Due to the unprovoked, criminal and seemingly endless brutal war of annihilation against Ukrainian civilians by Vladimir Putin and his army and the worsening humanitarian crisis, please consider helping by following the link below. There are a number of reputable aid agencies from which to choose. Many of these agencies will also help victims suffering the devastating effects of natural disasters.
So I think that the world is divided into two kinds of people – those that like potato kugel and those that like noodle (lokshen) kugel. I am clearly Team Noodle Kugel. What is kugel (or kigel, depending on your country of origin) you ask? It is essentially a baked pudding or casserole that is frequently made and eaten for Shabbat and holidays. It can be sweet or savory. And there now exist many, many varieties.
However, most noodle kugels that I have eaten – and in 70+ years, that’s a lotta kugel – I generally find them too rich, too sweet and just too much.
To be honest, I had forgotten about this Fruity Noodle Kugel. I used to make it quite frequently and then somehow it went out of rotation. But since we are in the midst of the Super Bowl of Jewish holidays, I started to look for recipes to make and share with you. Browsing through The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene for ideas, I came across her Fruity Tofu Lokshen Kugel. Instantly I knew that I would be making it with a few of my own tweaks to make it vegan and more creamy.
This Fruity Noodle Kugel is fruity, creamy (dairy free) and never sacrifices flavor. And if you choose a non-egg noodle, this kugel is vegan. It also is high in protein and low in fat.
I have always been interested in nutrition, but not if it meant sacrificing flavor. And as my husband and I get older, a healthy diet is even more important. Our meals fall clearly into the “blue zone” by both preference and design. I want to make those calories count. But I also want to make Shabbat and other holidays truly special and allow for some splurging.
Tofu replaces the dairy in the meal and is a wonderful vehicle for absorbing all of the delicious flavors in this kugel. I use both a silken tofu and an extra-firm tofu to mimic the desired texture that you would achieve if using eggs, cheese and sour cream. My version makes for a much less fatty kugel with lots of healthy protein. And you won’t feel any regret for having indulged. Left-overs are great eaten at room temperature or gently rewarmed. I even eat this as breakfast.
Since if like me, you are not a purist about being vegan, I also have included two other wonderful lokshen kugels that I have blogged, which I still enjoy making – and eating! And while kugel is considered a quintessential Jewish food, you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it.
Yield: About 8 servings
8 ounces medium-wide noodles
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup mild vegetable oil (Canola, Avocado, Safflower or even a fruity EVOO)
1/2 cup maple syrup, agave or brown sugar (I used brown sugar as I like the molasses, caramel taste)
1/4 cup orange or apple juice
1/2 teaspoon of kosher or fine sea salt
14 ounces extra-firm tofu, well-drained and crumbled
1 pound silken tofu
1 large flavorful baking apple (Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Jonagold, MacIntosh, Golden Delicious etc.), finely diced or grated. No need to peel the apple first.
1 cup of raisins of choice, softened in warm water for about 10 minutes unless they are fresh and plump (Other dried fruits or a mix of dried fruits, e.g. dates, apricots, prunes, pears could be used instead. Just cut any larger pieces to approximate size of large raisins.)
1/4 cup, coarsely chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease (or vegetable spray) a baking dish (about 10 to 11-cup capacity – mine is a 7-inch x 11-inch rectangle). However an equivalent capacity round or square pan works just as well. Make sure that the pan sides are at least 3-inch deep.
Cook the noodles according to the package, but one minute less than the minimum recommended time since these will also bake in the oven. Drain the noodles.
While the noodles are cooking, place the silken tofu, brown sugar, sweet hawaij (or other spice mix), salt and apple sauce in a blender. Whooz it up until smooth. Then add in the oil and OJ and whooz again until the mixture has emulsified. Using a spatula and with the blade removed, add in the raisins and walnuts.
Once the noodles have been drained add them back to the pot. Pour in the mixture from the blender and fold it through the noodles until evenly distributed. Crumble in the extra-firm tofu and mix through.
Pour everything into the prepared baking pan. If you like, you can sprinkle the top lightly with more of the spice you used mixed with a bit of sugar (any kind will do.)
Bake for about 45 minutes or until set. I like the top to darken and the top noodles to get slightly crisp. However, if you prefer the noodle mixture to be lighter and to remain soft, cover the casserole with foil after 25 minutes. This can be served warm or at room temperature. Leftovers should be refrigerated or can be frozen or rewarmed gently.