Updated: Jul 28
Recently, I received a lovely subscription box from Raw Spice Bar, because, well—spices. Gram for gram, spices and herbs pack more nutrition than any other food. Plus, when used in the right amounts, they help to create the most flavorful meals, making your taste buds and belly very happy. What's more, when you use more spice you need less salt. A little bit of salt can enhance the flavor of spices, but not much salt is needed to complement the spice.
This month I received a Jamaican Jerk salt free seasoning for rubs. Being vegan, my first thoughts were clearly not on meat, but, instead, all the veggies that would taste delicious with this rub! Jerk seasoning could make anything yummy—tofu, seitan, tempeh, mushrooms, eggplant, jackfruit and winter veggies. Earlier in the week I purchased beautiful-looking carrots from the local farmers market. To be honest, I'm not a big carrot fan, but, when cooked, they offer so much nutrition because of their high carotenoid content, so I try to add them to meals when possible. This was the perfect opportunity to use them.
My house smelled amazing for hours after cooking this meal! Yesterday was a gloomy, rainy day in Atlanta so the aroma of jerk seasoning baking in the oven brightened our home and was reminiscent of being on an island (#dreams). The spice was crazy delicious, but be warned hot and spicy-sensitive folks, on a scale from 1-5 it was about a 3.5 on the heat scale.
You could easily use tempeh, seitan or jackfruit in place of the tofu and other root veggies like sweet potato, squash or parsnips. Experiment and have fun!
Makes 2-4 servings
Tofu and Carrots
8-12 ounces firm or extra firm tofu, pressed for 1-2 hours, cut length-wise into 8-10 pieces*
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
3 Tbsp coconut or olive oil
*wrap paper towels around the tofu, place on a plate then place heavy object(s) on top like a book or pan to squeeze out the water. I typically let it sit for 1-2 hours if there is time.
2 cups cooked brown or black rice rice (I typically precook rice or other whole grain for the week and keep in the fridge to easily grab it for meals like this.)
1 Tbsp coconut oil or water to prevent sticking
1/2 cup shredded coconut
squeeze 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pineapple, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1/4 cup diced jalapeño (HEAT ALERT! Use 1/4 cup for extra spicy, 1-2 Tbsp for spice and no jalapeno for no spice.)
3/4 cup red pepper, chopped
3/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
squeeze 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
How to Make
Tofu and Carrots
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or spray with oil to prevent sticking. Both the carrots and the tofu can go on one sheet if they can fit.
Set the 8-10 pieces of tofu aside on a plate.
Place cut carrots in a small bowl.
In another small bowl, add 3 Tbsp oil and 2-4 Tbsp water (or use all water if oil free). Add 4 Tbsp Jamaican Jerk season to the liquid and mix.
Brush the jerk seasoning on both sides of the tofu. Lay the slices of tofu on one side of the baking sheet. Sprinkle with a little sea salt on one or both sides.
Add the remaining jerk seasoning to the carrots and stir to fully coat the carrots. Spread evening on the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Bake on 400 degrees for 20 minutes, turning the tofu over half way in between.
While the tofu and carrots are baking, make the pineapple salsa.
In a medium size bowl, add all of the salsa ingredients, sprinkle a little sea salt (add to your liking by tasting the salsa. I added about 1/4 tsp salt.)
In a wok or stove top pan, add 1-2 Tbsp water or coconut oil, heat on medium.
Add the rice, coconut and lime.
Sprinkle sea salt and pepper to taste. I used about 1/4 tsp salt.
Plate the dish. Scoop the rice onto a plate. Top it with tofu strips, carrots and pineapple salsa and enjoy. Warning, this dish is bursting with flavor!