Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Dinner: Spinach Tofu Risotto

Tonight we had some vegetarian friends over for dinner.  As anyone that knows me can attest, I love vegetarian food, even though I am not vegetarian.  So, I decided to make my spinach tofu risotto.  I love this dish!  This is one of those dishes that appeals to vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends alike – even those that don’t like tofu.  The trick is that the tofu is blended with some olive oil and salt into this delicious sauce that doesn’t taste anything like tofu.  In fact, it tastes more like a creamy, cheesy Alfredo-ish sauce!

I originally got this recipe from my “Giant Book of Tofu Cooking” by K. Lee & Chris Rankin.  However, I’ve made it enough times and modified it enough, that I feel fairly confident in calling it my own.

First you blend the tofu, about 1 tbsp of spinach (and squeeze some of the spinach juice out of the thawed bag of frozen spinach), 2tbsp olive oil and salt until the sauce becomes creamy and slightly green (wow typing it out, that doesn’t sound terribly appealing, but I promise you it is!).

Then you sauté the onions and garlic in the largest frying pan you have (or saucepan, whatever suits you fancy) until the onions are translucent.

Then you add the rice, spinach, black pepper and sauce.  Stir it all together and then dump everything in a lightly oiled casserole dish.  Bake it for about half an hour and voila – yumminess in one dish!  I like to add some parmesan cheese to top it off. 

(You can also keep the dish completely vegan by not adding the cheese.)

Today, one of my friends posted an interesting article in which the author finally put into written words what I have been arguing for years: that it is cheaper to cook at home than to eat fast food.  While it may seem easier to hand over hard earned cash for food that is already cooked, I will argue that it is almost always cheaper and healthier to eat at home.  The meal we ate tonight is a prime example - even I was surprised after I crunched the numbers:

Spinach Tofu Risotto

2 cloves garlic minced*

1 package firm tofu

1 bag frozen spinach (thawed)

1 onion finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp salt*

3-4 cups cooked rice
(I bought a 10 lb bag of rice at Costco for $4!)
1/4 tsp black pepper*

2 tbsp olive oil*


8 servings =
per person

Did I really do that right?  Less than 50 cents per serving???  Yes.  Yes, I did that right.  If you want to add in the Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay (which we drank entirely) and salad that we ate (which still has plenty leftover), that brings it to about $1 per person – and there is enough leftover (even after people had seconds) for me to bring lunch to work tomorrow. 

* Full disclosure, I have decided to assign a cost of 5 cents for all “stock” pantry items – i.e.  tablespoon here or there of spices or olive oil or something like that.  Unless I can quantify the exact cost (i.e. a quarter cup of olive oil, and I have on record how much I actually paid for that bottle of olive oil), in which case, I will assign the true cost of that item, of course. 


Kelly said...

Yum!!! Great culinary photography also! Is this with your droid?

Brenda Stevens Sherry said...

No - it's with my trusty pink Sony digital camera. :)