This dish could win over even a self-proclaimed tofu-hater! The marinade transforms some humble tofu into a magical substance whose flavor and texture may even be (gasp!) tastier than buffalo mozzarella.
You can build a show-stopping caprese out of this during tomato season, or else year-round the mozzarella can be cubed and tossed in with pasta salads and salad-salads, or added to an antipasti board. Go ahead and marinate more than you expect to use, because inevitably the chef will end up snacking on some.
2 packages of pre-pressed tofu, or else extra firm (see tips)
For the marinade:
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp mellow white miso
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice (bottled instead of fresh is fine)
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried oregano
tomatoes, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a flaky salt (like Maldon), pepper, crusty bread
Servings: Depending on whether you’re building big salads or side salads, this recipe makes enough mozzarella for 4-8 servings. It will keep for at least a week in the fridge, so I recommend making the full recipe even if you’re feeding fewer people. You’ll be glad for the leftovers.
Pressed tofu: A pre-pressed tofu like Twin Oaks makes life pretty darn easy — just open it and use it. If you can’t find a pre-pressed kind, you can buy extra firm tofu, wrap it in a dish towel (or paper towels), and rest something heavy (like a cast iron skillet) on top for 30 mins or so.
Balsamic reduction: Rather than straight balsamic vinegar, I’m a big fan of drizzling this dish with a balsamic reduction. You can find pre-made kinds at the grocery store, or else make it at home. But regular balsamic will still work great, too.
For making the mozzarella:
Cut your tofu and place it into a sealable container. I think it’s fun to cut the tofu into roughly the size and shape of buffalo mozzarella slices, but that’s just a matter of preference. The recipe will work just as well if you decide to cut it into cubes, etc. (If you’re making circles, be sure to add all the tofu odds-and-ends to your container to marinate as well — those will be great cut up and added to salads.)
Put the marinade ingredients in a separate bowl and stir until combined with a fork or whisk. You’ll want to break up the miso so that no large pieces remain.
Pour the marinade over the tofu, seal the container, and put it in the fridge to marinate. It’s ok if the marinade doesn’t perfectly cover all of the tofu, but try to situate the tofu so that as much as possible is covered. Let it sit for at least two hours, but it’s even better if left overnight. It doesn’t hurt to gently shake the container every six hours or so, to recombine any marinade ingredients that have settled out or separated, but it’s also no big deal if you leave it alone.
If you have extra mozzarella left after this meal, congrats! Leave it in the marinade in the fridge, and add it to salads, wraps, etc. throughout the week.
I like plating this in the style of a traditional caprese, with big tomato slices, a chiffonade of basil, a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction, some flaky sea salt, and a crack of pepper.
Serving some slices of toasted crusty bread on the side is great for sopping up all the delicious liquid on the plate (my go-to is a savory loaf from Bread & Butter).
Enjoy repeatedly while tomatoes and basil are in season!