Crispy grilled turmeric herbed tofu served on a chewy Israeli couscous tossed with roasted vegetables, pine nuts, garlic, and basil romesco sauce made from fire-roasted bell peppers, tomatoes, and chilies.
I won’t share dishes that I don’t eat and aren't, in my opinion, delicious. So, you may hear me say, "It's so good!" several times. Hahaha, that's because it is! This tofu-topped with chewy couscous pasta pearls soaked in the creamy, spicy basil fire-roasted red bell pepper sauce was a favorite of mine.
That’s a lot of words, but you get the point! You also don’t have to eat a bland meal! Enjoy yourself even when you have limitations on what you can eat, such as dairy. Ditch the heavy cream pasta sauce!
If you have a thing for chewy Israeli couscous, then you have to try the Chicken Meatballs & Israeli Couscous Vegetable Soup. What about pasta? Then check out Plant-Based: Italian Sausage with Spicy Creamy Lentil Pasta, Loaded Cheesy Ground Turkey Red Lentil Pasta, Jalapeño Pesto and Argentinian Shrimp Pasta, and Loaded Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta.
Air Fryer Roasted Vegetables
I used pencil asparagus, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, and red onion for this roasted tofu and vegetables recipe. Typically, this is what you would use on the grill since it cooks very well on high heat, making it ideal for grilling and roasting. Plus, it’s ideal for roasting vegetables at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Having the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill makes life so much easier. I could roast vegetables in under 12 minutes in half an hour, which is great when you're short on time and… hungry!
A great roasted tofu marinade, it's made of turmeric, which gives it its golden color. The dried oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme add a bit of earthiness to the dish. You are guaranteed to take another bite To give it a kick, the spice is balanced with fresh ground black pepper and red pepper chili flakes as well as onion and garlic powder. Always remember, if you use spices and herbs, you will need less salt.
Ingredients and Instructions
Combine the smoked paprika powder, crushed red chili pepper flakes, turmeric powder, Italian herb seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, kosher salt, and ground black pepper to make the herb blend first. Then use the blender to make the Romesco Pasta Sauce with the herb blend, fire-roasted red bell peppers, fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic, almonds, sherry vinegar, parsley, basil leaves, water, and olive oil.
Combine tofu with an herb blend and avocado oil, roast in the air fryer, and toss with lemon zest. Do the same for the vegetables by combining the zucchini, asparagus, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, and red onion with the rest of the herb blend. Finally, combine the couscous and vegetable mix with the romesco sauce with fresh basil and parsley.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Busy Folks: Become a better home cook with tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. You'll also find more detailed steps for the instructions above.
- Cajun Spice - Replace the smoked paprika, red chili pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder with Cajun spice for faster prep.
- Nut-Free - You can omit the nuts; it will not significantly affect the recipe. If you plan to buy romesco paste, be aware that it may contain nuts.
- Gluten-Free - You can omit the pearl couscous and use gluten-free pasta. It will work with penne, farfalle, etc., any pasta shorter than 1.5 inches.
Instead of tofu, add your favorite protein. Just ensure the pieces are bit site to cook evenly and quickly.
- Blender or Food Processor - Used to emulsify the ingredients in the Romesco pasta sauce to create a smooth and creamy sauce. To develop this recipe, I used the Vitamix Professional Series Blender. I've used Vitamix for years, even in the professional kitchen. I've also upgraded my small food processor to the KitchenAid 3.5 Cup Food Chopper, which is tough enough to do the job and small enough to avoid finding space for a new appliance. Also, the best part is the drizzle basin that you can use to add the oil for excellent emulsification slowly.
- Air Fryer - This roasted tofu and vegetable recipe was developed using the Ninja Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Grill. If you do not have an air fryer, you can try roasting in the oven. You have two options with different results: a sheet pan with parchment paper or a sheet pan with a sheet pan rack. The parchment paper will produce vegetables roasted in their juices and caramelization at the bottom. In contrast, the sheet pan rack will result in just roasting around the vegetables due to the hot air flowing around the vegetables. Now, the trick is not to overcrowd in whatever method you choose, but if this happens, toss in between cooking.
- Frying Pan with Lid - Preferably a 10-inch pan. I used the All-Clad Stainless Steel Nonstick Fry Pan to develop this recipe. I've trusted All-clad for years and invested in them because they last long. Compared to other non-stick pans, this one is safe under the broiler!
- Refrigerator - To store in the refrigerator, you can place the couscous and tofu in a shallow 2-inch pan to cool down quickly. Then store it and the sauce in an air-tight sealing container. The meal will last up to four days.
- Freezer - I do not recommend freezing this meal.
The benefit of the romesco sauce recipe is that it is a great alternative to other creamy sauce recipes. Sometimes you can’t or don’t want to use dairy, such as heavy cream or milk, especially when you are in the mood for those creamy pasta dishes. Hint! This easy creamy pasta sauce is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
I used avocado oil for the roasted vegetables to prevent burning in the air fryer. Plus, avocado oil has a high smoke point. High smoke point oils can withstand high heat at 400 degrees or more before smoking, which is important, especially when using an indoor grill or air fryer. And that’s why I recommend avocado or canola oil.
Looking for other vegetarian recipes like this? Try these:
Looking for other Mediterranean-inspired recipes like this? Try these:
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent food bourne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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