Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caramelized Onion Tofu Frittata with Gazpacho

During the summer, it seems like my mother always has a large jug of gazpacho in the fridge. Having a cold soup on hand at all times seems reasonable, seeing as is usually upwards of 90 F / 32 C most summer days in Madrid. My mother is not the only person I know with a deep, undying love for gazpacho though. My friend Julian started suffering gazpacho withdrawals a few months into his stay in the US. With a crazy look in his eyes, he would say to me "Mi reino por un gazpacho" ("I'd give my kingdom for some gazpacho"). During his time of need, we went to a Latin American festival in Worcester where we met a fellow Spaniard. Not knowing of Julian's craving, the guy said to him "Have you seen the stand over there where they're selling gazpacho?". When the guy confessed he was kidding, Julian looked like a kid who'd just been told Santa doesn't exist. Fortunately for him, my parents visited town a couple weeks later and my mother made Julian some of her delicious gazpacho, and let him keep his kingdom.

As delicious as gazpacho is, it's usually not filling enough to be a meal unto itself.  In order to add some heft and protein to our dinner, I decided to pair it with a veggie-loaded frittata. Traditional frittata is a thick egg omelette, made with cheese, veggies and, in some cases, meat. In this version, the egg is replaced with tofu, the nutritional yeast provides a cheesy undertone, and the caramelized onions, sun dried tomatoes and arugula provide sweetness, tang and peppery flavor. The result is lighter and much healthier than the egg-centric version. So go ahead and make your own frittata, and serve it with some gazpacho to bring a taste of summer to your March.

Makes about 5 1/2 cups (about 3 servings in our house)
  • 2 lb 4 oz / 1 kg / about 8 medium ripe red tomatoes
  • 5 1/2 oz / 150 g / about 1/2 medium cucumber peeled 
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 generous tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 liberal tablespoons vinegar
Chop the tomatoes, cuke, bell pepper and garlic roughly and toss them in the blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If you'd like to get rid of the tomato seeds and other small bits of veggies you can pass the soup through a food mill. I skipped this step since I like my gazpacho on the rustic side. Lastly, garnish with chopped tomatoes, cukes and pepper if you'd like.

Caramelized Onion Tofu Frittata
Makes about 6 servings
  • 1 lb extra firm tofu, broken into pieces
  • 3 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup packed arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (I used the kind packed in oil, but you could use rehydrated dried ones instead)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2-3 tablespoons water
1.  In a medium to large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, stir them to make sure they're coated in olive oil, and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook the onions until they're a beautiful caramel color, which should take 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you don't leave the onions alone to do their thing for at least 5-10 minutes at a time they won't caramelize. You've been warned. This does seem like a lot of work to go through for just some onions but your frittata won't be the same without their sweetness. Use the down time to make some gazpacho or another side dish.
2.  Preheat your oven to 350 F / 175 C. In a food processor, combine the tofu, cornstarch, salt, spices and nutritional yeast. Whiz it until it forms a uniform paste. With the processor running, add the water a little at a time through the feeding tube until the mixture is smooth and has a consistency similar to store-bought hummus (the version I make at home is a bit thicker). Transfer the mixture into a bowl and fold in the onions, arugula, and the sun dried tomatoes. Pour the contents of the bowl into an oiled 9-inch pie dish, evening out the top, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top has browned and the frittata is firm to the touch. Let it set out of the oven for a few minutes before cutting it. Serve it warm or at room temperature.


  1. You would LOVE that frittata. The gazpacho, I'm afraid, is not news to you.