vegan cheddar-style cheesefor the grits (optional)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for the roasted vegetables.
Prepare the tofu marinade in a small baking pan (8x8 or smaller) by whisking together the soy sauce, maple syrup, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, sriracha, vinegar, 1 tablespoon neutral oil, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
Add the tofu triangles to the marinade, tossing to coat as needed. The tofu can also be marinated in a freezer bag. Marinate for 15 minutes or up to 24 hours.
To cook the tofu, heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet or other non-stick skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add enough neutral oil to coat the pan.
Working in two batches, add half of the tofu to the pan. Reserve the marinade. Cook the tofu for 2-3 minutes on each side, until turning golden.
After each side has been cooked, add ½ of the reserved marinade. This will cook very quickly and blacken the tofu edges. Flip the tofu for even cooking. Remove blackened tofu from the pan and set on a paper towel or clean towel to drain (optional).
Slice the cap off the okra, then slice the okra in half so that it is two pieces. Slice the red bell pepper into medium strips.
On a sheet pan, toss the okra (without the cap) and bell pepper with enough oil to coat, about 1-2 teaspoons. Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast the veggies at 425F for just 15-20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, make the grits. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pot. Once boiling, stir in the grits and ½ teaspoon of salt. Reduce the heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The grits are ready when the water is absorbed and the grits are cooked through.
To the cooked grits add ¼ cup soy milk, the butter, ¼ cup nutritional yeast, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add extra milk as needed to thin the grits.
Assemble the bowls by distributing the grits, tofu, and vegetables between 4 bowls. Top with pepitas and sliced green onions. Optionally, add vegan shredded cheddar to the grits. Enjoy!
Old-fashioned grits: Instant grits and stone-cut grits have different cooking methods and times. If using these, cook according to package instructions.
Sriracha: Regular hot sauce also works, but I recommend starting with just ½ tablespoon (1.5 teaspoons) and adjusting to taste.
Salt: If concerned about salt content, choose a salt-free Cajun seasoning and omit salt on the roasted veggies. Choose reduced-sodium soy sauce and adjust the salt in the grits to taste.
A note on timing: There are a few moving parts in this recipe. The easiest way to work is to marinate the tofu, then prepare the veggies. Add those to the oven, then start cooking the grits. By this point, the tofu should be ready to cook on the stove. Do note that grits continue to thicken after cooking, so they are best prepared just before serving.
Nutrition facts are only an estimation and vary based on ingredients used.