Trust me, I’ve heard it all before.

You don’t like tofu.
And I understand, really I do.

You don’t like tofu in the way that I don’t like beets. You can’t explain why (I can explain why. And yes, it’s all because of my mother). Or how. But it elicits some kind of visceral response in you (your gag reflex, for example) such that even the mere mention of the word has you running for cover.

Or running after the person making the tofu with a cross in an attempt to exorcise them.

Not that that has happened to me.


And I’ll be honest with you. I used to feel the same way about tofu.

Until I had it deep fried. General Tso’s style. Turned me into an instant believer.

(This is why I stay away from deep fried Twinkies. One bite and the next thing you know I’ll be investing in a deep fryer and trying to get on the shareholders board of the Hostess corporation. Trust me, this is one of those situations in which ignorance really is bliss.)

The moral of the story being that it’s all in the preparation. I guarantee there is at least one recipe out there that will turn you into a tofu lover. (Or at least make you realize that it is not the devil incarnate. One of his henchmen, maybe, but the Big Man himself? Doubtful.) And this tofu, tempeh, and butternut squash peanut mole`, which is absolutely packed with flavor? Might just be it.

So give it a try.

And in the meantime if you happen to come across a recipe for beets that you think will not induce me to shudder uncontrollably in disgust. Feel free to let me know.

NOTE – I know I’m not going to be able to convert everyone, so for those of you who really hate tofu or, like some people out there, don’t believe it exists (yes, parents, that would be you), you can use chicken in this dish. And I’m pretty sure it will still be absolutely delicious.

Tofu, Tempeh, and Butternut Squash Peanut Mole`
Serves 4, adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

1 dried chili pepper
1 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 slice whole wheat bread, torn into strips
1 chipotle pepper in adobo
1 block extra firm tofu, frozen in its package and then defrosted in the fridge
8 oz tempeh, cut into strips
1 lb butternut squash, diced
1 tsp sugar

1. Deseed and destem the dried pepper. Chop it into small pieces and put them in a bowl. Soak in 1/2 cup hot veggie broth for half an hour.

2. In a small skillet, saute the onion until it begins to brown. Add in the garlic and cook for one minute.

3. Transfer the onion-garlic mixture, spices, chili pepper and its broth, tomatoes, and the remaining broth to a blender. Add the salt, ancho chili powder, peanut butter, bread, and chipotle pepper. Blend until smooth.

4. Cut the tofu into slices about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Squeeze each slice between the palms of your hands until all the water is removed. Cut into cubes.

5. Spray the bottom of the crockpot with nonstick spray. Spread the tofu, tempeh and squash over the bottom. Pour the sauce over them. Stir to mix well. Cover and cook on low for about 4-5 hours until the sauce is thick and the squash is tender. Stir in the sugar. Serve over rice or in tortillas.

This is the 11th recipe in my 12 weeks of winter squash! Only one more to go!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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58 Responses to 12 Weeks of Winter Squash – Crockpot Tofu, Tempeh and Butternut Squash Peanut Mole`

  1. Kim says:

    Back in the day I was a vegetarian for 7 years. I ate everything from tvp, to seitan and tempeh and liked it all. Funny thing is that I never ate tofu. I’m sure at some point I ate it without knowing, but I must have been scared of it for some reason and that fear has carried over. Everytime I see a tofu recipe, I simply turn the page. I’m willing to bet that if I tried it, I would probably like it. I think it someone prepared a dish like this I would try it 😀

  2. I like tofu in certain preparations and would definitely like it deep fried like this. The whole dish sounds amazing with all the wonderful flavors going on here!

  3. Barbara says:

    Well, actually I do like tofu. I’ve had it fried very simply and in a salad. Your recipe looks excellent!

  4. I love the tofu scramble at a local vegan resturant. It is so good and I agree it is all in the preparation!. Another great recipe.

  5. Jennie says:

    OMG! I love General Tso’s Tofu!!
    This has to be my favorite 12 weeks of winter squash post! Love it!

  6. SE(Denufood) says:

    i am amazed with the all the recipes being dished out with the squash !! Awesome!

  7. Elra says:

    Tofu and tempe are classic combination in Indonesian cooking. Looks delicious Joanne!

  8. Andreas says:

    I’m kinda neutral to tofu. Don’t hate it, but don’t really like it either.
    Your post made me google tempeh, which sounds interesting.

  9. Mari says:

    I just started to make tofu dishes at home but they don’t compare to this! AND it has PB! AMAZING!

  10. chrystad72 says:

    you are so right! I think food has alot to do with the preparation. I grew up on tofu so it never bothered me too much…but I can see how people can be turned off by the texture of it. I love it alot, but ive definitely had some bad tofu in my lifetime=) Ill keep the beets in mind and if I come across anything Ill for sure pass it along. I LOVE LOVE this recipe. Im a huge fan of mole sauce! The cinnamon, ancho chilis, PB…whats not to love? this is absolutely fantastic girl. Im so glad you shared it! Thanks!!!!

