Chef Olivia's plant-based marinated tofu dish sits in a red Staub brand pan

How to Amplify the Flavor of Plants

Plant-Based Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor Olivia Roszkowski creates a fully plant-based dish with intense, delicious flavors.

In our second video of our partnership with Zwilling USA, Plant-Based Culinary Arts Chef-Instructor Olivia Roszkowski demonstrates a multitude of techniques to amplify plant flavors.

“What’s really nice about plants is that they are pretty much a blank canvas for you to work with,” Chef Olivia says. “So from a chef’s perspective, it’s very fun.” 

Chef Olivia’s blank slate includes root vegetables like rainbow carrots, turnips and ginger root, which she infuses with cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom pods and black peppercorns to “build a layer of flavor.” These spice-infused tubers are cooked down in hard cider, which will turn into a well-balanced sauce.

“What’s great about this dish is that all the cooking takes place in one pan,” she adds.

Chef Olivia recommends a wide pan like the 9.5-inch Staub cast iron baking dish; its wide surface area provides for a faster cooking time.

Another great way to amplify the flavor of vegetables is by way of marinating and braising; Chef Olivia marinates tofu with lapsung souchong tea, maple syrup, tamari, balsamic vinegar and toasted sesame oil.

“When marinating plants, you want a lot of balance.” For this dish, she recommends the 12-inch Staub cast iron fry pan, which you can also use as a serving platter.

Watch the full video — and try your hand at Chef Olivia’s recipes — below.


Chai-Steeped Root Vegetables with Blistered Pumpkin Seeds & Apple "Honey"

Serves 4


For the Blistered Pumpkin Seeds:

Yield: 1/2 cup

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the Apple ‘Honey’:

Yield: 1/3 cup

  • 8 cups apple juice

For the Chai-Steeped Root Vegetables and Assembly:

  • 1 bunch rainbow carrots, scrubbed
  • 1 bunch baby turnips, scrubbed
  • 2 tablespoons star anise
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons cardamom pods
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups hard cider


For the Blistered Pumpkin Seeds:

  1. Add pumpkin seeds and avocado oil to a wide pan.
  2. Cook over a medium flame for 2 minutes, or until seeds start to pop.
  3. Strain onto a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.

For the Apple ‘Honey’:

  1. Add apple juice to a wide pan and reduce over high flame for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture reduces to a thick syrup.

For the Chai-Steeped Root Vegetables and Assembly:

  1. Arrange carrots and turnips in pan.
  2. Add star anise, cinnamon sticks, black peppercorns and cardamom pods.
  3. Top with maple syrup, ginger slices, sea salt, olive oil and hard cider.
  4. Simmer mixture for 20 minutes or until liquid has thickened.
  5. Remove aromatics before serving.
  6. Top with blistered pumpkin seeds and apple ‘honey’ before serving.
Lapsang Souchong Marinated Tofu with Chili Oil
Serves 4

For the Lapsang Souchong Marinated Tofu:

  • 2 tablespoons loose lapsang souchong tea
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into 8 thick slices

For the Garlic Confit:

Yield: 1 cup

  • 2 heads garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup avocado oil

For the Chili Oil:

Yield: 1 cup

  •  2 tablespoons red chili flakes
  • 1 cup sesame oil

For Assembly:

  • 1 package soba noodles
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 4 sliced scallions

For the Lapsang Souchong Marinated Tofu:

  1. Add loose tea and water to a pan. Bring to a boil, turn off flame and steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain and return to pan. 
  3. Stir in maple syrup, tamari, balsamic vinegar and toasted sesame oil.
  4. Arrange tofu in single layer in marinade.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes or until marinade has thickened.

For the Garlic Confit:

  1. Add garlic and oil to a small pan. Simmer on a very low flame for 20 minutes, or until garlic is lightly golden and tender.

For the Chili Oil:

  1. Add red chili flakes and sesame oil to a small pan, and warm over medium flame for 20 seconds.
  2. Turn off flame and steep for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain before using.

For Assembly:

  1. Cook soba noodles in boiled water for 8 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Toss cooked soba noodles with chili oil and garlic confit.  
  3. Transfer to serving dish and top with tofu, chili oil, edamame, toasted sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

More Plant-Based Recipes from Chef OliviaMushroom Tacos with Balsamic-Lime Marinade

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