Last week, I performed my first surgical procedure as a someday-to-be physician on this right here stew.

Baited breaths were held as scalpel hit skin.  Anyone with a Y chromosome was instructed to look away or vacate the premises for fear of revolt and/or inability to remain conscious.


Because, you see…I castrated it.  Took the coq right out of the coq-au-vin (you knew I had to go there), replacing it instead with tofu and a tomato sauce/vegetable broth combo.

And if you want to know my honest-to-goodness opinion…it was none the worse for the wear (or sutures).  It still had that rich, meaty umami flavor and texture thanks to the finely minced mushrooms that were scattered throughout the sauce, easily weaseling their way into every bite; and the tofu that, after 30 minutes of braising and sauteeing, had been transformed from flavorless hunks of soy protein into salty smoky bites of delicious.

This recipe was chosen by Evi + Sam for this week’s Food Matters Project.  And while it was probably not something I would have made if left to my own devices, I was really glad that I did.  When served over polenta, this stew was rich and hearty while still being ass-friendly.  Who doesn’t love it when that happens?  Be sure to check out their blog for the original recipe!

PS – All zipping endeavors were a GO and a fabulous time was had by all.  (And by all…I mean me.)  If you want to see pictures, check out my album on facebook. And if we’re not facebook friends…then…awkward. Let’s get on that.


Coq-au-Vin-less Coq au Vin
Serves 4, adapted from The Food Matters Cookbook


  • 1 eggplant, cubed
  • salt
  • 3 oz tempeh bacon, cut into small strips
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, pressed and patted dry, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 10 oz frozen pearl onions
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms, minced or food processed into tiny pieces
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • several sprigs fresh thyme
  • several sprigs fresh parsley
  • 8 oz green beans
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups water


  1. Sprinkle the eggplant liberally with salt and let it rest in a colander for 20 minutes in the sink.  Rinse and pat dry.  (This will make the eggplant less bitter.)  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large, deep skillet or dutch oven.  Cook tempeh bacon over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon starts to brown, 2 minutes.  Add the tofu to the pan.  Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until the outside starts to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, mushrooms, and eggplant to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables give up their liquid and start to dry out and brown, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the garlic after about 5 minutes of cooking.
  3. Add the broth, tomato sauce, bay leaves, herbs, and green beans to the pan.  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently but steadily.  Let the liquid boil until it is reduced by about half and becomes thick and saucy.  Lower the heat again. Stir in the butter.  Remove the bay leaves and herb sprigs.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.  Serve over polenta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, if desired.


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Spartan Race for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you learned anything in sixth grade history class, it should have been that of all the ancient civilizations in our past…

…the pyramid-builders, the fertile crescent-dwellers, the Confucianists.

It really all came down to two.

The Spartans.  And everyone else.

You see, the Spartans were the baddest of the bad.  They talked the talk, walked the walk, AND flung the javelins.  Quite the force to be reckoned with, they were.

(Might this have anything to do with the fact that they gave women more rights and equality than any other classical civilization…I can’t say for sure. But we all know that behind every great nation-state, there’s a fabulous woman.  So my hunch is…yes.)

Unfortunately, they were defeated by the Thebans in 371 BC.  But thankfully, for us, their spirit lives on today. In the form of the Spartan Race.

Spartan races are combined races and obstacle courses that test not just your cardiovascular abilities but also your brute strength.  That’s not to say you have to have the physique or physical prowess of a Spartan in order to participate in one!  There are races for all shapes, sizes, and levels of endurance, ranging from beginner 5K mud runs, to kids races, to 40+ milers for the really insane among us.  One of my coworkers is actually participating in one in June, and this is a girl who has never run or worked out a day in her life.  Until now.  There’s something about the out-of-the-box nature of this race (and the opportunity it affords her to run through fire…yes she’s a little crazy) that appeals to her, as I’m sure it would to many of you!  So I highly encourage checking it out and considering participating in one, especially if you’re one of those people who thinks running is boring.  This is definitely a great way to incorporate fitness in your life in a fun and challenging way!  To learn more about the Spartan Race and to see frequently asked questions and answers about it, check out this link.

As for me…I’m excited to channel the spirit of the Spartans through my coworker and watch her as she completes her first race! And who knows…I may find that I too have an inner Spartan inside of me, just bursting to get out.

