Pasta Caprese is definitely one of my favorite pastas. Before I turned Vegan I really loved the combination of mozzarella with tomatoes and balsamic.
To recreate this dish in a plant-based way we’re using extra firm tofu. We squeeze out extra liquid from the tofu, and cook it with garlic and balsamic vinegar. This gives the tofu that Caprese flavor that many of us love. The texture of the tofu is pretty similar to a soft mozzarella also.
We decided to add in fennel root because it’s delicious, and it adds a little bit of harder texture that goes well with the rest of the dish. We had half of a fennel bulb leftover from our Easy Vegan Green Bean Casserole.
The lemon juice doesn’t overpower this pasta, but it adds a freshness to the flavor that elevates this dish. We used grapeseed oil, but you can definitely use olive oil, avocado oil, or whichever oil you prefer.
Vegan Pasta Caprese
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 bulb fennel sliced
- 14 oz extra firm tofu
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 16 oz pasta
- 3 medium tomatoes chopped roughly
- 1 big handful fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup grapeseed oil or olive, avocado, etc.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package and set aside.
- While pasta cooks, squeeze tofu gently over a sink to drain some of its liquid. Then cut it into 1 inch cubes.
- Put 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar in medium pot or skillet and turn heat to medium-low.
- Cook sliced fennel and 2 cloves garlic in the balsamic vinegar for ~4 minutes, stirring often. Then add tofu and stir gently, and continue to cook for ~3 minutes. Finally stir in a handful of spinach and cook for 2 more minutes to allow it to wilt. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl combine 1/3 cup grapeseed oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp dried basil.
- In a large bowl or pot toss everything together: pasta + fennel, tofu, spinach mixture + oil mixture + chopped tomatoes. Top with sliced avocado if you like!
- Feel free to eat it warm, or stick it in the refrigerator to make it an amazing pasta salad.