I have been making this colorful bake since I first started cooking. When I first learned that tofu could be blended and flavored with just about anything, I began incorporating it as a topping for many different baked dishes.
Although the flavoring of the topping has changed throughout the years, I always come back to this filling and deep, beet colored millet base.
Angelica Kitchen (where I was Executive Chef for several years) makes many delicious bakes, which they call casseroles. It was there that I learned this great method of poaching garlic in the olive oil first. I love the resulting mellow flavor. It is a challenge to get the bake out in a neat square, especially when it is warm. At home I mostly scoop it out with a spoon.
Creamy lemon tofu layered bake.
This dish does take multiple steps, but you can cook the millet and boil the beets ahead of time, leaving you with more or less a simple sauté and the tofu topping. Once it is done it is a complete meal and only needs a few salad leaves to accompany. It also keeps well and can be eaten room temperature or re-heated for lunch the following day…or two.
3 medium beets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the dish
1 cup millet, soaked in 2 cups of water overnight
½ pound fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon arrowroot powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Creamy lemon tofu topping
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half length ways
1 ½ pounds firm tofu, I use “Fresh Tofu”
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons umeboshi vinegar
1/8th teaspoon turmeric powder, you can add a pinch more for a more golden color
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place beets in a medium-sized pot and cover with plenty of filtered water, at least an inch.
Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat. Simmer for an hour and 15 minutes or until tender right through to the center. Drain and slip off the skins.
Roughly chop beets and place in a food processor. Add the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and blend again. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
Oil an 8 by 8 inch baking dish that is at least 2 inches high.
Drain millet and wash with plenty of water, drain again and place in a small pot, add 1 ¾ cups filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, and then add to the beets. Mix well and press into baking dish.
(I decided not to use it all but that will depend on the exact height of your baking dish, I think it’s nice to have about an inch of the beet millet layer. I removed a cup and enjoyed it for lunch)
Set aside while you prepare the mushroom layer.
Warm a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and leeks. Sauté for 2 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown. Add 6 tablespoons of water, raise heat to high and stir until anything that has stuck to the bottom of pan lifts off, then turn heat to low. Stir arrowroot mixture and drizzle over the leeks and mushrooms and stir until any liquid is thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in tamari and spread evenly over beet millet layer, set aside while you prepare the tofu topping.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Place a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic cloves. Once oil starts to simmer lower heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until the garlic cloves are golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
Break tofu into food processor and add lemon juice, vinegars, turmeric salt and pepper. Scrape reserved garlic and oil mixture in as well and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides and puree again until mixture is thick and creamy.
Spread evenly over mushroom mixture and place in the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the center of the tofu topping is set and light golden. Remove from oven and allow bake to sit at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 large portions.
Click here for printable recipe.