This Tofu and Cheesy Rice Casserole features slow-baked tofu atop a bed of brown rice and broccoli and smothered in a garlicky, vegan cheese sauce. Think of it as sort of like your momma’s Chicken and Rice Casserole without the poor, dead chicken.
Today is Wednesday. I like Wednesdays. I know it’s commonly referred to as “hump” day because if you make it through Wednesday, you’re over the hump; closer to the weekend.
But for me, I’m in no hurry to get through Wednesdays. Maybe that’s because there are no expectations for Wednesdays. No victories to be won. No dragons to be slayed. It’s just a day like any other day.
Oh, who am I kidding. I like Wednesdays because they’re not Mondays (does anyone like Mondays?) and it’s still two days away from my TRX workout.
There. I said it. This TRX workout is a class I love to hate!
I hate it because it’s at 5:45 in the morning. Did you see that? The only kind of motivation I typically muster at that hour is to turn over to the other side. But that still keeps me well within the covers of my bed!
I also hate this TRX class because it’s so…dang…difficult! They say it was designed by Navy Seals and I don’t doubt that for one minute. Of course, I don’t actually know any Navy Seals, but I pretty much consider myself an expert on it anyway.
Of course, the reasons I hate that class are also the same reasons I love it. If I’m going to get up at 5 in the morning, it better be a seriously tough workout. You know, to make it worth my while! TRX never fails. Sometimes I can hardly walk out the door when I leave the gym. Of course, that can be true of me on most any day. My sisters didn’t call me Twinkle Toes when I was a kid for nothing!
Then the next day I usually feel like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. I should take a moment to clarify that I’ve never actually been hit by a Mack truck, but again, I still consider myself an expert on it.
I’m finally starting to see the effort pay some dividends. Sort of like our Apple stock.
I use Michelle Obama as my model for best arms. Whatever side of the political fence you might find yourself, you have to admit she has great arms. Definitely strong; definitely feminine. Let’s just say I have a bit more work to do to get my arms in that kind of shape, but I’m on the right track.
The thing is, I like being strong, but I haven’t always felt it. In graduate school I was part of a team-building exercise with my classmates that required us to climb a 3-story tower of logs (shaped like a teepee) and then repel down. I got to a certain unnaturally high spot on one of the logs and became petrified. (A little like that log was going to be in a mere thousand or so years.) I was in a frozen panic. I needed to move to the next notch up the log, but it seemed too far away to reach. The coach yelled up to me, “Marly, you can reach farther than you think you can!”
I thought he was Nuts! But you know what? He was right. With a little encouragement I made it to the top. I could reach farther. I am strong! I just have to remember to send that memo to my brain from time to time.
And that’s why I do TRX classes at 5:45 on Friday mornings. And it’s why I try to develop my inner (well-hidden) Michelle Obama arms.
But today is Wednesday. This is another reason I like Wednesdays. It’s nice to have a day where I don’t have to be quite so tough.
Tofu and Cheesy Rice Casserole
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 2 cups steamed broccoli florets
- 1 serving Herb-Infused Baked Tofu
- 1 medium chopped onion
- 1 serving Vegan Cheese Sauce (See Recipe Below)
- This recipe can be broken into several steps that makes putting it all together much easier. You can even make the tofu the day before. I like to let the tofu bake slowly and I have a convection oven that helps me do that. I mix the tofu with the marinade (add the chopped onion to the marinade), set the temperature on a fairly low setting and set the timer. Then I go off and do other things I need to do. It’s quite easy that way. You may want to stir the tofu at some point in the baking to ensure each piece is evenly coated. You can also play around with the marinade ingredients. I added chopped onion. You may also want to consider garlic or a favorite herb you have on hand. Go for it!
- Once the tofu is ready and you want to put it all together, begin by heating your oven to 350F. Get out a 9 X 13 baking dish and set aside.
- Place the prepared brown rice in the bottom of the baking dish and top with the steamed broccoli.
- Prepare the cheese sauce as directed below and pour half of it over the cheese and broccoli.
- Top with the Herb-Infused Tofu and remaining Vegan Cheese Sauce (although you can reserve some if you prefer a little less sauce in your casserole…this stuff is great on baked potatoes!)
- Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes.
- Voila! You’re done. Mamma’s Chicken and Rice Casserole has done gone vegan!
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 stick dairy-free margarine
- 1/2 cup flour (I use brown rice flour to make this gluten-free)
- 2 cups hot water
- 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes (hello, Vitamin B!)
- 1 tablespoon Bragg
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups shredded vegan cheese (I use Follow Your Heart, but you can also use Dayia cheese here too)
- Melt margarine in a medium skillet over medium heat and add gradually add the flour, stirring until smooth.
- Add the hot water and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Add the yeast flakes, Bragg, and garlic powder and stir again until smooth.
- Finally, add the shredded vegan cheese and stir over medium heat until it melts.
This casserole, coupled with a side salad and a nice glass of wine, is perfect for a relaxed Wednesday evening dinner.