Tal Ronnen, author of The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat, has taken the world of vegan cooking and vegan food and shown how delicious, beautiful and easy it can be. The Conscious Cook was a top selling cookbook for weeks and Tal Ronnen has been the personal chef for many famous celebrities (Oprah Winfrey, Kathy Freston and Ellen DeGeneres just to name a few). If you are looking for vegan or meatless recipes, Tal Ronnen is the answer to your prayers! One of my favorite recipes from his book is the one for his Old Bay Tofu Cakes, which is a faux or meatless crab cake (maybe it should be called a fishless crab cake!). Here is my take on his recipe (although I really just have a few minor changes that I will point out!):
Ingredients for Horseradish Cream:
- 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 1/2 TB horseradish (I use Gold’s horseradish)
- 3/4 cup The Conscious Cook’s cashew cream
- 1 lemon
- salt / pepper
Ingredients for Tofu Cakes:
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 1 sheet nori seaweed
-2 TB canola oil
- 2 pounds firm tofu
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 TB Old Bay seasoning
- 2 1/2 TB cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 lime
Ingredients for Apples and Beets:
- 1 beet
- 1 fuji apple (I substituted another variety, a Pink Lady Apple, and it turned out just fine!)
- 1 TB olive oil
- 2 TB balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 TB Old Bay seasoning
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup plain soy milk (NOT sweetened… make sure it is plain, not vanilla!)
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- salt and pepper
- The Conscious Cook’s Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables Recipe
1. Mix together all of the ingredients for the horseradish cream, and pop it into the fridge.
2. Put a dash of salt into your pan and heat for about a minute (over medium heat). Then add 2 TB canola oil. After this has warmed up for about 30 seconds, you will see that nothing will stick to your pan (GREAT tip Tal Ronnen!!!).
3. Drop in the carrots and onions and cook for about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic and let it cook for another minute.
4. While the carrot, onion, garlic mixture cools, toast the nori sheets carefully over your stove top (keep moving it so that it does not burn and so that all of it gets evenly toasted). I do not have a mortar and pestle, a coffee grinder or a spice grinder (like Tal suggests), but I found it worked just fine to put it into a food processor.
5. Put into a food processor your carrot / onion / garlic mixture (that should be totally cooled off by this point), the toasted nori that you made above, 1 TB salt and all of the ingredients left for the tofu cakes. At this point, I did something a bit different than Tal. Even though I got extra firm tofu, I find it to still retain a lot of liquid and to generally work better if you cover it in towels and apply pressure to get out as much liquid as possible.
6. Put the tofu cake mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, add your beets to your pan and cover completely with water. Add 2 TB balsamic vinegar and bring the whole mixture to a boil.
8. Cook the beets for around 25 minutes, or until a fork can easily stab the beets.
9. Remove the beets, peel and dice them.
10. Dice the apple and add it to the beets. Sprinkle salt, pepper and oil on top and toss the mixture.
11. If you have ever breaded chicken (or anything really), you will use the same technique here. Put the bread crumbs, Old Bay and 1 tsp of salt and pepper in one bowl. Place the soy milk in another bowl.
12. Create 12 tofu crab cakes out of your cold tofu cake mix.
13. Dunk each crab cake in the soy milk bowl (on both sides), then drop it into the bread crumb bowl (coating both sides).
14. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and put the tofu crab cakes (coated in the bread crumb mix) onto the sheet.
15. Place the cookie sheet of tofu crab cakes in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or until firm).
16. Use the same method of heating up a pinch of salt, adding some oil, and heating it further (to create the non-stick layer).
17. Cook the crab cakes (the oil should come up to about the middle of your tofu cakes). I tried half of my crab cakes using this method and the other half I cooked in an oven at 350 degrees, flipping in between… and both methods tasted great!
18. To plate these tofu crab cakes, place a layer of Pan-Roasted Summer Vegetables first, then place two tofu crab cakes on top of the veggies, and finish it off with the apples and beets on top and a little of the horseradish cream.