Baked Tofu Panini with Roasted Peppers and Caramelized Onions

The delicious elements in this sandwich can used in variety of ways, including salads, wraps, potatoes and stir fries. Adjust the vegetables to your liking. With a little preparation, you can enjoy these wonderful ingredients all week!

Baked Marinated Tofu
-         2 tablespoon maple syrup
-         3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
-         1 teaspoon chili powder
-         Dash of chipotle powder (if you like it a little spicy)
-         1 teaspoon onion powder
-         1 teaspoon garlic powder
-         Few dashes of liquid smoke (optional)
-         Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
-         1/3 cup water
-         1 package extra firm tofu (sliced into 12-13 even slices)

Combine all ingredients except for the tofu in a shallow dish. Put the tofu slices in the dish and make sure everything is covered with the marinade. Marinate overnight (ideally) but minimally for 20 minutes. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and bake slices for 25-30 minutes at 395 degrees, flipping after each 15 minutes until slightly crispy on the edges. Set aside.

Caramelized Onions
-         Cooking spray
-         2 large sweet onions
-         2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-         Freshly ground sea salt & pepper

Slice the onions and put into pan coated generously with cooking spray. Stir occasionally and wait until onions start to brown. Once they are lightly brown and translucent, add the salt & pepper and the balsamic vinegar. You may need to add water (tablespoon at a time) if all fluids have been absorbed. Continue cooking another 5-10 minutes until soft and brown. Set aside.

Roasted Sweet Red Peppers
-         2-3 large sweet red peppers (or yellow/orange)
-         Cooking spray
-         Freshly ground sea salt & pepper

Cut the peppers lengthwise so they are long and slightly thin (to fit onto bread) and remove seeds. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and put onto sheet, spraying again with the cooking spray and lightly with the sea salt and pepper. Put into 395 degree oven for about 30 minutes or so, flipping over ½ way through. Cook until soft-tender. Set aside.

Assembling the Sandwich
-         Baked tofu from recipe above
-         Caramelized onions from recipe above
-         Roasted sweet red peppers from recipe above
-         Vegan pesto – optional but it is delicious!
-         Veggie/soy cheese (optional- mozzarella, swiss, pepper jack – whatever your favorite is!)
-         Fresh spinach
-         Toasted sliced almonds (optional)
-         Panini bread (I use Ciabatta. Make sure yours is a hearty bread that can handle a lot of ingredients)

Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Put layer of pesto first (optional), then spinach and 2 slices of cheese (optional), then one layer of sliced tofu. Next put a layer of peppers and then onions, then sprinkle some toasted almonds (optional). Coat the pan with cooking spray and grill on low heat until cheese melts and bread is crispy. Flip over carefully (some ingredients may want to spill out on you!) and repeat until thoroughly heated through. A Panini press works best but you can use a heavy lid in a regular grill pan if you don’t have one.

Serve with your favorite fruit or side dish.

**Since so many elements are made in advance (tofu, onions, peppers, pesto), I store them in the refrigerator and eat them all week. I use them in stir fries, wraps, and salads. ENJOY!

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