Mediterranean Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf

Mark Reinfeld

Mark Reinfeld

Mark Reinfeld has more than 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw food cuisine. He specializes in vegan and raw food recipe development and offers vegan cuisine workshops, trainings and retreats internationally. He is the multiple award-winning founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurant.

Mark received his initial culinary training from his grandfather, Ben Bimstein, a renowned chef and ice carver in New York City. In 1997, Mark formed the Blossoming Lotus Personal Chef Service in Malibu, California. To further his knowledge of the healing properties of food, he earned a Masters Degree in Holistic Nutrition.

His first cookbook, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine, coauthored with Bo Rinaldi, including “Cookbook of the Year,” “Best New Cookbook,” “Best Book by a Small Press” and a Gourmand Award for “Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA.” In addition Mark coauthored Taste of the East, The 30 Minute Vegan and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw. He is currently working on his fifth cookbook, The 30-Minute Vegan’s Taste of Europe.

Recipe Introduction

I was deeply moved when Vegan.com called on me to create my ultimate vegan entree. After a great deal of thought as to the sort of dish that would be most worthy to offer, I created this one for several reasons.

Mediterranean Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf

First, it is an innovative and colorful dish with several layers of delicious flavor and great texture that lends itself to many variations. Its wonderful to prepare if you want to turn people on to tofu’s culinary potential.

But the main reason I chose this dish is that it’s what I think of as a “template recipe.” These are recipes that once you understand the basic concept, you can create countless variations by altering the different components of the dish. It is the technique that I emphasize in the 10-day Vegan Fusion Cuisine Immersions that I offer around the country as well as in the online vegan chef training I developed with my partner Bo Rinaldi.

This Mediterranean Pistachio Crusted Tofu with Saffron Quinoa Pilaf is a perfect example of a template recipe. By altering any of the component parts you can create a new dish.

  • Tofu component – The tofu can be replaced with tempeh, or portobello mushrooms, eggplant or zucchini steaks.
  • Marinade component – You can alter the marinade by adding additional ingredients such as maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, brown rice vinegar, mirin, curry paste, or your favorite fresh herbs.
  • Tahini spread component – You can replace the tahini with almond butter, peanut butter or other nut butter. Replace the lemon with lime juice. Add additional ingredients such as minced garlic, ginger, or various ethnic spices.
  • Crust component – The pistachio nuts can be replaced with any nut or seed such as macadamias, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds. These can be raw or roasted. You can replace the herbs with your favorites such as cilantro, basil or dill. You can also create various ethnic crusts by adding spices from various cuisines (Mexican – chile powder, cumin, oregano; Italian- basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, thyme; Indian – curry powder, cumin powder, and ground coriander).
  • Pilaf component – Replace the quinoa with other grain, including millet, any variety of rice, even brown rice pasta. Add herbs of choice to pilaf.
  • Mediterranean Vegetable component – These vegetables can be replaced with your favorites, either raw, steamed, roasted, sauteed or grilled.

So let’s get cooking! Here is the recipe for the Mediterranean Pistachio Crusted Tofu portion of the dish, and here is its accompanying Saffron Quinoa Pilaf.

See our entire Vegan Recipe of the Year 2011 feature.

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