Portuguese Mains, Veganised traditional Portuguese dishes

PlantSinha (vegan Francesinha)

Most omni tourists in Portugal will seek to try the traditional ‘Francesinha’. Why is it called that? Well, apparently some Portuguese bloke came back from France in the early 50s and wanted to give ‘croque monsieur’ (a traditional cheese and ham french sandwich) a Portuguese flavour, so he added sausage, roast meat and in some cases a fried egg on top… Oh, and the most important part, the tomato and beer sauce. Also, most restaurants will serve it with french fries… I know right, talking about a dinner competition between friends to see ‘who has a heart attack first’!!

Whilst this isn’t by far my healthiest recipe, it is definitely healthier than the original, and off course, 100% vegan fatty goods. Not an everyday or every week meal but once in a while, why not!?

Time: 20min (+ about 1h to marinate tofu)

Type: Main dish

Difficulty: 1 pan

Serves: 2

What you need:

Food:

2 slices of bread (any will do, but I recommend thin as the meal is heavy)

about 200g of firm tofu, marinated in soya sauce, garlic powder and paprika

2 cooked vegan sausages

4 slices of vegan ham

4 slices of vegan cheese

A little oil or spray to fry the tofu

For the sauce:

250ml beer

1 tsp mustard

1tsp garlic powder

3 tbsp tomato puree

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp vegan butter

1 vegetable stock cube

2 tsp hot paprika

1/4 soya milk

1 tbsp port wine (or other brandy)

1 tbsp cornflour

pepper and salt to taste

Utensils:

small frying pan

small pan to make the sauce

Directions:

Cut the tofu into 2 thick blocks (about 1cm) and marinate in enough soya sauce, paprika and garlic powder (for about 1h if possible);

Once marinated, fry the tofu in a little oil, turning both sides, for a few minutes;

Meanwhile, place all the sauce ingredients in the pan, except soya milk and corn flour (dissolve the latter in the milk and add to the sauce after); Cook in low heat, stirring frequently to mix all ingredients well- when sauce turns thicker, is ready;

Place 1 block of tofu, 2 slice of ham and 1 sausage in between 2 slices of bread;

Put 2 slices of vegan cheese on top of each sandwich (if you microwave it for a few seconds, the cheese will melt better);

Once ready, pour sauce abundantly over each sandwich- serve immediately while hot!

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