Also called alaria and resembling pappardelle pasta noodles when rehydrated, lightly vegetal wakame is what you’re most likely to finding floating in miso soup, but it can also be the starring green in a riff on pesto. Slather the seaweed pesto between meaty slabs of tofu and you’ve got a hearty vegan main dish. The briny pesto can also be dolloped on grain bowls, grilled steak, or cooked fish.
Place any extras in glass jar, cover with thin layer of oil, and store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.
1/3 cup (1/2 oz / 14 g) dried wakame
1 cup (250 mL) cilantro
2 Tbsp (30 mL) nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp (30 mL) sesame seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne, divided
4 Tbsp (60 mL) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil, divided
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sesame oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
2 blocks (350 g each) extra-firm tofu
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
In large bowl, place wakame, cover with 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 (1 mL) cayenne. Blend until wakame is broken down into small pieces. Add 3 Tbsp (45 mL) grapeseed or sunflower oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and 2 Tbsp (30 mL) 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 towel. Press gently to extract excess liquid. Slice each tofu along its width into 2 slabs, and then cut each slab in half so that you have a total of 8 pieces. Season each piece of tofu with salt, 1/4 tsp (1 mL) cayenne, and black pepper.
In skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp (15 mL) 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 2 pieces of tofu and top with remaining tofu.