We’ve been in a heatwave this week, which in Ottawa, in March, should mean daytime highs of 10-12 degrees celsius. Instead, today’s high was 27 degrees. Tomorrow it will be 23 and if the rain holds off it will be the fourth day in a row that we’ve eaten on our balcony. Which I’m completely alright with, aside from the part where all of our meals are hot and heavy this week. It’s March. I should be making chilli or roast chicken and then baking things so that I can leave my oven on and make it cozy and warm in my apartment. I shouldn’t be spending lunch out on the balcony, eating a La Bottega sandwich and sipping a wheat beer. But, here I am.
One of my favourite things during hot(ter) weather are meatless meals; when it’s hot, you don’t want something super heavy. Or at least, I don’t. Heck, I would eat veggies and hummus and pita and maybe some cheese everyday if I could, but my husband wouldn’t go for cold dinners all the time and my mother instilled a sense in eating all four food groups, all the time. (I don’t agree with this anymore, but I used to swear by it. All the time. Uber-balance, if you will.) This has that balance, for what it’s worth. Also, even though it’s served hot, it’s still fairly light. And even though you have to turn on the oven to make it, the oven only stays on for 25 minutes and that’s it. So, really this is a pretty lightweight meal for a spring evening or a spring evening that feels like summer.
Citrus Tofu with Onions and Pepper
adapted from Bon Appetit
serves 2 hungry adults, 4 with rice and salad
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
the zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon honey
one 1-pound block medium-firm tofu, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Combine cilantro, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, cumin, paprika, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and honey in food processor. Process for 30 seconds. Pour 1/2 cup of marinade into a resealable plastic bag. Add tofu. Seal bag; shake gently to coat. (Set aside the remaining marinade; this becomes your sauce!)
Let marinate at room temperature, turning occasionally, for 10–15 minutes.
Combine onion and peppers in a large bowl. Toss with remaining tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Drain tofu. Place in a single layer on one side of prepared sheet. Spread vegetables in a single layer opposite tofu.
Roast, stirring vegetables occasionally, until vegetables are tender and tofu is lightly browned, 20–25 minutes.
Divide among plates. Drizzle with sauce.