Savory & Sweet Miso and Apples

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This post comes from waaaay back in the archives of my digital camera.  According to the date stamps on the photos, I made Apple-Miso Tofu from Appetite For Reduction in November.  Yep, that’s November 2012.  I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to write about it, since it was quite the unique and tasty dish, but such is the nature of food blogging.  New and exciting dishes come along that you just have to blog about and the simpler recipes get lost in the shuffle.

They shouldn’t.  I know.  It’s sad.

As the name suggests, this dish consists mostly of apples and tofu with a miso-based marinade.  Along with the standard garlic, ginger and soy sauce (or liquid aminos) that appear in most Asian-type recipes, this one has a little bit of sweetener and some water to mix everything together.  The tofu gets sliced up and marinated, then in go the apples and the whole shebang bakes in the oven for a while.  It doesn’t get much easier than that!  The only thing I didn’t have was the optional arugula for serving; instead, I found some kale and collards in the freezer and cooked those up on the side.  It was a serviceable substitution, but not the best with this particular flavor combination.

apple miso tofu

The recipe description describes the miso as umami.  I’ll admit that the first couple of times I heard this term, it irritated the heck out of me.  I thought it was just one of those ridiculous things that foodies made up.  Now that I’m learning more about food and digestion, though, I think the concept of umami is pretty cool.  I had no idea that glutamate existed naturally in small concentrations and that our bodies had mechanisms for detecting and appreciating it.  I probably still couldn’t taste a food and tell you if it had umami overtones, but it’s interesting to think about nonetheless!

Now that I’ve waxed poetic about taste (fortunately not about taste buds, because that would be odd), I suppose I should say something about how the dish actually came out.  Short version: SO GOOD!

apple miso tofu up close

Longer version: I love apples.  And Asian food.  Putting the two together made for a delicious combination of sweet and savory.  The way that apples warm and soften as they’re baked was a great complement to the texture of the rice and tofu.  I did mess up a little by putting this in too large of a pan.  The marinade cooked down and wound up caramelizing around the corners (hence the black bits in the photos).  It didn’t make it taste bad, but I’d have liked to have a little leftover liquid to mix in with the rice.

Potential modifications for the future: serving on a bed of fresh Asian greens, slicing the tofu up thin and using the finished product in sandwiches, seasoning the rice with something complementary to the marinade…

As you can see, this recipe is pretty darn versatile.  I tossed some scallions on top for garnish, but you could do just about anything.  Serve it on top of some chopped bok choy, for example.  Or stir fry some napa cabbage to layer between the rice and tofu.  In fact, writing about all this is making me want to try the dish again with some kind of variation!  I might just have to grab some extra apples the next time I’m at the farmer’s market…

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About the Author:

Sam has been a vegan since summer of 2009 and has spent the subsequent years experimenting with all manner of vegan food. She holds a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies and is a graduate of the Bauman College Nutrition Consultant Program. She is a member of Toastmasters International and currently serves as part of the Capital View Toastmasters club. When she's not blogging or cooking, Sam likes to read and study the Bible, play silly card games and knit socks.
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