Makes about 1 to 1¼ cups
This is the vegetarian “ground beef” that you have been looking for. Just fry or bake Perfect Crumbled Tofu for vegan and gluten free “beef”.
Vegetarians are frequently looking for a substitute for ground beef in their meals. Hopefully this will meet that need. This recipe was developed as a replacement for fried ground beef or beef crumbles. It took some time to evolve and included some disappointing results before we came up with this final version. Originally it was added to Spaghetti Sauce to give it a little texture and boost its protein content. What we use it in mostly now is Chili with Tofu, Goulash with Tofu, and lasagne. It will also be used in the next post for Chili with Tofu and Canned Beans. "Ground Beef" Tofu freezes very well so that any leftovers can be frozen and used later. It is difficult to tell the difference once it has been added to a recipe. The frozen tastes just like the freshly made. That's why it is useful to make as much at one time as possible and freeze the extra.
If you would rather bake the tofu than fry it, you can scroll down to the bottom of the page where I have included instructions on how to bake the crumbled tofu.
Fried "Ground Beef" Tofu
1. Place a frying pan over medium-low heat or heat a skillet to 275º. Spread the 1½ Tablespoons olive oil over the bottom of the pan and add all of the 1½ cups Crumbled Tofu. Spread the tofu out to an even thickness in the pan and sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt over the top.
2. Cover the pan and increase the heat to medium-high or 325º. Cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.
3. Remove the lid and stir the tofu with a spatula making sure that you break up any large pieces. Scrape and loosen any tofu that may be sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cover the tofu and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
4. Remove the cover, stir, and break up any large pieces again. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
5. Continue this process for a total of about 30 minutes. Placing the cover on the pan helps to keep the tofu from becoming too crisp.
6. Stir in 2 Tablespoons water when done. Cover and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes before using. This last step helps to keep the tofu from becoming too dry.
How to Bake "Ground Beef" Tofu
I know that some readers will want to know if they can bake the crumbled tofu instead of frying it, so I gave it a try. I was quite surprised to find out that it worked very well. The flavor is slightly different without the oil but it still has a meaty texture.
1½ cups Perfect Crumbled Tofu from the previous post.
½ teaspoon salt
1. Gently mix the salt into the crumbled tofu. Spread the crumbled tofu out in an even layer on a baking sheet. Please notice that you will not need to use parchment paper or nonstick spray. Virtually none of the tofu will stick to the pan. I used a Nordic Ware® Bakers Quarter Sheet pan. I can't say enough good things about these pans. They are thicker than your regular cookie sheet so that they do not buckle when they are put into a hot oven. They also make a Bakers Half Sheet pan.
2. Place the tofu in a preheated 350º oven. Let it bake undisturbed for 10 minutes. Then scrape and stir the tofu with a spatula so that some of the tofu that was on the bottom is brought up to the top. Spread out evenly again when done.
3. Let bake again for 10 more minutes. Flip and stir the tofu again.
Continue to bake and stir every 10 minutes.
4. I usually bake the tofu for a total of 35 minutes. You can bake it for anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, depending on how brown you would like your "ground beef." Do not bake it for more than 40 minutes because it will become too dry and crunchy.
So there you have it; vegetarian "ground beef" tofu. I have used this to prepare chili and goulash for several potluck gatherings. Many of the guests who did not know that they were vegetarian dishes thought that it was real beef. Good luck and enjoy.
Welcome to my world of vegetarian cooking. My name is Rev. McKinney. The purpose of this blog is to show you that adopting a vegetarian diet does not have to be a traumatic experience.
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