Ever cooked with carob? For Meatless Monday, try this fat- and caffeine-free chocolate substitute in a unique vegetarian stew.
Although nothing beats chocolate, carob comes pretty close. The pod of the carob bean is free of fat and caffeine, making it a go-to choice for any unfortunate individuals who need to avoid eating chocolate. As with most healthy substitutions, carob won’t taste exactly like chocolate (sorry!). It will, however, infuse food with naturally sweet, caramel flavour.
Carob chips can be eaten out of hand, added to smoothies, or baked into sweet treats such as our Carob Oatmeal Brownies. Carob powder, on the other hand, can be used in place of cocoa powder, sprinkled over dishes such as oatmeal or cereal, or even added to savoury meals. Both carob chips and powder are readily available at many health food retailers.
The following recipe is a surprising combination of yogurt-carob sauce and seared-to-perfection tofu. Creamy, dreamy, and delicious, this unique stew will make a carob convert of even the most devout chocolate worshipper. Enjoy!
Creamy Tofu Carob Stew
From Pamela Durkin’s “Delicious Carob Creations”
1 pkg (350 g) organic firm tofu
1 Tbsp (15 mL) light sesame oil or grapeseed oil
6 small shallots, sliced
1 leek (white and light green parts only), rinsed and sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) ground coriander
1 tsp (5 mL) grated ginger
2 Tbsp (30 mL) carob powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup (180 mL) plain yogurt
1/2 cup (125 mL) half and half cream
Pat tofu dry and cut into 2 in (5 cm) square cubes. Heat oil over medium heat in heavy cast iron skillet. When oil is hot, add tofu cubes and sear till tofu is nicely golden and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add shallots and sliced leeks to same pan and cook over low heat until shallots turn golden and begin to caramelize. (Do not stir them while they cook, as this disrupts the caramelization process.)
When leeks and shallots are cooked, add garlic, cumin, coriander, and ginger. Let them warm before adding 1/2 cup (125 mL) water to pan. Scrape bottom of pan with fork or spoon to incorporate any brown bits from leeks and shallots.
Add carob powder, salt, and pepper, and stir well. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add tofu cubes, yogurt, and cream, mixing well. Return to stovetop and heat through till just warm. Do not let mixture boil or get too hot. Serve over organic whole wheat couscous or brown rice.
Each serving contains: 264 calories; 17 g protein; 15 g total fat (4 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 22 g total carbohydrates (6 g sugars, 4 g fibre); 358 mg sodium