make this even lower in fat.
- 5 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
- 14 ounces extra firm or firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, low sodium
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 5-6 baby bok choys or 1 head regular bok choy
- 1 18-ounce package prepared polenta
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Put the sundried tomatoes in a bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Set aside until soft. When they’re soft, drain the water and cut each tomato into 1/4-inch slices.
- Mix the soy sauce, water, garlic, and balsamic vinegar together. Cut the tofu in half lengthwise, and slice each half into 1/2-inch rectangles. Put the tofu into a ziplock bag, pour the marinade over it, and turn gently to coat. Let it marinate while you prepare the bok choy and polenta.
- Cut off the end of each head of bok choy so that the stalks are separated and wash them well to remove all dirt and grit. Slice the stalks and leaves into 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick slices. Set aside until needed.
- Cut the polenta into 1/2-inch slices and cut each slice into 4 wedges. Heat a non-stick skillet (lightly sprayed with olive oil, if you’re worried about sticking); once it is hot, add the polenta in a single layer. Cook until lightly browned on one side, and then turn over and brown the other side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Keep the skillet hot.
- Lift the tofu out of the marinade and place it in the hot skillet. Cook until just beginning to brown and then turn it over. Put the bok choy on top of the tofu and pour the vegetable broth, oregano, basil, and reserved marinade over the greens. Cover tightly and steam until the greens begin to wilt. Stir in the sundried tomatoes and polenta and cook, covered, just long enough for the stalks to get tender-crisp, about 1-2 minutes. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste, and serve with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 25 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 206 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (31% calories from fat); 15g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 885mg Sodium; 4g Fiber. Weight Watchers Core/ 4 Flex Points.