Thursday, January 12, 2012

Orzo with Roasted Garlic Thyme Vegetables & Tofu

A couple of weeks ago we were lucky enough to spend some time housesitting for new friends who live in the country north of Montreal. Remember the Get Rid of Your Sugar Sugar Scrub? Well the gorgeous bathtub in the photos belonged to this house. The owners of this home, Julie and Stephan, were also the ones who gifted us with the beautiful winter squash we used to make this Delicata Squash and Pear Salad, all before I even met them. Thank you Julie and Stephan!

It was a beautiful, quiet, relaxing break from the city, and a lovely way to bring in the new year. We spent the majority our days snow shoeing, cross country skiing, trying to get our car started, playing bananagrams (best game ever), and eating like farm hands. This meal was concocted to feed three hungry beasts with great big appetites, and it definitely satisfied. You could probably feed 4-5 normal people with these amounts, or two with ample leftovers.

Don’t be daunted by the multiple steps. This dish can actually come together quite nicely in an hour, including baking time, especially if you marinate the tofu ahead of time. Marinate the tofu in the morning, or the night before, and the rest of the execution is a snap.


1 block firm tofu 
1 garlic bulb - that’s right; THE ENTIRE BULB 
8 to 12 sprigs of fresh thyme 
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil 
1-2 heads broccoli 
1 red onion 
1 bunch asparagus 
2 red peppers* 

2 cups Orzo - about 1/3 cup dry, per person 
1 cup chopped parsley 
Juice of one lemon 

3 T olive, sunflower, or coconut oil 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
2 T fresh tyme 
3 T tamari 
4 T water or vegetable stock 
1 T honey, agave, or maple syrup 
1 big pinch to 1 tsp red pepper flakes 

Lemon or lime wedges to serve

*Feel free to substitute vegetables, but choose things that have roughly the same cooking time 

  • Rinse the tofu and slice into 1/4 inch thick slabs 
  • Press between clean towels to absorb as much moisture as possible 
  • Whisk together the marinade 
  • Coat the tofu and set aside to marinate for at least 40 minutes (turning once) up to 48 hours. The longer the better. 
  • Clean the bulb of garlic (minus the cloves that you used for the tofu marinade).  I find that the easiest way to do this is to cut off the butt, then smash each clove under the flat blade of your knife (hitting it with the heel of your hand).  Then remove the papery skin.
  • Place the cloves in a large mixing bowl along with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a big pinch of salt, and the loosely picked thyme sprigs 
  • Wash and chop the vegetables, keeping it simple by leaving them in big pieces.  Use the inside of the broccoli stem!  Just peel off the rough outside, and chop the tender inside flesh into long fat strips. 
  • Heat the oven to 350 and line two baking sheets with foil.
  • Toss the vegetables in the oil, garlic, thyme mixture and spread evenly on the prepared baking sheets, alongside the marinated tofu.
  • Bake until vegetables soften, and the edges of the vegetables and tofu start to brown - about 35 minutes, flipping the tofu once.
  • While the vegetables and tofu roast, prepare the orzo.
  • Orzo is a small, rice shaped pasta and is cooked just like pasta.  Bring salted water to a boil, add orzo, cook until al dente (about 8-10 minutes), drain, rinse lightly.
  • Return to cooking bowl and stir in one cup of chopped parsley, a dash of olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and a little salt and pepper to taste.

Family style!  Pile the huge mound of seasoned orzo in the middle of your biggest serving dish.  Place half of the tofu on each side so that everyone can get to it, and put all the vegetables in the middle.  Serve with lemon or lime wedges and remember:  whoever eats the fastest gets the most.

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