Pea Spread with Smoky Marinated Tofu

Written by Eydie Desser

This is a super special St. Patrick’s Day, or anytime spread. I love taking fabulous chef’s recipes and making them plant based, SOS free. The original recipe is Yotum Ottolenghi’s Pea Spread with Smoky Marinated Feta, which called for 2,400 calories worth of oil. I substituted chickpea liquid and the marinade still had tons of delicious flavor. Admittedly, a little oil would help a bit with blooming the spices for the marinade, but no need for an entire cup, maybe just 1 TB, and some liquid from a can of no-sodium chickpeas.


For the Tofu Marinade:

  • 10 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced in half
  • 1 lemon, skin peeled in 6 large strips, leaving white pith behind
  • 4 fresh Bay Leaves
  • 2-½ tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1-¼ tsp. Smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 cup liquid from a 15 oz. can of chickpeas
  • 7 oz., or ½ pack of firm Tofu, cut to ¼” dice

For the Pea Spread:

  • 20 oz. frozen peas, defrosted
  • 2 tsp. tarragon leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp. mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 lemon: 1-½ tsp. Finely grated zest, 2 TB juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and roughly crushed in a mortar and pestle


Make the Marinade:

1- Heat a heavy bottomed, medium sized pan, over medium high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 TB olive oil, if using, otherwise, dry saute the following ingredients: add garlic cloves and char on both sides, about 2-3 minutes; add lemon zest strips and bay leaves and let char for 1-½ minutes; a smoked paprika and chili flakes and toast for 30 seconds.

2- Remove pan from heat and add chickpea liquid. It will bubbly up. Once it stops bubbling, remove marinade from the pan and place in a bowl, to cool.

3- Once cool, add diced tofu, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and preferably overnight.

Make the Pea Spread:

1- Add the peas, tarragon, mint, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice, pinch of salt, if using, and a bit of freshly ground black pepper to a food processor. Pulse a few times until it forms a coarse paste. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon or pepper if necessary.

To Serve:

1- Spread the pea mixture onto a plate and top with ½ the marinated tofu, and a few tablespoons of the marinade. Add some of the marinated garlic cloves and lemon strips. Then sprinkle the dish with ground cumin seeds.

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