Mahir and I enjoy having friends over for casual weeknight dinners. Scheduling during the weekends can be hard with everyone’s packed schedules, and a weeknight is an easy way to catch up without making the meeting into a drawn out affair. We have a lot of vegetarian friends, and I’m always hard pressed to come up with creative meal ideas that will satisfy non-meat eaters and carnivores alike. I was browsing through recipe books one day on a hunt, but nothing appealed so I turned to Susan for help. In classic Susan style, she had several tasty ideas, but this one jumped out the most. Our guests love it and so do the three of us- when it was 42 degrees last week in New York, I made a big batch that lasted us several meals. And, for those who can’t go without with animal protein in their meal, you can substitute flank steak bits or chicken breast cubes for the tofu. ~Shivani
1 14 ounce packet of firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 medium red onions, cut into medium chunks
1 large carrot or two medium carrots, peeled and cut into medium-sized chunks
4 large stalks of celery, cut into medium-sized chunks
1 8 ounce package button mushrooms, halved
1 15 ounce can diced, unsalted tomatoes
1 bay leaf
a generous splash of red wine
2 teaspoons dried basil or 1/2 cup loosely backed fresh basil leaves, torn
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Up to 1 cup of water
salt and pepper, to taste
chopped flat leaf parsley
red chili flakes, to taste (optional)
Heat oil on medium heat in a large non-stick sauce pan or cooking pan that has some depth.
Saute onions until slightly brown(about 10 minutes)
Add in the rest of the ingredients, stir well, cover and simmer on low for 40 to 50 minutes. For a thicker stew use less water. If you like a more soupy consistency, use more.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
Top with parsley and enjoy.
Serve on top of brown rice or quinoa or with a crusty whole- wheat roll.