amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Creamy Lemon Tofu Layered Bake

POSTED ON January 25, 2012

layered bake and salad

I have been making this colorful bake since I first started cooking. When I first learned that tofu could be blended and flavored with just about anything, I began incorporating it as a topping for many different baked dishes.

Although the flavoring of the topping has changed throughout the years, I always come back to this filling and deep, beet colored millet base.

Angelica Kitchen (where I was Executive Chef for several years) makes many delicious bakes, which they call casseroles.  It was there that I learned this great method of poaching garlic in the olive oil first. I love the resulting mellow flavor. It is a challenge to get the bake out in a neat square, especially when it is warm.  At home I mostly scoop it out with a spoon.

adding lemon tofu layer

pureed beets and millet

mixed and ready to press into baking dish

spreading mushrooms and leeks over base

simmering garlic

poached garlic, tofu, lemon, turmeric etc. ready to blend

smooth and creamy tofu topping

spreading topping over bake

hope you enjoy it!

Creamy lemon tofu layered bake

This dish does take multiple steps, but you can cook the millet and boil the beets ahead of time, leaving you with more or less a simple sauté and the tofu topping. Once it is done it is a complete meal and only needs a few salad leaves to accompany. It also keeps well and can be eaten room temperature or re-heated for lunch the following day…or two.

Millet-beet layer

3 medium beets

Sea salt

Black pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling the dish

1 cup millet, soaked in 2 cups of water overnight

Shitake-leek layer

½ pound fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

2 medium leeks, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons tamari

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water



Creamy lemon tofu topping

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

8 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half length ways

1 ½ pounds firm tofu, I use  “Fresh Tofu”

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons umeboshi vinegar

1/8th teaspoon turmeric powder, you can add a pinch more for a more golden color

1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place beets in a medium-sized pot and cover with plenty of  filtered water, at least an inch.

Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat.  Simmer for an hour and 15 minutes or until tender right through to the center. Drain and slip off the skins.

Roughly chop beets and place in a food processor. Add the olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the food processor and blend again. Place in a large bowl and set aside.

Oil an 8 by 8 inch baking dish that is at least 2 inches high.

Drain millet and wash with plenty of water, drain again and place in a small pot, add 1 ¾ cups filtered water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes, and then add to the beets. Mix well and press into baking dish.

(I decided not to use it all but that will depend on the exact height of your baking dish, I think it’s nice to have about an inch of the beet millet layer. I removed a cup and enjoyed it for lunch)

Set aside while you prepare the mushroom layer.

Warm a deep skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and leeks. Sauté for 2 minutes, then stir in the mushrooms and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and beginning to brown. Add 6 tablespoons of water, raise heat to high and stir until anything that has stuck to the bottom of pan lifts off, then turn heat to low. Stir arrowroot mixture and drizzle over the leeks and mushrooms and stir until any liquid is thickened, about 1 minute. Stir in tamari and spread evenly over beet millet layer, set aside while you prepare the tofu topping.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place a small skillet or saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic cloves. Once oil starts to simmer lower heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until the garlic cloves are golden. Remove from heat and set aside.

Break tofu into food processor and add lemon juice, vinegars, turmeric salt and pepper. Scrape reserved garlic and oil mixture in as well and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides and puree again until mixture is thick and creamy.

Spread evenly over mushroom mixture and place in the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the center of the tofu topping is set and light golden. Remove from oven and allow bake to sit at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 large portions.

POSTED IN Gluten free, Mains

TAGGED UNDER: beets, millet, tofu

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  • Ashley says:

    I love baked casserole dishes like this and am really intrigued by the lemon garlic tofu topping!

  • Erin says:

    Beautiful!! I just love it when you have a new post…invariably the dish you make goes straight on to my “to try” list. Just ate your cauliflower millet mash again the other night, so comforting. Mmmm. 🙂

  • Ami says:

    When you say “fresh tofu” what exactly do you mean by that? Is there someplace near you that makes fresh tofu? Thanks!

    • Amy Chaplin says:

      Sorry for the delay…just say your question. The brand I like is called Fresh Tofu.
      It is made in PA with locally grown organic soy beans. It has a great texture and isn’t at all rubbery.
      There is another brand I like called Bridge that I think is made in CT.
      Let me know how you like the bake!

  • Ugh, wow. That looks insane. I’m trying to imagine what it tastes like and I just can’t. I’m intrigued! I mean, those flavors would all taste amazing together, but texturally it’d be so different. I want to try it!

  • Emma says:

    That looks amazing! I have to admit, I don’t have tofu often but this dish looks so lush I really want to try it.

  • Lana says:

    In love this idea! I’m always looking for new things to do with tofu. Thank goodness there are more creative people out there cooking with it than myself. Otherwise we’d all just be frying it and dropping it, raw, into miso soup! 🙂

  • Ranjani says:

    What a creative use for tofu! This seems like such a great meal

  • Marissa says:

    This looks exquisite! Can’t wait to try it. I love
    Your newsletter so much. Thank you!
    Your wonderful energy just spills all over
    Your beautiful site! When I lived in NYC – angelika’s kitchen
    Was my neighborhood favorite!!!
    If you ever have the time… Can you weigh in on your thoughts on dairy?
    Health wise. Thank you!! Warmest! Marissa

  • Britta Kallevang says:

    Thanks this was a delicious recipe! Just made it for an early Vday dinner. Perfect colors!

  • Lisa Z says:

    So delicious. Served it for dinner one night and reheated for lunch days later. I am thinking of making again and would love to try a variation. Any suggestions?

  • Megan Crocker says:

    I love this idea. Except, my husband really doesn’t like beets. What would you suggest as an alternative? Thank you

  • Marissa says:

    Okay…I was dying to try this so I used what I had: red lentils, beets, and swiss chard for the leeks mushroom layer – had soft tofu instead of hard. It wasn’t as tall and stately as yours!! but it was delicious. Can’t wait to try it to the “t” next time!

  • Sade says:

    Mmm the picture of the poached garlic makes my mouth water!

    The idea of it blended with tofu makes me think that it could become a dip/spread? perhaps adding a fresh herb too, like thyme?

    Wow, such an inexpensive (yet flavouful) recipe for students like me!
    Much love from just across the water Ms. Chaplin xx

  • Laura says:

    I am impressed by this recipe, and the picture is amazing! Will have to try that soon…

  • jp says:

    Hi, just tried this today with my mum.

    sooo yum. I didn’t have umeboshi so just used a bit more lemon juice, and it was still good. also used soy sauce since we ran out of tamari, and we just used a bit less of it.

  • Carol says:

    Hi, could I prepare & assemble this dish the day before I cook it? thanks!

  • Cathryn says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I made it with a caramelized onion & fennel layer instead of the mushrooms… delicious 🙂

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