Last night I made a dish with two ingredients that I don’t like very much, and it turned out so delicious that my husband is insisting that I make it every week, and my daughter, who doesn’t like three-fourths of the ingredients, ate every bite.
If you take a look at the title up there, you already know what the dish is. But what are the two ingredients I’m not so fond of? Spaghetti squash and frozen tofu.
Try as I might to like spaghetti squash, I’ve just never been a big fan. Sure it looks sort of like spaghetti, but it tastes nothing like it. In fact, it usually doesn’t have much taste at all, just a texture that varies from mushy to semi-crunchy depending on the individual squash and how it’s cooked. I’ve always wanted to like it because it’s so much better for you than pasta, but after the last time I cooked it, I just decided to leave it alone for a while, until last week when I saw a pretty striped one at the farmers’ market and picked it up on a whim.
As for frozen tofu, I don’t really dislike it, but I do think it requires the right recipe. As you probably know, freezing tofu changes its texture totally. It goes from being smooth and tender to spongy and chewy. If you freeze it not knowing that the texture changes and then try to use it in a recipe that calls for regular tofu, you’re liable to have a disaster on your hands. But in the right recipe, frozen tofu is really wonderful. It sucks up the sauce and flavors of a dish and provides a great chewy texture. I love it in jambalaya, and now I’ve found another great use for it in this recipe.
To begin this dish, I first prepared the spaghetti squash in a way I hadn’t before. In the past, I’ve sped up the cooking of the squash by microwaving it or steaming it. This time I roasted it, and the taste was much, much better. I still couldn’t sit down and eat a whole plate of it without a sauce on top, but it made the perfect foundation for the cacciatore, a rustic Italian-style stew.
Roasting the squash takes a little while so I recommend doing it earlier in the day, if possible, or at least starting it before you make the cacciatore. I followed the technique here, and I cooked it for about an hour. I think the cooking time depends on the individual squash, so be sure to cook yours until it is completely tender.
Tofu and Vegetable Cacciatore
- 1 package tofu 14-16 ounces firm or extra-firm tofu, frozen and thawed (see note)
- 1 large onion coarsely chopped
- 1 bell pepper coarsely chopped (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 green)
- 1 carrot coarsely chopped
- 3 cups eggplant coarsely chopped (about 1 small globe or two Japanese eggplants)
- 3-4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup white wine see note
- 1 cup vegetable broth I used fatfree “chicken-style” bouillon
- 1 6- ounce can tomato paste
- 1 14- ounce can diced tomatoes canned
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- generous grating of fresh black pepper
- Defrost the tofu and squeeze as much liquid as possible out of it. Squeeze it gently so that it doesn’t tear. A little liquid left inside will not hurt this dish. Cut into cubes about 1/2-inch thick. (Frozen tofu tends to expand when cooked, so err on the side of smallness.)
- Heat a large non-stick pot and saute the onion until it begins to turn golden. Add the rest of the vegetables, cover, and cook for about 5 more minutes at medium heat, stirring every minute. Add tofu and the white wine, and cook uncovered for about 1 minute.
- Combine the broth and the tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add it, the tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients to the pan. Stir well and turn heat very low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Serve over spaghetti squash, pasta, rice, or potatoes.
- I freeze tofu the quick and easy way. I simply take the unopened box of tofu and put it in the freezer for at least 24 hours. When I’m ready to use it, I either put it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw or thaw it in the microwave. Then I remove it from the water and gently squeeze it between my hands to get out as much water as possible. (You will be amazed how much there is!) This is a great way to use tofu that is about to reach its expiration date; it will stay good in the freezer for months.
- The white wine gives this dish a great flavor, but if you don’t have any, a light red wine will do. If you don’t want to use alcohol, substitute the same amount of vegetable broth.
- Finally, you can substitute the frozen tofu with baked or pan-fried tofu if you’d like, but frozen tofu is much easier.
- Nutrition facts do not include spaghetti squash.
- This recipe qualifies as zero smart points on WW Freestyle program if you use a fat-free broth and replace the tomato paste with tomato sauce. With the paste it is 1 point.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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SusanVJanuary 13, 2011 at 2:51 pm
Here are the old comments that got left behind when the blog moved from Blogger to WordPress:
Blogger S. said…
You don’t happen to have any good soup recipes that use mashed Pumpkin do you? I roasted a beautiful Pumpkin yesterday and I really want to use it in soup. I’m thinking a bisque possibly?
3:55 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger Courtney said…
I just put a box of tofu in the freezer yesterday because I had no idea what to do with it and it was getting near the expiration date–now I know what to use it for! Thanks! And I love spaghetti squash–I am glad that you found a way that you (kind of) enjoy it too!
3:55 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger SusanV said…
S., I really like this Mexican Pumpkin Soup: https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/01/mexican-pumpkin-soup-and-garlicky.html. When I have fresh pumpkin, that’s what I like to make!
5:03 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger Coppe said…
I hadn’t heard of spaghetti squash before reading this (perhaps it’s not that well-known outside the US?) and I’m not sure I could find it.
The cacciatore sounds flavourful enough to work without it, though. If only because I’m wooed by the swanky Italian name, I’m making this tomorrow.
6:48 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger Lydia said…
I never knew that you could freeze tofu. This recipe looks delicious — and isn’t it fun when you introduce your family to new tastes? Thanks for the recipe.
8:13 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger SusanV said…
S, here’s another good pumpkin soup recipe: https://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/11/pumpkin-and-roasted-corn-soup.html
9:38 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger Nabeela said…
I tried my hand at spaghetti squash once…and let’s just say the experience wasn’t too good. I’m still hesitant to try it!
