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Monday, October 15, 2012

Tofu + Kale Balls with Pasta

pasta + tofu balls

these days coming home is a dark affair, gone are the days when the rooms were well lit and warmed by the setting sun. instead, there is a disquiet quality to the air, almost resentful. when we arrive home, what i like to do is make a mad dash to our tiny kitchen, throw the light switch on to dispel the mood a little. then, dw + i, side by side, start dinner preparations, maybe laugh in low, post-dusk voices, sharing tidbits of our day to each other, all the while our respective chores are done without much thought, in unison. a dish hand dried, a pot brought to boil, csa loot being divvied up for the evening's meal.

this dish is a typical weeknight meal. pasta + protein. it's versatile because you can use any greens you have on hand, i happened to use kale, but spinach, chard, beet greens or even just parsley would work well. we don't eat much meat at home but always have tofu on hand. because tofu can be rather bland you want to be generous with the seasoning, especially if the sauce is a simple garlic + olive oil dressing. i did not keep track of measurements so what i have here is more of a guideline, and use what you have on hand or is seasonal.

once the rush & hub is done, the abode is much lighter, friendlier and the night beckons warmly for cozy in front of the tv snuggling, making the season much more bearable. life is so much better on a full stomach, yes?

this is my contribution for this week's The Food Matters Project, hosted by Matt + Claire.

Tofu + kale balls and pasta

Tofu + Kale Balls with Pasta

1 container of firm tofu
kale, as little or as much as you want, rough chopped. i usually use the entire bunch of kale
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
2 shallots or a small onion, diced
very generous sprinkling of salt/pepper for taste
red pepper flakes
handful bread or panko crumbs
olive oil to quick fry the balls and cook up the vegs

optional fillings: finely shredded carrots, cheese, nutritional yeast, the sky is pretty much the limit.

pasta, like spaghetti, prepared according to package instructions
olive oil
1 garlic clove minced

for the tofu, squeeze as much water out of it as possible. what i do is wrap the block in a kitchen towel and press a heavy pan on it for about an hour or so.

meanwhile, in a pan, heat up some olive oil. when hot add in the onions/shallots and garlic. saute until fragrant and translucent, anywhere from 3-8 minutes. add in kale (or whatever greens) and ensure the oily mixture coats the bunch thoroughly. season generously. set aside to cool.

bring a pot of water to boil.

in a mixing bowl crumble the tofu. add in the sauteed veggies, mix well. if it cool enough, use your hands. at your discretion add in the crumbs, a little at a time until you're able to shape the mixture into balls. fry them up in a bit of oil until you get a nice browning on the edges.

cook up the spaghetti. in the same saute pan toss the pasta in warmed olive oil + minced garlic. when you plate the pasta, add in the tofu balls.

36 comments:

  1. I am loving anything with kale these days. I'd love to try this!

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    1. it really is so easy to put together, you can make them into patties to make burgers...

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  2. What a great new way to use kale—which, I have to admit, I've grown a bit sick of otherwise. But the CSA keeps dropping it off, and I keep having to find new uses for it. So this will be wonderful.

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    1. i have been loving kale all summer, it is always something we grab when we do our csa pick up everything week. it's great cooked or raw, it's such an underrated veg.

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  3. This time of year does have a brooding ambiance. But I kind of enjoy it and find the grey hazy evenings oddly comforting. (Maybe it's just the remnants of my lone wolf days.) :)

    Gorgeous photos! I'd love to be able to reach in and twirl a healthy forkful of pasta. Tofu has never been kind to me flavor-wise, perhaps I just need the right recipe.

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    1. you make autumn evenings sound so romantic!

      i will admit to not loving tofu when i was a kid but it's somehow made a place in my foodie heart, the versatility of it is amazing.

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  4. what an inspiration your website is... Love this recipe, and the atmosphere coming from it :)

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  5. the balls look so yum, and I have to remind myself that it's vegetarian! I've got some Indian cottage cheese in the fridge and I can see a version of this coming up, perhaps with some scallions/spring onions accompanying the kale! Cannot wait to try it.

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    1. oh do let me know how it goes for you! it really is an easy meal to throw together and so versatile!

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  6. I love your vegetarian "meat balls"... so perfect over a nice warm bowl of pasta on a chilly evening!

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    1. thank you, i'm trying to figure out if i can incorporate these into a tomato sauce to make it even heartier...

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  7. Love the balls over pasta! Nicely done.

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  8. What can I say? These are AMAZEBALLS! I love Tofu AND Kale so I'm looking forward to trying these (like yesterday). YUM!!

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  9. I'm thrilled to have discovered your blog. I want to try every recipe ! And I have no idea what "KALE" is !! Miam Miam !!

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  10. Please stop being so talented. It's making the rest of us feel bad. (Or, feel like we're going to have to step up our game...)

    xox

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    1. you are so hilarious and sweet, thank you.

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  11. I love this idea! Kale in "meatballs"?! So fun. Will have to try my hand at these soon :)

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  12. Your photos are FABulous for the dark creeping in before you get home! This looks sooo good and you made tofu sound very appealing to me, that's a feat ;) I'm going to try it! I love this time of year, and it even much better on a full stomach like you said. I cook, though, and my husband watches.... I dont share our tiny kitchen very well yet (it's been four years). I should take a cue from you, your cooking in unison sounds positively wonderful.

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    1. confession: these were leftovers & photographed the next day, during lunch when the light was plentiful. it's how i battle autumn & winter photography blues, tho i have despaired plenty when an evening meal is so pretty but cannot be pictured...

      another confession: i used to not share my kitchen space very well. it's with concerted effort that i can work with dw simultaneously. there are times when i'm rushed and his pace is not with mine but we make it work. sometimes we laugh about it and other times i kick him out.

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  13. This is a really interesting idea, we will definitely have to try it one day!

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  14. What a cool idea! I love every single ingredient in this recipe.

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    1. and i bet you'll put a twist in it and it'll be fab!

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  15. I've never used kale to make balls, and it looks wonderful! I use tofu to make balls like these. I'll definitely add kale next time and another great idea is to eat with pasta! I love how you made this pasta and I'd love to try this one soon!

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    1. i've been obsessed with kale this year and if i can sneak it into any dish i will.

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  16. Love the idea of tofu balls. I bet they stay together a bit more easily, too. I also put kale in pretty much anything... at first my boyfriend asked what the green was and now I think he just assumes there will be random green leaves in whatever we're eating.

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  17. Made this but the balls didn't hold together well. Thoughts on where I went wrong? I skimped on pressing the tofu because I was short on time, which could have been it (?). Otherwise.... too much kale? too little / too many breadcrumbs? I am really bad at putting anything into ball or patty form :(

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    1. Marisa, im thinking the tofu was too wet? It holds alot of water. Had you added more bread crumbs or nutitional yeast it wouldve absorbed the excess moisture but the balls wouldve been dense. my other concern is if the balls are too wet & you put it in hot sizzling oil it would not keep shape or brown up.
      I hope you attempt this again, if you do, shoot me a direct message (angryasiancreations @ gmail) & we can either chat or i'll call you & we can go thru it together.

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  18. Hi there - I am brand new to tofu and bought my first container of it yesterday. I am hoping to make this recipe on Tuesday, but wondering, how much tofu did you use...exactly? The recipe says 1 container, but it would depend on how big the container is :) If you coud let me know maybe a weight or measurement of some sort, I would appreciate it! :)

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    1. Hi. I usually buy the brand nasoya & a contaiber is 14oz. Pls be sure to squeeze out as much excess water as possible. Good luck & do let me know how it turns out for you!

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