Vegan Tofu Spaghetti
Looking to reduce your meat intake? This Vegan Tofu Spaghetti is rich in flavour and won’t have you missing any meat.
Less than 1% of Australian kids eat the recommended amount of vegetables each day! Besides vegetables, meat is the next most common food to be rejected by kids.
So what are parents to do?
Do we fold and stop serving them, hide them where possible or find another way to include them into their diet? A rich tomato pasta sauce is one of the easiest way to disguise vegetables. While I believe in exposing your kids to vegetables and serving them in whole form as much as often, hiding vegetables is an effective way to increase their intake without causing too much fuss.
This Vegan Tofu Spaghetti was inspired by a dish served at my son’s primary school canteen. It’s a great alternative to a meat-based spaghetti Bolognese pasta. The tofu adds the meaty texture while being a good source of protein for kids who don’t like the taste of meat or opt for a plant-based diet. Tofu also contains important nutrients such as calcium and manganese.
As some tofu is made of genetically modified (GMO) soybeans, I prefer to opt for organic tofu which you can find at most supermarkets or health food stores.
You can make a large batch of this Vegan Tofu Spaghetti sauce and freeze for when you don’t have the time to cook. I also increase the nutrient-density of this meal by using 50% pulse pasta instead of a flour-based product and 50% zucchini noodles. It’s a simple swap that will help reduce your child’s intake of refined foods and increase their vegetable consumption.
If you try this Vegan Tofu Spaghetti recipe please let me know!
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Vegan Tofu Spaghetti
Prep time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 35 mins
Serves: 6-8 child sized serves
- 450g firm organic tofu
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for pan
- 700g tomato passata
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
- 2 carrots, grated
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 4 button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Large handful of spinach or silverbeet leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- cooked pasta of choice (see note)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- In a baking dish, crumble the tofu into small pieces. Add the nutritional yeast, paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne peper, Worcestershire sauce and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Combine with a spoon until tofu is well coated in the spice mixture.
- Place in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes or until browned and crunchy.
- Meanwhile, start on the tomato sauce. Heat a deep saucepan oven medium-heat. Drizzle with olive oil before adding the onion and celery. Sauté until transparent and lightly browned. Add the grated carrot, zucchini and mushrooms, cooking for a further 2 minutes.
- Pour in the passata and tomato paste. Stir well and bring to the boil before turning down to a low simmer. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until tofu is cooked.
- Remove tofu from the oven and set aside. Add the spinach or sliverbeet leaves and crushed garlic into the sauce. Stir until greens are wilted. Using a barmix or blender, puree the sauce until smooth.
- Stir through the baked tofu and combine with the pasta.
In choosing pasta, look for a wholemeal or spelt pasta or try my favourite - a pulse pasta. These typically have a higher fibre and protein content and are gluten-free. I opt for 50% pasta and 50% zucchini noodles for an extra boost of vegetables.