Food & Drink

Veg Out with “The New Chicago Diner Cookbook”

Vegan comfort food is where it’s at

chicago diner cookbook!

Thirty years before trendy juice cleanses and paleo diets, The Chicago Diner stood alone as a meat-free mecca in the Midwest. To celebrate three decades of veg-friendly dining, the landmark has released The New Chicago Diner Cookbook, a plant-based primer chockful of comfort food. Among Chef Jo Kaucher’s recipes, including the Radical Reuben (her most popular dish) and hearty quinoa chili, we spied these tempting tofu morsels. Looks like we found our new favorite party treats.

Ginger Coconut Tofu Bites
Makes 24 bites

2 blocks extra-firm tofu
2 c. cornstarch
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ground ginger
½ c. agave nectar
2 tsp. dry ground mustard
2 tsp. sea salt
1 c. vegetable or coconut oil, divided
¼ c. toasted coconut shreds

chicago diner cookbook!

1. Gently press moisture out of tofu with cheesecloth or paper towel. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ginger.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together mustard, agave, and sea salt to make a dressing.

3. Cut tofu in ½-inch cubes; toss cubes in cornstarch mixture until covered.

4. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm about half the oil. When the oil begins to bubble, add half the tofu. Fry tofu on each side for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and repeat with remaining oil and tofu.

5. Once cool, toss batches of tofu bites in the mustard dressing until coated.

6. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease baking sheet with cooking spray.

7. Toss the bites in shredded coconut until coated. Transfer to baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Serve immediately.

The New Chicago Diner Cookbook is available at amazon.com, $16.

Photos: Reprinted with permission from The New Chicago Diner Cookbook by Jo A. Kaucher with Kat Barry and the Chicago Diner Crew, Agate Midway, December 2013