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62 Responses to Vegetarian Coq-au-Vin-less Coq au Vin..and The Spartan Race Experience {the food matters project}

  1. Looks delish! Friends of mine are doing a Spartan Race and tried to get me to join, but I declined… Maybe someday I’ll be adventurous enough and join them! 🙂

  2. OohLookBel says:

    If you squint, that looks like chicken! I bet it tastes as good as if not better than a ‘proper’ coq au vin.

  3. Claudie says:

    :)) This post really made me smile. I didn’t expect this substitution, but if someone can get rid of the chicken in the coq-au-vin and add (successfully) tofu instead, that’s certainly you!

  4. Danielle says:

    Looks like a successful surgery!

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I am so intrigued at the idea of meatless coq au vin

  6. Lynn says:

    I like that you put it on polenta (yum!)

    Tonight I’m making that onion gravy you showcased a few posts ago to go with lentil chard stew. I made colcannon this weekend and I’m sure some of that would be good on it (lots left over.)

    I wanted to see your facebook gallery, but it said the content was currently unavailable.

  7. I love your vegified version – it definitely sounds satisfying and packed with flavor! You look so pretty in your size TINY dress! ;P

  8. brocstar says:

    That tofu looks really beef-like. You could probably fool a meat eater with that.

  9. Margarita says:

    Oh my, I have tofu in the fridge and could’ve used it but my boyfriend was walking around with a sad face after pretty much no meet for two weeks. This looks so good! you even used the pearl onions! Glad you had fun at the ball.

  10. Amy says:

    You know…I don’t think I’ve ever even had coq au vin. Crazy, right? So, I probably wouldn’t taste the difference anyway. More importantly, when you say “fun was had by ALL…all being ME” – HE had fun, too, yes? He’s a cutie and you looked great. Will there be a 6th date?

  11. Saguna says:

    MMMM, I love polenta…and I’ve never been able to have coq au vin but now that it’s veggie I am SO down. PS, you are hilarious. I haven’t laughed this hard at a like..forever.

  12. Ranjani says:

    I love how your vegetarian food goes way beyond stereotypical salads. This looks so hearty – who would even notice that there’s no meat? Also I am totally fb friending you now

  13. Lexi says:

    Great surgery! I always think of my niece when I read your blog. She is in the exact same program at Stanford. You au vin looks great.

  14. Jenna says:

    Only because I’ve made your recipes and trust your taste buds can I believe that coq au vin is just as good without the coq. Or the real bacon. As for me, I think I will stick with the uncastrated version for now . . . I just don’t know if I can let go.

  15. Coq au vin has never really appealed to me but this version sounds so good! I’d probably have to add in some wine because I’m loving anything cooked in wine lately, and I love the idea of serving it on polenta!

  16. Laura says:

    What a fabulous twist on Coq au vin! This recipe looks superb Joanne. Congrats to your coworker on her run-I want to hear how it goes!

  17. Interesting tofu au vin. And what happened to the vin? You drank it and had none left for the recipe? The only thing left from the original recipe is the au:)

  18. Joanne,

    I love tempeh and I love what you did with this dish. It sounds like a hearty and full bodied flavored vegetarian dish. Great!

  19. In the 5 years I lived in Calgary I have seen pearl onions once, sigh. Love your pictures.

  20. Jenn Kendall says:

    oh wow, this sounds like a fantastic vegetarian of coq-au-vin! i’m not vegetarian, but i definitely want to try this 🙂

  21. Nicole says:

    Woohoo for the zipper success!
    And hello yummies for this recipe!

  22. this looks incredible. Love the “less” part

  23. Wow, interesting twist on Coq au vin, it looks delicious!

  24. Indie.Tea says:

    I’m a vegetarian, and I’ve never had the coq-au-vin…but I’ve always been intrigued. I’ll have to try your veggie version – looks and sounds delicious!

  25. vianney says:

    a veggie version of coq-au-vin, simply genius…love it!

  26. Sounds great Joanne – I love the textures that you added.

  27. Marcia says:

    I actually thought about trying tofu but wasn’t sure how it would go over. But now that I’ve seen this, I’ll give it a try for sure. Congratulations on a successful operation, Doctor!

  28. Evi says:

    I love the idea of tofu in this. I’m liking how everyone did a fun variation of a vegetable coq au vin. And gorgeous pictures, as always.

  29. Reeni says:

    Leave it to you to make a meatless coq-au-vin and still have it be every bit as delicious as the original! You look beautiful – such a handsome couple you make!

