Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu Sandwiches

Some of my best recipes are born as a result of me being stuck with an ingredient that I don’t know what to do with. Maybe that sounds bad. Pineapple is awesome and not exactly an ingredient I’d ever view myself as being “stuck” with, but it’s not something I’ve done a whole lot of cooking with.

What often happens is this: I come across a recipe that calls for a little bit of this or that ingredient that I rarely use and cannot buy in quantities of just a little bit. Or maybe I’m just strolling through the produce section when something really cool catches my eye, like a big, fat ripe pineapple, which is way more fun than those little single serving size cups of pineapple chunks, so I buy the big fat pineapple. I end up with more food than I’ll be able to eat before it spoils, which leads to the thought that I should cook up something new with whatever the ingredient we’re talking about is, forcing me to step out of my food comfort zone a bit and discover something new and wonderful. That’s what happened here.

In this case I went to the store intending to buy pineapple for a recipe, but just a little bit of pineapple. I’d buy one of those little cups of precut pineapple. When I got to the store I saw the big, beautiful, whole pineapples and my plans changed. I used a little bit for the recipe it was intended for, and spent some time thinking about what to do with the rest.

I have to say, the decision to put pineapple on a sandwich was a damn good one. The decision to put it atop teriyaki tofu was an even better one. I might just be buying pineapples all the time from now on.

For the teriyaki part of this recipe, I just went with the marinade from this recipe. It’s proven to be an awesome and versatile sauce and I’m sure this won’t be the last new use I find for it. I’m also sure that the tofu and pineapple would be delicious outside of a sandwich, maybe atop some rice with stir fried veggies, but I do highly recommend you give it a try in sandwich form. With a nice crusty roll and some Vegenaise this felt like a sweeter, exotic cousin of tofu Bahi Mi Chay.

Pineapple Teriyaki Tofu Sandwiches
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. extra firm tofu
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2½ tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. fresh grated ginger
  • ½ tbsp. vegan margarine
  • dash of black pepper
  • cooking spray or a bit of oil
  • 8 pineapple slices (about ¼ inch each), cut into half circles
  • 4 sandwich rolls
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Vegenaise
Instructions
  1. Drain and press tofu.
  2. Prepare sauce while your tofu presses. Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, margarine and black pepper in small saucepan or microwave safe bowl.
  3. Heat on stove top or in microwave until margarine and brown sugar are melted. Stir everything to blend.
  4. Cut tofu into ¼ inch slabs.
  5. Oil or spray large skillet and place over medium heat. Cook tofu slabs for about five minutes on each side - until lightly browned.
  6. Pour sauce over tofu and cook another 1-2 minutes on each side. Both sides should be coated and sauce should become thick and sticky.
  7. Remove tofu from skillet and set aside.
  8. Add pineapple slices to the skillet that you just took your tofu out of. Cook about 3 minutes on each side, or until slices are tender and coated with the leftover sauce.
  9. Remove from heat carefully, as they will have a tendency to fall apart at this stage.
  10. Slather sandwich rolls with Veganaise and stuff with tofu, pineapple and baby spinach. A little hot sauce is nice as well.

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