    (P.S General Tso’s tofu rocks!)

  11. sigh and I used to think you were one of my favorites…

    Tofu, beats, Brussels Sprouts, liver

    Please, for the love of all that is holy, please stop…

    But, i promise to love your next recipe

  12. oh wow this looks so tasty yep all in the preparation lol

  13. Justin says:

    this sounds great to me… i totally dig tofu, but i hate beets too!

  14. This looks like quite an intriguing recipe! I love tofu, and I also love beets. lol!

  15. I am just getting into tofu after much fussing and stubborn refusals. I will have to try this. 🙂

  16. I’ve only had tofu I liked when its at a restaurant. I try it at home and its just not the same. There is a restaurant in Chicago called Ben Pao and they have the BEST tofu I have ever eaten.

    I like the sound of this recipe, I think I would totally try it.

    Thanks Joanne! Happy New Year to You!

  17. Bob says:

    Well, I’m in the “hell no, tofu” camp. I’ve never had it fried though, I would definitely try that. Can’t help you with the beets though, I’m afraid. Heh.

  18. I can’t stand beets or liver…yeah, my mom…it’s her fault – lol.

    Not real crazy about tofu, but I trust you Joanne and I’m willing to try this.

    Of course, it will have to be a covert operation, my family would seriously gag if they knew they were eating tofu. Seriously i would like to try this.

  19. theUngourmet says:

    I actually like tofu, I’m just horrible at preparing it myself. Just about the only way I can do it right is scrambled for breakfast with some turmeric for color and some veggies thrown in. Your recipe does look scrumptious! I’d love to try it! I’m fresh out of beet recipes, however. 😀

  20. Donna-FFW says:

    Not too much of a tofu fan think I had it once. But if you say I would like this dish, I believe you. You dont care for beets? I love them, especially pickled or when I use them to make..gasp.. homemade horseradish with them, polish thing.

  21. Karine says:

    I love tofu, but not tempeh (even though I had only it once in my life.. so maybe that does not count). I did 2 classes of cooking with tofu a little more than one year ago and that was fun! I was the only non-vegetarian in the class and I learned a lot. Actually, I love chocolate mousse with silken tofu, a dessert I learned in one of these classes :).

    By the way, if you hate beets, try them pickled in mucho, mucho vinegar. Even though I hated pickled beets when I was a kid, I started to like them when I was a teen. Or maybe I started to love vinegar when I was a teen.

  22. abigail says:

    Yum! I like tofu fine, but I LOVE deep fried tofu.
    this looks great.

  23. Pad Thai made me a tofu lover. Funny – my Dad was eating some of my Pad Thai and he thought the Tofu was chicken. My Mom was like – I don’t think that’s chicken. And he insisted it was. Tee-hee. I love this with the butternut – it has some incredible flavors in it! I’m sad. Only one more to go.

  24. Shannon says:

    what an interesting dish! i hated beets when i was younger, the smell of them repulsed me 🙂 but now i LOVE them, especially roasted. what about roasted beets, pureed with some goat cheese, as a filling for ravioli??

  25. Amy says:

    I became a believer in tofu when I stopped eating meat all those years back (sort of like a distant memory, now…) – but I would only eat it if it was marinated in something (like soy sauce) for an entire day, or yes, if it was deep fried. I’ve joked for years that I’d probably eat a shoe if it was deep fried.

    p.s. I had a deep fried Twinkie at The State Fair a few years ago. So friggin’ good. Evil good.

  26. comfycook says:

    I can be militant about this. Say, No” to tofu.

    I have tried it and it has been terrible.

    I admit, yours looks good and not like tofu and probably is delicious and maybe, because it is you, Joanne, I will try it but I am not promising.

  27. Do me a favor. Make your next recipe with brussel sprouts for Dave. He will thank you for years to come.

  28. Cristie says:

    I really like tofu, but I’m not good at cooking it. But you’ve given me inspiration. Maybe I’ll give it a try in 2010— I will give it a try in 2010.

  29. Debinhawaii says:

    I only dislike badly prepared, flavorless tofu–one reason people don’t like it I think. This looks delicious–garlic, chilies, peanut butter–it works for me! 😉

  30. I love tofu and i love fried -isnt that a combo so rite jus for me…
    Oh by the way i happen to love beets too-plain boiled tossed in to a salad coz on my taste buds thats when their sweetness and a soft bite combo is heightenned-simple’y at their best….
    Oh a dash of myo or squeeze of lime or a mustardy dressing or a gingerly one too is welcome all right…
    ANd Joanne there’s a little award for ya …yeah its raining awards for u…ur sure a big sucess babes and do come by and pic it up to add to ur to season of awards…

  31. Sophie says:

    Waw!!! what an intersting & ooh so tasty looking dish!!

    Looks perfect to me!!


