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Hello, spring. Crisp asparagus paired with simple seared tofu, all toasted on wheat with this completely gorgeous, dead-simple garlic sauce means meals are full of flavor and light on elbow grease. Because you've got some spring sunshine to soak in.

One of the things that makes this sandwich a breeze is the fact that we don't bother pressing the tofu here. Give it a good sear on the outside to provide an alluring golden crust, and let the inside of your tofu stay blissfully tender to contrast the crispness of the asparagus and toasted bread.

The only thing that takes time with this recipe is roasting the garlic for the sauce. To make it easy on yourself, throw a couple cloves in the oven any night while you're making something else, then you can keep the sauce in the fridge for several days, ready to go. It's a killer accompaniment to this and other vegetable sandwiches, makes exquisite garlic bread, and we can't wait to try it with summer's tomatoes.

Seared Asparagus and Tofu Sandwich with Garlic-Herb Sauce

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makes 4 sandwiches

about 30 asparagus spears, tough ends removed

1 tsp olive oil

generous pinch fine sea or kosher salt

14 oz extra-firm tofu, drained

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

8 slices wheat bread (we like Flour Head)

1/4 cup Garlic-Herb Sauce, or to taste, recipe follows

black pepper, to taste

Heat a countertop electric grill (or griddle or outdoor grill). Toss asparagus with 1 tsp oil and generous pinch salt. Spread asparagus in a single layer and grill until crisp-tender and browned in spots, 7-10 minutes, or as needed. Set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, with the tofu in landscape position (long end toward you), cut it into 8 even slices. When the skillet is hot, carefully add the tofu in a single layer, without touching. Whisk together the nutritional yeast and 1/2 tsp salt, sprinkle over the tofu, and let cook, undisturbed, 5 minutes. Flip the tofu and cook another 4-5 minutes, until golden brown.

Reheat your countertop grill or a sandwich press. For each sandwich, top one slice of bread with two slices tofu, 7-8 asparagus spears, a generous drizzle (about 1 TBSP) Garlic-Herb Sauce, and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Sandwich, grill until golden, and serve warm.

Garlic-Herb Sauce

yields 1 cup

2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (we used Thai Kitchen brand)

1 tsp dried dill or other herb of choice, or 1 TBSP fresh herb(s) of choice

1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt

Heat oven to 400.

Place garlic cloves in a small piece of aluminum foil, drizzle oil over garlic, wrap up, and cook 30 minutes, until softened. Allow to cool before discarding skins.

Combine roasted garlic, coconut milk, herb(s), and salt. Blend until smooth. Chill until ready to use. Will last a few days in a small, airtight container in the refrigerator.