Get toasty with Southwestern Vegan Chipotle Shakshuka!
Baby it is cold outside!
So I have been really struggling with what recipe I wanted to feature for Vegan Farm Stand's first blog post and fueled with inspiration by the sudden chill here in the northeast, coupled by this adorable rendition of one of my favorite songs, I suddenly stumbled on the perfect dish for this frigid holiday season.
I knew that it had to be global fusion, my own take on a recipe, seasonally sensitive, and one that made me stay up at night so excited to post about. So I present to you...Southwestern Chipotle Vegan Shakshuka. It is even Gluten Free. I kind of forgot about Shakshuka. It was in rotation prior to my becoming vegan, when I was vegetarian and ate eggs, but it took an incident in class yesterday to get me to make it vegan.
So the other day one of my Tunisian students and I were speaking about Francophone food. As he is from the northern part of Africa, we ended up rhapsodizing about Shakshuka. Shakshuka is a tomato, egg, and onion dish that starts on the stove and ends in the oven. It originated in Tunisia and Libya and was brought to Israel https://theculturetrip.com/middle-east/israel/articles/how-shakshuka-israels-famous-breakfast-dish-took-the-world-by-storm/. There are as many different variations as there are different spellings of the dish, and I am sure they are all equally delicious.
My original plan had been just to play around with a version from the past (New York Times) and switch out the eggs for pressed tofu, the sweet paprika for smoked, add yellow pepper and carrots to "eat the rainbow" and maybe throw in some artichoke hearts per the article above. But as I was planning this I had a realization: my dearly loved and favorite Trader Joe's taco packet spice mix has smoked paprika, cumin, chipotle peppers...and just like that I remembered the chipotle in adobo I had from making these the other day (https://minimalistbaker.com/6-layer-mexican-pinwheels/) and I was like; bingo Southwestern Vegan Chipotle Shakshuka! Then my head was swirling with images: Southwestern Shakshuka over polenta with avocado and tofu sour cream, or over corn bread (with avo), or with refried beans added and gas-grilled corn tortillas (with avo). Basically avocado is my exception to seasonal eating.
I was so excited that I texted my neighbor/recipe guinea pig upstairs this message: "Please tell me that you have an avocado because I just invented Southwestern Chipotle Vegan Shakshuka. Could you come down in an hour, it will be ready. I need a taste-tester." I had not even started the stove yet.
The end result was
umami and protein-rich
slightly sweet from the carrots and caramelized onions
cooled by a tinge of avocado
heat-producing enough to turn down the thermostat, but not enough to stop shoving it in your mouth.
So I ended up serving it that night with corn tortillas, an avocado, and some leftover refried beans. As I am flying back to San Francisco this weekend for Christmas, I can't wait to make my family brunch with this great new recipe.
Southwestern Vegan Chipotle Shakshuka
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped orange or purple carrots
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 chopped chipotle pepper pieces in adobo, plus 1-2 teaspoons sauce from the jar (2 makes it pretty spicy!)
1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
¾ teaspoon salt, more as needed
¼ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
14 ounces extra firm pressed tofu (see below for directions, tofu can press while you are preparing the base of the dish)
Chopped cilantro, for serving
Avocado for garnish
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Set up tofu to press: take tofu, place on clean dishtowel and press (https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-press-tofu-3376642)
Heat oil in a large iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrots, and bell pepper. Cook gently until very soft, about 20 minutes. Add garlic and cook until tender, 1 to 2 minutes; stir in cumin and paprika, and cook 1 minute. Pour in tomatoes and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and add the chopped chipotles with the adobo sauce; simmer until tomatoes have thickened, about 10 minutes.
Take tofu out of towel and slice into 4 equal pieces, then slice those pieces in the middle to make them 1/2 as thin (so 8 total). Here you can either use half the tofu and keep the other half for another dish, or use it all. Make small indent "nests" in the tomato with your spoon, then put one tofu piece in each one and mound the tomato around it. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until tofu is melty and a bit brown: 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with hot sauce and any of the above suggestions for sides.