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Looking for a festive appetizer? Try our stovetop asparagus with tofu ricotta and spicy bread crumbs – ready to eat in 15 minutes!
Can’t get enough tofu ricotta
Lately, I’ve been so into both asparagus and tofu ricotta. Between oven-roasted asparagus with citrus and pistachio and butternut squash orzo bake with tofu ricotta, I can’t get enough, so I decided to combine them and add some spicy bread crumbs on top to create a festive vegan appetizer.
Stovetop asparagus is so simple
What is so wonderful about this recipe is the simplicity of the preparation combined with the fresh lemony tofu ricotta and the spicy bread crumbs. Together this dish is 100% a holiday home run that takes just minutes to make.
The three components: the asparagus, the bread crumbs, and the tofu ricotta take about 5 minutes each to prep. Then all you need to do is combine the pieces together on a serving plate and bam – you’ve got your appetizer.
What ingredients do you need to make stovetop asparagus with tofu ricotta and spicy breadcrumbs?
There are a few components here so let’s divide them up!
For the asparagus…
Fresh asparagus and extra virgin olive oil: Since there are a lot of other flavors going on in the dish, I kept the asparagus simple. You’ll need one bunch of asparagus plus a tablespoon of olive oil to sauté the spears.
For the tofu ricotta
Tofu and white miso: To make the tofu ricotta, you’ll first need some tofu. My personal preference for ricotta is to go with an extra firm tofu that comes packaged in a bed of water. You don’t need to press the tofu or anything. Just give it a few shakes and cut it in half. The other half can be used for other recipes. You will also need some white miso. This helps balance out the bitterness that tofu can occasionally have and provides some nice umami vibes.
Lemon zest and lemon juice: Zest that lemon before you cut it. It’ll make your life easier! To add some tanginess to the ricotta, you’ll need both lemon juice and lemon zest.
Nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt: And lastly for the tofu ricotta you’ll need some seasonings. Nutritional yeast adds that cheesy goodness while the garlic and onion powder bring some balance to the overall taste. Salt to taste pulls the ricotta together at the end.
For the spicy bread crumbs
Bread crumbs, minced garlic, and extra virgin olive oil: Toasting your bread crumbs for this recipe is a must. First, it makes things crunchier, and second, it brings out the flavor of the spices more which gives the dish more dimension. To toast the breadcrumbs, you’ll need some olive oil. You’ll also need a minced garlic clove for extra flavor and texture.
Dried thyme, red pepper flakes, salt & pepper: To season the bread crumbs, you’ll need some dried thyme, salt, and pepper. And then to make the bread crumbs spicy, grab some red pepper flakes. This recipe would also work with Aleppo pepper or any other mild-ish pepper flake. Part of me wants to try this with dried chile de árbol, but I’m not sure if my stomach can take the heat.
How do you make stovetop asparagus with tofu ricotta and spicy bread crumbs?
Since all three parts of the recipe – the stovetop asparagus, tofu ricotta, and spicy bread crumbs – need to be prepped separately, it’s easiest to divide this into sections!
For the stovetop asparagus
Prepping the asparagus is super simple. To do this, you’ll need a knife, a cutting board, a measuring spoon, a skillet, and a silicone spatula. Simply heat your skillet and trim the edges of the asparagus. Then, add the asparagus to the pan and drizzle with olive oil.
Let the asparagus cook for 7-10 minutes, flipping halfway through. The asparagus should still have a pretty good crunch but have some nice browning on the outside. Meanwhile, turn to your food processor.
Make the tofu ricotta
To make the tofu ricotta, you will need a food processor, a silicone spatula, a zester, and a set of measuring spoons. Start by zesting the lemon, and then add all of the ingredients – the zest, lemon juice, tofu, nutritional yeast, miso, onion powder, and garlic powder – together into a food processor. Combine the ingredients until smooth. You may have to scrape the edges a few times to achieve this or add a few tablespoons of water.
Lastly, taste the ricotta and add salt to taste, and set aside.
Make the spicy bread crumbs
To make the spicy bread crumbs, you’ll need a measuring cup, measuring spoons, a small skillet, and a silicone spatula. Add all of the ingredients into a small skillet on low and cook until the spices are fragrant and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. The longer you’re able to cook the spices, the spicier it will be since the heat of the pan releases the heat of the red pepper flakes. This will take about five minutes.
Assemble the appetizer!
To assemble the dish, find a plate or a cute serving tray, then add the tofu ricotta to the plate. Use a spoon to spread the ricotta and place the asparagus on top. Arrange the asparagus spears until they look nice. Before adding the bread crumbs, season the asparagus with a little salt and pepper, then add the bread crumbs.
Substitution ideas and more for stovetop asparagus
This stovetop asparagus is awesome, but if you can’t find certain ingredients or are looking for substitution ideas, I have a few!
Sub broccolini: I toyed with the idea of making this recipe with broccolini instead of asparagus which I think would taste absolutely delicious. If you can’t find asparagus, give broccolini a shot, or use a totally different vegetable and let me know how it turns out!
Make it gluten-free: Gluten-free bread crumbs are pretty easy to come by. I think this dish would work well with panko or regular bread crumbs so use whatever gluten-free option you can get your hands on. The rest of the ingredients in this recipe are gluten-free so the bread crumbs are all you have to swap!
Add more garlic: If you’re a garlic fiend, consider cooking a few minced cloves with the asparagus for more flavor.
Need more apps?
If you’re looking for more appetizer ideas, check out some of my favorites!
- Chile de árbol hummus
- Chile lime watermelon cucumber salad
- Roasted beet salad with green goddess dressing
- Sweet pea spread
- Tahini cauliflower with caramelized shallots
- Broccolini with white bean hummus & pomegranate arils
In this segment, I suggest a song for you to listen to while you make stovetop asparagus with tofu ricotta and spicy breadcrumbs! You can even stream it right here in your browser. Today’s recipe jam is Change by Killing Joke!
If you try this recipe, I want to hear about it! Feel free to post your creations to Instagram or Facebook and tag Hell Yes It’s Vegan or #hellyesitsvegan. I look forward to seeing what you make!
Stovetop Asparagus, Tofu Ricotta, and Spicy Bread Crumbs
- cutting board
- small skillet
- measuring cup and spoons
- silicone spatula
- food processor
- plate for serving
- 1 bunch asparagus, (ends trimmed)
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Add asparagus and olive oil to a skillet. Sauté for about 7-10 minutes flipping halfway through with a spatula.
- Add all of the ingredients for the tofu ricotta into a food processor and combine until smooth. You may have to scrape the edges once or twice or add a tiny bit of water to get things moving. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Spicy Bread Crumbs
- Add all of the ingredients into a small skillet on low. Cook the mixture until the bread crumbs are browned and the spices are fragrant – about 5 minutes.
- On a large plate, spread the tofu ricotta evenly and then lay asparagus spears on top. Top with salt and pepper to taste. Then top with bread crumbs and serve.