I love chicken parm, but am concerned by the way it’s prepared and the amount of salt and fat in chicken parm, so I thought of making fake chicken parm using tofu – I know there are fake chicken products out there – but what they lake in trans fat, cholesterol, and calories, they more than make up for in sodium. So I decided to make homemade fake chicken.
I serve the fake chicken parmesan with whole wheat pasta – I used penne.
1 package of firm tofu, sliced into 1/2″ slices. Pat them dry.
1/4 cup of your favorite mustard – I like anything with horseradish
2 cups of bread crumbs – I used homemade whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
For the marinara sauce:
1 celery, diced finely
1/4 onion, diced finely
1/2 carrot, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tbl of tomato paste
Handful of chopped basil
Handful of chopped Italian or flat leaf parsley
Handful of chopped green onion - only the green parts
1/2 cup of dry red wine
2 cups of water
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce with no salt added
salt and pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 tbl of olive oil
1/2 package of the pasta of your choice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Take your tofu and pat dry and press into the mustard. Then dredge in the bread crumbs and set on the lined backing sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices. Let the coating dry for a bit by letting it sit for about 10 minutes. Then place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes.
While the tofu is baking, start the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Sprinkle some hot pepper flakes and throw in the celery, onion, and carrot and stir, cooking and letting the vegetables release their liquid and steam. Stir continuously, and vegetables will soften. Cook for about 10 minutes and add the tomato paste and stir, making sure the vegetables are coated in the paste and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until a deep fond develops on the bottom of the pan. Pour in the wine a little at a time, and scrap the bottom of the pan, breaking up the brown bits. Add the garlic and stir, cooking until the wine cooks away and you have a sludge-like paste. Add the green onion, parsley and basil and stir. Add the tomato sauce and the water and mix. Raise to high heat and bring to boil. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens and reduces about about a third. Grind some pepper and sprinkle some salt and mix. Lower the heat to low, and let it simmer for about 10, 15 minutes.
While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta according to the package’s direction, shaving off a few minutes.
After about 25 minutes, check on the tofu – Sprinkle some parmesan cheese – just a touch – and place the tofu under the broiler and let the cheese brown – this will take about 2, 3 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.
Drain the pasta. Scoop some marinara sauce on the pasta and serve with the tofu slices - be careful how you plate the tofu, because the breading won’t stay on like traditional chicken parmesan. Oh, and enjoy.
*** for dessert, I had a banana, but I also had a small scoop of Häagen-Dazs blackberry Cabernet sorbet, which was very nice. ***