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There's a Seat for Everybody at This Table

By Jessi Cape, Fri., Nov. 22, 2013

Dixie Tofu-Pecan Loaf

Vegan, gluten-free
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Favorites: The 250 Most-Requested, Naturally Delicious Recipes From One of America's Best-Loved Restaurants (St. Martin's Press)
Prep time: 35 min. Bake time: 40 min.
Serves 6 to 8

In a season commonly dedicated to pleasing the omnivorous among us, a meat-free main course is always a welcome addition to shared meals, particularly when it's both substantial and delicious for a variety of diets. Though Moosewood Collective is based in Ithaca, New York, their odes to vegetarian Southern comfort food have become staple recipes and regular "Blue Plate Specials." Appealing both in texture and flavor, the Dixie Tofu-Pecan Loaf proves a hearty late-fall entrée, excellent for a Thanksgiving table. The nutty flavor of toasted pecans pairs warmly with the herbal notes and creamy layers of Caramelized Onion Gravy (see recipe, p.50).

2 14- to 16-ounce blocks fresh, firm tofu, pressed at least 20 minutes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cups onions, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (more to taste)

1 cup toasted pecans

1½ cups red bell peppers, seeded and diced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (Bragg's Liquid Aminos as alternative)

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce or ketchup (optional, only if not using the Caramelized Onion Gravy; note: Stubb's line of barbecue sauces is gluten-free)

1) In a large, covered skillet on low heat, warm the oil. Add the onions, celery, salt, thyme, oregano, and red chili pepper flakes to taste, and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

2) While the onions cook, whirl the toasted pecans in a food processor until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Grate the tofu in a food processor or with a handheld grater and add to the bowl. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

3) Stir the bell peppers into the onions and herbs, cover, and cook until tender (about 5 minutes). Add to the bowl with the tofu and pecans. Stir in the mustard, parsley, soy sauce, black pepper, and barbecue sauce or ketchup. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Spread the tofu mixture evenly in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until firm and browned (about 40 minutes).

4) Serve topped with Caramelized Onion Gravy or barbecue sauce.

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