Vegetarian Ceviche: Tofu Ceviche Recipe
How to Make a Vegetarian Ceviche
My friend Alex is a vegetarian but his wife eats seafood. Over the years of cooking with them, it has given me the opportunity to try to adapt many of my beloved “carnivore” recipes like this one: tofu ceviche.
Ceviche is a Peruvian method of "cooking" fish by marinating it in citrus (usually lime). The citric acid has the same denaturing effect on the proteins of your fish (or in this case, tofu) as cooking with heat. Of course, ceviche can be tricky to execute in order to time the "cooking" properly so as to not under- or over-cook your subject. Since that's not an issue with tofu, it makes a wonderfully easy subject for ceviche.
The best thing about tofu is that it has no flavor of its own. Rather, it's acts a sponge for the flavors you combine with it. In this recipe, it takes on the intense citrus, ginger, and sesame flavors creating a wonderful Asian-Peruvian fusion.
- 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped into 1/2" sqaures
- 2 limes, (you will use both juice and zest)
- olive oil, 1/2 the amount that the limes make in juice
- 1 1/2" ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Unsalted corn chips or flatbread, for serving
Kitchen Essential Used In This Recipe
This is my zester of choice.
- Cut the tofu in half lengthwise. Place the halves on a cookie sheet lined with two layers of paper towels. Top the tofu with two more layers of paper towels. Place another cookie sheet on top, and place a 280z can on top to weigh it down (basically you have a tofu sandwich with paper towels and cookie sheets, topped with a heavy can). Leave the tofu to sit for 1-2 hours.
- Cut the tofu into 1/2 cubes and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add the cilantro and avocado to the tofu and mix well.
- In a separate bowl (or a martini shaker works very well) mix together the juice of the limes, the zest of the limes, olive oil, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce.
- Add the dressing to the tofu-cilantro-avocado mixture and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve with a side of un-salted corn chips or crisp flatbread.
How to Not Screw It Up
- The purpose of pressing the tofu between cooking sheets is to squeeze as much moisture out of the tofu as possible. It makes the tofu more firm and enables it to replace the lost moisture with the flavor from the dressing. This first step is probably the single most important step in making ceviche from tofu. Do not skip it and do not short cut it.