Update: For more ideas on how to make this meal even more Who-tastic, check out this updated version!
One of the best things about being in a relationship is getting introduced to things you might not have given the time of day otherwise. When one partner is vegan and the other goes vegan second, sometimes outsiders presume that the vegan forced the non-vegan to take on that lifestyle. I seriously doubt that most of the time that’s the case. More often, couples talk to each other, they learn about issues and discover aspects of a lifestyle they might not have realized otherwise, and when they take it on, it’s their own thing. I went vegan first, and a few months later David felt inspired to do the same. While I introduced a plant-based diet to him, there have definitely been no shortage of awesome things that he’s introduced to me too.
After showing me the fabulousness that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, next came Dr. Who, which was a show David grew up watching on PBS. If you don’t watch Dr. Who something you need to know is that it’s about a Time Lord. Time Lords are an alien race who can travel through space and time. When something happens that should kill the Doctor, instead of dying, he regenerates with a new actor taking the place of the old. (It was a handy workaround created when the first actor playing the Doctor needed to leave the show.) During the course of the show, which is the longest running sci-fi show in the world, he’s regenerated 10 times (and we’re currently on the 11th Doctor). Each time that a new actor comes into the role, he gets new friends, a new outfit, and new personality traits. In some ways it’s sad when an old favorite Doctor leaves the show, but in other ways it breathes new life and vitality, keeping the show fresh.
I haven’t watched too much of the old series that my husband grew up watching, but a re-launched series with a bigger budget came about in 2005, and I’ve been watching since the first episode. While my earlier forays into Dr. Who were a total bust, with the new series it was love at first sonic screwdriver. (That’s the tool the Doctor uses for opening/fixing pretty much anything.) The current Doctor is played by Matt Smith, whose costume includes a suit, suspenders (or braces for you folks across the pond), and a bow tie. (He’s also been known to don a Fez or Stetson if the situation calls for it.)
In honor of the eleventh Doctor, this cold pasta dish is a Who’s Who of all of my favorites – olives, garlic, lemony tofu, chickpeas, and artichoke hearts. (The Doctor actually has two hearts, but I threw in an extra for good measure.) It can be served hot or cold, but you know what the Doctor would prefer… (Bow ties are cool!) In fact, you can even do a mixture of temperatures with hot pasta and chickpeas and cold tofu, olives, tomatoes, and artichokes. It’s your call!
Surprisingly enough, I actually prefer this tofu cold. After pressing and baking, when it cools in the refrigerator overnight, it firms as it sets. It becomes extra chewy & dense, and it’s wonderful on sandwiches or in salads. (Either press the tofu with a press or go old school with the book & weight method. Feel free to bake it in slices instead of cubes for use on sandwiches.) I use dry-cured olives in this dish, because I love their chewy texture, but replace with a different variety of olives if you’d prefer.
- 1 14 oz. block of water-packed firm or extra-firm tofu, drained & pressed
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas, drained & rinsed
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 ½ cups dry farfalle (also known as bow tie pasta), cooked according to package directions
- 14 grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 8 dry-cured Greek olives, pitted and sliced
- 3 artichoke hearts from a water-packed jar, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon garlic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
- Garnish: chopped fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the pressed tofu in half width-wise and then cut into cubes. Combine 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and tamari in an 8×8 glass baking dish or pie plate. Toss the tofu cubes in the tamari mixture and lay evenly across the dish. Bake for twenty minutes and then remove from oven. Flip tofu cubes and add lemon juice to the baking dish. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. The tofu can be served hot, or remove the tofu from the oven and transfer to a sealed container. Put in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours. It will get firmer as it gets cools.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Put chickpeas on the parchment-covered sheet, drizzle the remaining teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil onto it, and toss with nutritional yeast flakes. Add salt to taste. Roast in 400 degree oven for twenty minutes, stopping once to shake the pan so that it bakes evenly.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked farfalle pasta with baked tofu, roasted chickpeas, grape tomatoes, dry-cured Greek olives, artichoke hearts, and one tablespoon of garlic vinaigrette. (There will be extra vinaigrette left over. Feel free to add more if you prefer or store it in the refrigerator to use on another salad.) Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold. Just before serving, garnish with fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley if you desire.
Makes about 1/8 cup vinaigrette
- 1 clove garlic, zested with a Microplane zester (or minced)
- 1 Tablespoon flax oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil
- Pinch of salt & pepper
In a small bowl combine zested garlic, flax oil, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, dried basil, salt & pepper.
Want to see the other theme parties and dishes? Check them out here!