10:07 PM, October 21, 2007
Blogger LadyRachelLynn said…
I do not like squash, as a general rule. And I am very hesitant to try new squashes. However, I have found that all squashes’ flavors greatly improve when roasted and cooked in the oven rather than any other method.
Now, for some reason I have 3 acorn squashes in my house…..thinking….what to do what to do… any ideas?
1:01 AM, October 22, 2007
Anonymous Anonymous said…
Will you come out with a Fatfree Cookbook???
We need more ETL friendly cookbooks out there!
2:12 AM, October 22, 2007
Blogger A kitchen scientist & a white rat hubby!!! said…
nice blog, susan!!
5:14 AM, October 22, 2007
Blogger The Veggie Cookster said…
Looks delicious! 🙂
10:00 AM, October 22, 2007
Blogger VeggieGirl said…
wow, this Tofu and Vegetable Cacciatore dish looks divine – I absolutely LOVE spaghetti squash, and use it quite often, so this recipe looks like a fabulous way to incorporate my favorite squash variety!
10:11 AM, October 22, 2007
Blogger VeggieGirl said…
by the way, I just received the latest issue of VegNews magazine, in the mail – YOU WON FOR FAVORITE VEG BLOG!!! congratulations, Susan!!! :0D
6:01 PM, October 22, 2007
Blogger SusanV said…
Wow, are you sure?! I mean…woohoo…I’m speechless (writeless?) I can’t believe it! Thanks so much for letting me know, veggiegirl!
6:39 PM, October 22, 2007
Blogger Ashasarala said…
That looks delicious. I know what you mean about freezing tofu. I like to freeze it when I make my tuna salad recipe. It gives it a ‘meatier’ consistency.
I’ve never even tasted spaghetti squash before. Now I need to try some!
8:44 AM, October 23, 2007
Blogger aimee said…
Just got the latest Vegnews! Congrats on your win!
12:36 PM, October 23, 2007
Blogger bazu said…
Susan, you are a woman after my own heart! Your meals always look just perfect- I like (not love) spaghetti squash, and this cacciatore would take it to a whole new dimension for me. (Usually I just throw spaghetti squash into soups for lack of better ideas!)
10:49 PM, October 23, 2007
Anonymous KathyF said…
I’m with you on spaghetti squash. But then nothing could ever measure up to real pasta, could it?
Congrats on the Best Blog! I concur!
7:10 AM, October 24, 2007
Anonymous mare said…
Fatfree Vegan won? Like there was any worthy contender?!
7:12 PM, October 30, 2007
Blogger jenh said…
This recipe looks wonderful, my Italian step-mother always made Chicken Cacciatore for us. Susan, have you ever tried a spicy marinara sauce with sauted mushrooms over spaghetti squash, sprinkled with rice parmesan? It is so good! I make it all the time. Congrats on your award, I could not be fat free vegan without your inspiring blog/recipes!! Thank you!
11:03 PM, January 06, 2008
Anonymous moonwatcher said…
This is really delicious! Like you, I am not a big fan of spaghetti squash, and I had never used frozen tofu before, but it looked and sounded good, so I took the plunge,, and the results are very tasty. Thanks for feeding me again. . .:)
11:26 PM, April 19, 2008
Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a DayJanuary 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm
That looks sooo good!
kirsty wellcoatJanuary 14, 2011 at 12:10 pm
Paul McCartney is looking for a new recipe to use in future Linda McCartney products. I think he needs a tofu dish and this sounds fab! Have a look on his website for the competition? A dish that can be added to say noodles or pasta etc? All of the dishes are frozen convenience foods and are vegan/veggie. Going to try this one.. thanks, Kirsty
ClaudiaMay 1, 2011 at 6:41 pm
Susan, Could you tell me what brand of white wine you used for this? I am not knowledgeable about wines and don’t know what sort of a white wine it should be, such as sweet or dry, etc. Thanks!
SusanVMay 1, 2011 at 8:23 pm
I usually use a dry wine like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, but you can use any wine that you like to drink.
ClaudiaMay 2, 2011 at 12:09 pm
Susan, thanks for letting me know what you used. We actually don’t drink wine at all, so I can’t go by what kind I like to drink! Anyway… I just wanted to try it with the wine because you said it gave it a nice flavor. I am planning to make this with some local morel mushrooms that I’m just trying for the first time. I’ve got the tofu in the freezer already but its been less than 24 hours so far. Thanks again.
Andrea BaileyOctober 30, 2013 at 6:45 am
everything you said about spaghetti squash is so true. this recipe was wonderful, thanks so much. I can now eat spaghetti squash again. Also my husband who is VERY picky really liked it and took the leftovers for lunch. It’s the first time I’ve seen him eat eggplant and mushrooms and not just pick them out. Thanks
CassieJuly 21, 2016 at 9:20 pm
This looks so yummy! I know it’s an old recipe but I think tofu, eggplant and tomato sauce go phenomenal together!
Tandem GraceAugust 6, 2018 at 8:45 pm
I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I used tempeh instead of tofu and served it atop zoodles, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly. The only change I’ll make in the future is to brown the tempeh or tofu cubes before I put them in with the veggies just to give it that extra boost of flavor. This would be really good atop some sautéed polenta too.
Tamsen GraceAugust 6, 2018 at 8:47 pm
Sigh I just realized I made my previous post as Tandem Grace. It’s Tamsen not Tandem. Autocorrect 🙄