Vegan tofu moqueca - a vegan tofu and vegetable version of the traditional Brazilian dish. This vegan moqueca is easy to make, healthy, satisfying and full of delicious tropical flavours.
Moqueca is a traditional Brazilian stew which consists of firm white fish cooked in a coconut, lime, tomato and palm oil sauce. Luckily, most things taste good in a coconut and lime sauce so making a delicious vegan version really wasn't difficult!
This vegan tofu moqueca is one of my favourite dishes and is one that I have been making often. The sauce is rich and creamy yet light and fresh at the same time. It is packed full of vegetables, along with fried tofu for protein, and it makes for a very satisfying yet healthy meal.
I use a mixture of butternut squash, red peppers, green beans and spinach but do feel free to vary the vegetables you use to suit you. The peppers are traditional however so I would keep those in if you can.
I like to roast the butternut squash separately rather than cooking it in the sauce with the other vegetables as I think that it has the best flavour when roasted. If you want to cut out this step then you can of course cook it directly in the sauce instead.
The sauce is very easy to make - you just fry some onion in coconut oil then add garlic, chilli, ginger, chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, vegetable stock, lime juice and salt and pepper. It is simple but so full of flavour!
I like to serve this vegan tofu moqueca with rice and fried plantain on the side. It is also delicious with farofa, which is a toasted cassava flour mixture. If you are able to get hold of some cassava flour then I recommend giving it a try! There are plenty of recipes floating around on the internet which are easy to veganise by using vegan butter or olive oil.
Moqueca is traditionally made with red palm oil (also known as dendê oil), which has a distinctive flavour and colour. While it is possible to buy sustainably sourced palm oil, it can be hard to find in supermarkets, so I use unrefined coconut oil instead which I think is a great substitute and complements the flavour of the sauce well.
How To Make Vegan Tofu Moqueca:
Start by roasting your butternut squash for about thirty minutes until it is tender. Alternatively, skip this step and add it to the sauce to cook later.
To make the moqueca sauce, gently fry a finely chopped onion in some coconut oil until it is soft and translucent. Add crushed garlic, chopped red chilli and grated fresh ginger and fry for another minute.
Add chopped fresh tomatoes and cook for about ten minutes until they are very soft. Now add coconut milk, vegetable stock, the juice of a lime and plenty of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce up to a simmer.
If you didn't roast your butternut squash, now is the time to add it to the sauce. Simmer for about ten minutes until just tender before adding the other vegetables.
Add sliced red peppers, green beans and frozen spinach to the pan. Simmer gently for ten minutes, until the vegetables are just tender.
While the veg is cooking, fry some diced tofu in a separate pan until it is crisp on all sides. Add the fried tofu to the moqueca, along with the roasted butternut squash (unless you cooked it in the sauce instead, in which case it will already be in there!) and some chopped fresh coriander.
Check the seasoning and add more salt/pepper/lime juice as required. Serve the moqueca with rice and fried plantain.
Can I Make It In Advance?:
I think that this moqueca is best eaten freshly made, but any leftovers are great re-heated so in a pinch it could be made in advance and reheated as needed. Bear in mind that the sauce will thicken over time however.
You May Also Like:
- Vegan vegetable tagine with almond and chickpea couscous
- Vegetable and pearl barley stew with herby dumplings (vegan)
- Red lentil dahl with roasted cauliflower and butternut squash (vegan)
Vegan Tofu Moqueca
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 1kg unprepared weight) peeled, de-seeded and cut into 2cm dice
- 2 Tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 large brown onion peeled and finely choppd
- 1.5 Tbsp virgin coconut oil
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 inch piece fresh ginger grated
- 1 red chilli finely chopped
- 3 large or 4 medium tomatoes finely chopped
- 400 ml tin of full fat coconut milk
- 240 ml (1 cup) strong vegetable stock
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 red bell peppers thinly sliced
- 100 g green beans
- 150 g frozen spinach
- 300 g firm tofu well drained and diced
- a handful of fresh coriander (cilantro) finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Spread the butternut squash out in a roasting tray and drizzle over 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes until tender.
- Meanwhile, heat the coconut oil in a large pan over a low heat. Add the diced onion and cook gently for 10 minutes until it is soft and translucent.
- Add the crushed garlic, chopped red chilli and grated fresh ginger and fry for another minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to fry for about 10 minutes until they are very soft.
- Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock, lime juice and plenty of salt and pepper. Bring the sauce up to a simmer.
- Add the sliced peppers, green beans and frozen spinach and simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
- Meanwhile, fry the tofu in the remaining Tbsp of olive oil until it is golden.
- Add the fried tofu and the roasted butternut squash to the pan, along with the chopped fresh coriander. Check the seasoning and add more salt/pepper/lime juice as needed.
- Serve the moqueca with rice and fried plantain.