Mushroom & Tofu Quesadillas

Picture this: It’s a Monday night. You’ve just gotten home from work with no plans for dinner, and you don’t exactly have a well-stocked kitchen. You spend a long time standing in front of your fridge, door open, staring into it, hoping a meal will just put itself together.

This is an all-too-common scenario for me, and probably for many of you, too. I kind of hate this and I kind of love it. Hate it, because most of the time I just want something easy and I don’t feel like concocting a recipe out of whatever random ingredients I’ve got. But I love it because it is a chance to get creative and to be resourceful. I really try not to waste food. Of course it happens sometimes anyway, but on nights like these where I need to make up a recipe on the spot, I try to use as many things in my fridge that really need to be used up before they go bad.

So, tonight I looked in my fridge and picked out bell peppers, portobello mushrooms, onion, tortillas, tofu, and cheese. I decided to make some quesadillas. And they actually turned out pretty dang good.

Mushroom & Tofu Quesadillas (serves 2-4, depending how hungry you are)
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1 inch pieces
8 oz firm or extra-firm tofu, crumbled* (a regular size container is 14-16 oz.)
1/2 medium-large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
1/8 – 1/4 tsp. chili powder, depending how spicy you want it
1-2 Tbsp. oil (olive oil, grapeseed, canola.. whatever you got)
4 flour tortillas
vegan cheese or real, shredded for topping (we used real pepperjack)

*A note about the tofu: we sometimes freeze our tofu and then defrost it in the fridge. Freezing it gives it a more crumbly, substantial texture, and also makes it a lot easier to press (pressing tofu means pressing out the excess water). If you’ve never cooked with tofu and don’t know how to press it, check out this handy how-to. The video says to use a book, but you can really use anything a little bit heavy that will sit on the top plate. Also, I’ve never waited 40 minutes for my tofu to press. I’m too impatient. I probably wait 5 minutes tops. If you’re in a pinch and don’t feel like using the plate method, you can use paper towels or any clean cotton towel – just wrap the tofu up and squeeze to push the water out. If you have frozen and defrosted your tofu beforehand, the water is much easier to get out.

Pour 1 Tbsp. oil into large sauté pan. Heat oil over medium-high heat and add onion, pepper, and tofu. Sauté until veggies are soft. Add mushrooms and garlic. You can add another Tbsp. oil if needed. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook until mushrooms are soft.

Meanwhile, lightly spray or brush each side of your tortillas with oil, and heat in a separate sauté pan over medium heat. Warm each side of the tortilla for about a minute.

On each tortilla, spoon some tofu mixture onto half of the tortilla. Sprinkle with cheese and fold the other half of the tortilla over.

Put the tortillas on a pan and pop in the oven at 300 °F for a few minutes, until cheese is melted.

Cut into triangles and serve!

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