  30. I am so inspired by what you did – you make tofu look good, girl. Now, going to Facebook to de-awkwardize this situation. 🙂

  31. I need a whole lotta this stuff on my plate. Everything screams delicious. Please be my neighbor.

  32. As much as I love tofu, I was a little skeptical when I read this recipe name! But that really does look delicious. I also had no clue that tempeh bacon existed!

  33. sophia says:

    AAAH!!! No Joanne no!!! You just bastardized a wonderful dish! As much as I admit tofu can be a fine ingredient, I firmly believe it is best mixed with meat as it was meant to be in Asian cultures.

    But I have to admit…it does look kinda good…heh heh heh.

  34. I’ve always wanted to try fake bacon. This would be a fab way 🙂

  35. Julie says:

    Glad to hear the date was good and the zipping went well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the pics!

  36. Katie says:

    I never would have thought of making this recipe vegetarian, but your rendition of it sounds pretty delicious. I’m a huge tempeh fan! The polenta underneath is a great addition too!

  37. Johanna GGG says:

    who needs coq in coq au vin – though I do like a little vin in mine – but this looks like a great mid winter stew – glad the date went well and the zipper got there!

  38. kyleen says:

    I would have never guessed that it was tofu, not meat. Looks so good and hearty and delicious.

    LOL “Because, you see…I castrated it. Took the coq right out of the coq-au-vin (you knew I had to go there), replacing it instead with tofu and a tomato sauce/vegetable broth combo.”

  39. what a great adaptation of a recipe! And I love the Spartans – so good luck for the race 🙂

  40. LOL, I was going to tell you that you could have called this “Coq-less Coq au Vin” until I realized there was no vin either. I love your adaptation! Good job getting that zipper up–you look great in the dress! And your date is so cute too!

  41. Epicurea says:

    it really is amazing what 30 minutes can do to improve tofu! although i am a huge fan of the original coq au vin, this looks delicious (maybe creating a new proper name is in order? tofu aux champignons…)

  42. Blond Duck says:

    I wish I could make this, but Ben’s allergic to mushrooms.

    I’ve always wanted to try a spartan race!

  43. Suzi says:

    This does sound good. I am going to try making this one, thanks!

  44. sally says:

    Love the name of this dish and I’m sure I’d love the flavor. Good job on the surgery!

  45. That Girl says:

    Every first surgery should be so delicious!

  46. I was a vegetarian who loved meat. I tried so hard to stick with it, because I really hate the unethical treatment of animals, but due to some health issues I am back on the animals again I’m afraid. However, stuff like this gives me hope. I had a “beef” stroganoff recipe that was my go-to when I was feeling an urge and it was comforting, flavorful, and curbed the craving. I feel like this would be a similar recipe for me 🙂

  47. Katerina says:

    I think this vegan version is as close to the original coq recipe as possible! To be honest with you I am a meat lover and I love coq au vin with the coq, but if I decided to eat it without the meat I would definitely want a recipe like this one, Joanne! Looks really delicious!

  48. Even though I am a big meat eater, you know my husband and I LOVE vegetarian food and this is a must try. Love it with the cremini and the eggplant. YUM

  49. Deborah says:

    Seriously – looking at this, you’d never guess it was meat-free!!

  50. JasmyneTea says:

    I’ve never tried coq-au-vin, but I love how you’ve used the tofu – it doesn’t even look like tofu!
    Also, as you cross the finish line you HAVE to yell “THIS IS SPARTA!”. 🙂

  51. I have never considered a veg coq au vin but this really does sound delicious! You’re such a med student! It’s so funny. So is my husband, so I’m used to it 😉

  52. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Looks delicious to me no matter how you sliced it. Blessings my dearest, Catherine xoxo

  53. beti says:

    I’m afraid that I might become vegetarian, I’ve seen many great vegetarian recipes that I would love to try

  54. Very cool idea!! I need to experiment with tempeh in dishes like this – my recent experiences with the ingredient left me underwhelmed.

  55. Joanne you are amazing!! I would never think to take the coq out of the coq au vin. Love it!

  56. Shannon says:

    ha. love the excision here, but it’s sort of all about the polenta in these pictures… 🙂

  57. Chris says:

    Still snickering about your coq jokes 😉

  58. Vegaia says:

    It must be all the great vegan food available that the number of vegans has doubled in the US in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos to help everyone understand why so many people are making this life affirming choice: and

  59. I was wondering what you were going to do with this one! Very creative and it looks delicious–especially over that creamy polenta. 😉

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