Updated: Sep 27, 2021
I enjoy the creative process of taking traditional "standard American diet" dishes and turning them into healthy, whole food, plant-based recipes. Recently, I came across a recipe I used to enjoy in my pre-plant-based days. It's a turkey tetrazzini my mother-in-law, Joan, used to make to use up the leftover turkey after Thanksgiving. In fact, that is the only time I can remember her making it. Wikipedia describes Tetrazzini as "an American dish made with diced poultry or seafood and mushroom in a butter/cream and cheese sauce flavored with wine or sherry. It is served hot over linguine, spaghetti, egg noodles, or some other types of pasta". Joan's version fit this bill and was full of animal fat from lots of cheese, butter, cream, and the turkey.
Now with this wholesome, plant-based version you can have your tetrazzini anytime using my Un-chicken tofu and many of the elements of Joan's original recipe without all the fat. I honestly think it tastes much like her original, but better!
1 recipe Un-chicken Tofu
8 ounces brown-rice spaghetti noodles
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth, divided into 1 1/2 cups and 1/4 cup
1/4 cup chopped onion
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or use 1 10 ounce bag frozen mushrooms)
1 1/2 cups plant milk (I use oat milk)
1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (I use from a jar)
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup nutritional yeast*
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs (I use 1 slice Ezekiel bread pulverized in a blender), plus more for garnish
Heat oven to 350°. Break spaghetti noodles into thirds and cook according to the package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Set aside.
Combine the arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) and 1/4 cup vegetable broth in a small bowl or jar and mix thoroughly. You should not see any lumps of the arrowroot.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onions and mushrooms until the liquid released from the mushrooms is mostly evaporated (about 10 minutes).
Add the milk, the remaining 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, and sherry to the mushrooms and onions, whisking as they are added. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk in the arrowroot/vegetable broth mixture. Cook 5 minutes stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken slightly. Remove from the heat.
Add the cooked spaghetti, un-chicken tofu, peas, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Combine thoroughly and transfer to a large shallow baking dish (I used a 9x13 pan). Sprinkle the 1/2 cup breadcrumbs evenly over the top and cover pan tightly with foil.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350° or until bubbly. Top each serving with some chopped parsley and a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. Serves 4 generously.
*Nutritional yeast is a very healthy deactivated yeast packed with B-vitamins, folic acid, selenium, zinc, and protein. It does not in any way resemble or taste like brewers yeast or bread yeast. It is a yellow flake (use the flake kind not the powder if possible) that dissolves into the food you add it to imparting that cheese-nut flavor. You can find it at Whole Foods or in health and natural food stores or order it online here.