Also called alaria and resembling pappardelle pasta noodles when rehydrated, lightly vegetal wakame is what you’re most likely to find floating in miso soup. It can also be the starring green in a riff on pesto. Slather the pesto between slabs of tofu and you’ve got a hearty vegan main. This briny pesto can also be dolloped on grain bowls!
1/3 cup (1/2 oz) dried wakame
1 cup cilantro
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp cayenne, divided
4 Tbsp grapeseed oil or sunflower oil, divided
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 blocks (12 oz each) extra-firm tofu
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Place wakame in large bowl, cover with cool water and let soak for 10 minutes, or until tender.
Remove wakame from bowl, squeeze out excess water and place in food processor container along with cilantro, nutritional yeast, sesame seeds, garlic and 1/4 tsp cayenne. Blend until wakame is broken down into small pieces. Add 3 Tbsp grapeseed or sunflower oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar and 2 Tbsp water to container and blend until a pasty mixture forms.
Line cutting board with a couple of sheets of paper towel. Top with tofu blocks and a couple more sheets of paper towel. Press gently to extract excess liquid. Slice each tofu block along its width into 2 slabs, and then cut each slab in half so that you have a total of 8 pieces. Season tofu pieces with salt, black pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp cayenne.
In skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add tofu squares to pan and heat until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Don’t crowd pan; cook in batches if necessary. Flip and heat until golden on other side, adding more oil to pan if needed.
Spread pesto on 4 pieces of tofu and top with remaining tofu pieces.