  32. HHa Ha ha…ho ho ho(my christmas mood is not yet dowm and wont be till feb when i make way for valentines…hehehehehhe)
    Am not suprised u noticed the pic,for the last 24 hours am loadin different pics with my absolutely sluggish’d metabolism’d laptop-and this is my first laptop ever and though i did browse on the cell am so new to the internet world and aint v comfy yet w face book et all and still not comfy with my pic being there…hehehehehe…so dont be suprised if i change my pic to a bac profile :0-))) or another cookie…hehehehe
    and a little secret-i dont even know how to twitter -m so lost there…hehehehehe
    and nobody i know personally knows about my existence on vanilla…heheheheh
    and u always brighten up my day too and always excitedly w expectation of a sunshine thought open ur messages…
    cheers to ya…..keep rocking

  33. THANKS! i’m glad i got the award. yeah, i totally need to rest hahah since i guess i cna’t sleep? possibly overtraining who knows.

    OMG. i sit here in DREAD waiting for the time i have to leave for class! i dread getting called on. and he seriously laughs at you. UGH! UGH!

    i know. who DOESN”T love new running shoes. i’d have seriously 15 pairs if i had teh $$$$.

  34. Erica says:

    I don’t like tofu! Sorry I hate tofu ;-). My vegetarian husband would love this dish.

  35. teresa says:

    hmmmm, i don’t know that i dislike tofu, as i’m just indifferent to it. perhaps this recipe would make me a believer. i used to hate beets too, have you ever tried them pickled? i know, a pickled beet sounds disgusting, but i could eat them all day long!

  36. Gulmohar says:

    I like Tofu, fried as you said ;-)but I like beets with yogurt..:-) This dish looks fabulous, Joanne 🙂

  37. Actually I am more likely to run screaming from the tempeh… but if you made it I am sure it is beyond tasty!
    I can’t believe you don’t like beets! Try them roasted. Do a tray of roasted bite sized chunks of sweet potato, beets, onions, squash, fennel.. winter stuff. Season and drizzle and roast until tender.

  38. Juliana says:

    Happy New Year Joanne! Tofu? I actually like it, but I try to vary since we can find them in various texture and shape at the local Asian store. You have a nice combination of ingredients in this dish…looks yummie and very tasty 🙂

  39. Nostalgia says:

    You are convincing when you say you can make a tofu lover with your recipe.. I am intrigued and will shortly give this a try.

  40. Kerstin says:

    What a flavorful dish – it looks so good! I actually really like tofu, but I’m still working on convincing my meat-loving hubby that we should have it more often.

  41. Faith says:

    I think I’m in love…this dish sounds phenomenal! I love tofu but I’ve never tried tempeh…I’ve been meaning to though, and this recipe gives me the perfect reason to pick up some tempeh next time I’m at the store.

    Hmmm, about beets. Did you ever try them roasted with a little olive oil and then topped with goat cheese? 😉

  42. Kris says:

    this looks and sounds delish!

  43. I’m not a huge fan of tofu but this might change my mind! Looks amazing!

  44. Karen says:

    I don’t like tofu. I don’t hate it, it’s just that I’ve never had it prepared to where I thought it was yummy. Now, fried… that might do it for me!

  45. Catherine says:

    This looks fantastic Joanne! So Yummy!

  46. preventionrd says:

    That dish looks wonderful! Thanks for the recipe! Love your blog : )

  47. Marcia says:

    Now this looks like some good stuff. I’m all about the crockpot.

  48. Chef Aimee says:

    I love my crockpot, and this recipe is going to make my crockpot love IT! Thanks for sharing this – I must try!

  49. sophia says:

    Only you, Joanne, would make my mouth water at the sight and thought of tofu. I applaud the master!

  50. Angie says:

    Looks delicious! I have had tofu a few times that is good, but this looks way better. I would love it this way!

  51. Ivy says:

    I’ve never tried tofu but I might try it in the future. Thanks for passing from my blog.

  52. This is a great mole recipe! Thanks for stopping by my site. Love your blog!

  53. Lisa says:

    Joanne, considering you run marathons, your injury is, as you eluded to, far more inconvenient! I’m almost thankful I don’t do much more outside of PT, and the usual gym equipment LOL I’m still not fully healed, as torn knee ligaments, post surgery, take forever, but I can’t tell you how great it feels to WALK (and knead bread) again! To think we all take that for granted!

    That said, that squash – tofu dish looks amazing – so colorful and luscious..a must try! Looking forward to seeing some of your challah! I NEED to start kneading some more breads, pronto 🙂

  54. Debbie says:

    I’ve had tofu once that I thought was chicken and it was fine! I also had it in a chocolate cake….sounds strange but the cake was great!

  55. Katy ~ says:

    Chicken, definitely chicken.

    Can’t help you with the beets; I think they’re an acquired taste. I happen to love them.

  56. Oh great – here I comment on first post, can’t have it, I’m eating clean. Second post, can have it, perfect for clean eating and then third post you give me deep fried tofu! You are just trying to confuse me aren’t you? 😉

  57. […] Four years ago…Crockpot Tofu, Tempeh, and Peanut Butter Squash Mole […]

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