Incredible Vegetable Buckwheat Tofu Bake with Cashews and Thyme Béchamel Sauce

Main Dishes

A festive recipe from Maria-Carin’s soon to be published book, Lick Your Plate.

Buckwheat tofu bake

My sister used to own an organic vegetarian lunch café in Freiburg, Germany and she had an elderly lady cook for her that was a well-seasoned German cook with plenty of years of experience. One day, when I was visiting from Australia, this woman made a buckwheat loaf with cheese and milk in it that I tried – and it blew my mind. I flew home to Australia to get onto making a vegan, gluten-free version of her creation and here it is! After many trials, I think you will love this hearty taste of Europe.

Serves 4-6


1 cup buckwheat, soaked overnight in water
1 matchbox-size piece of kombu
1 bay leaf
250 firm tofu, crumbled
1 leek, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
2 cups pumpkin, chopped finely, or grated
1/2 cup cashews raw, about 100g roughly chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped – “Freshens the breath after eating garlic or onion. Like dill it’s good for tickling and other sensual caresses, replacing the feather that is now completely passé.” – Aphrodite
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp paprika
1-2 tbsp tamari
Salt and pepper, to taste
Olive oil
More parsley, to garnish


Drain the soaked buckwheat and place it in a pot with enough water to cover about 1 cm, add the piece of kombu, the bay leaf and cook until tender.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

In a frying pan sauté the leek with the carrot, zucchini and garlic in olive oil; after a few minutes add the tofu and cashews.

When all of that is slightly browned, place in a big bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients.

Spread this mixture into a well-oiled baking dish and bake for roughly 30 minutes.

Let cool for a tad, then cut into pieces, serve with Béchamel Sauce (see below) or a Mushroom Gravy (see recipe Lentil Loaf) – and a sprinkle of parsley.

Thyme Béchamel White Sauce

This is basically a white sauce, as the Aussies would call it. My German stepfather used to call it ‘Béchamel, the mother sauces in French cuisine’. He did a fantastic job at making it every time and it was a show to watch him whisk it vigorously. Here is my vegan version that I think is just as plate-lickingly delicious. Really nice with Incredible Vegetable Buckwheat Tofu Bake (recipe above) or steamed vegetables, boiled potatoes and Tofu Fish Fingers.

Serves 2-4


1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp chickpea (besan) flour
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 stock cube, of the good kind, crumbled
1 pinch of nutmeg – blacklisted in the convents of the Little Sisters of the Poor due to aphrodisiac properties
1 or 2 tsp lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil and flour gently in a saucepan, whisking diligently.

Brown 1-2 minutes until fragrant, then add the thyme.

Slowly add some soy milk and whisk!

Add more soy milk. Keep whisking, and add the rest of the milk slowly while whisking.

When the whole amount of milk is used up, turn down to low heat and gently simmer.

Add the stock. Simmer for a few minutes: this thickens the sauce by cooking the flour.

Season with the lemon juice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Voilà, c’est ça. Bon appétit!

Lick Your Plate by Maria-Carin GalaThis is one of the many recipes included in Maria-Carin’s cookbook, Lick My Plate, to be published shortly.

You can reserve your copy on her website, and watch her video presentation on

Maria-Carin Gala

Maria-Carin is a regular contributor with delicious recipes.

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