Smoky & Spicy Tofu – One Recipe, Three Dishes

Tofu, smoky and spicy

One tofu recipe, three dishes! You heard it right. How simple can that be? Super simple, let me tell you!

And, I’ll warn you up front…you may love this smoky, spicy tofu so much you may have to make double portions, just to keep it in the house. Especially because these three dishes are just a start…this flavorful tofu really does have infinite possibilities. 🤔

Tofu gets a bad rap for a couple of reasons because #1 there was a big myth going around that soy causes cancer and #2, it looks like a big white sponge so, therefore, people think it tastes like a big white sponge. But let’s be clear, this isn’t that gross tofu of the 80s. This tofu has come a LONG way.

First, real quick, let’s dispel #1. Tofu, condensed and coagulated soy milk also known as bean curd, is actually very, very good for us. Organic (Non-GMO) tofu that is. The kind of soy that actually works with the systems in our body and that are made up of phytoestrogens. I won’t go into all the health mumbo jumbo, but, if you like a little fact behind your food choices, then check out what one of my favorite foodies, Dr. Michael McGregor, says about soy.

Tofu can be prepared in so many different ways and since yes, it is sponge-like, it does soak up whatever you throw at it. In my plant-based culinary training, I have come to appreciate just how awesome tofu is, in all its forms. I have learned to use silken tofu to make eggless noodles (and the most delicious udon ever!), and I have used it to make dairy-free chocolate ganache and silken chocolate pies. 👩‍🍳

If you are already a tofu lover then you probably know how good it can be and how good it is for us. If you are not familiar with tofu, then take a chance on this protein-packed healthy alternative. It’s inexpensive too, so, I batch cook a couple of packages at once, which makes it a perfect go-to throughout the week.

Here is one easy recipe for organic tofu that can be used in as many different ways as you are creative. I give you three simple ideas of how to incorporate this smoky, spicy and completely flavorful tofu into your breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, but, I encourage you to be brave and cook outside of the box.

For me, tofu is one of those ingredients that can be a knockout or a dud, and with this simple recipe, your tofu is sure to be a home run in any dish.

Scroll down to see the three ways I use it! 🤤

Tofu, smoky and spicy

Smoky, Spicy Tofu

Jennifer Markell
To make this delicious tofu it's as simple as this three-step process...marinate, bake and saute. The marinade is spicy and smoky and baking the tofu helps to create a crust on the outside while keeping the inside nice and tender. Sauteing in a high heat pan really brings the flavors together for that wow factor. Try this tofu in stir-frys, on salads, in pasta dishes or stuffed in a wrap or burrito.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Anytime, Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1/3 cup organic tamari - low sodium
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke A little goes a long way. You can always add more...
  • 1-2 tbsp sriracha Add as much or as little heat as you'd like. No sriracha? Use any hot sauce that you have on hand. Garlic chili paste or sambal oelek works well too!
  • 1 package organic / non-GMO tofu - extra firm, drained & pressed I love the Nasoya brand.

Instructions
 

  • Gather all your ingredients. Remove the tofu from the package, slice the brick into 3 equal-size pieces. Press the tofu to remove excess water. I press for about 15 minutes using towels and a cast-iron skillet.
  • Make the marinade by whisking together the first five ingredients in a bowl. Preheat your oven to 425° F.
  • Lay the tofu slices in a shallow glass dish and pour the marinade on top. Turn the tofu over a couple of times so it is completely covered in the marinade. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Turn the tofu again every 5-10 minutes for about 20 minutes.
  • Lightly oil a sheet pan. I place a drop or two of EVOO or grapeseed oil on a cookie sheet and rub it around with my fingers to lightly cover the pan. You do not need a lot of oil. Just enough to prevent sticking. Place the tofu slices on the sheet pan. Reserve the marinade.
  • Bake the tofu for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Flip the tofu and brush a little marinade on the top. Reserve remaining marinade. Place back in the oven and bake for about 15-20 more minutes on a lower rack. The tofu should develop a nice, golden crust on the outside but should remain tender on the inside.
  • Remove from the oven. Heat a saute pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cut the tofu into cubes. Once the pan is hot, add a tsp of oil (optional) and the tofu. Seer the tofu for about 2 minutes until hot and then add the marinade. (Be careful of splattering!) Gently toss the tofu in the marinade, enough to coat. A somewhat hot pan is important, so the marinade will stick!
    Tofu, smoky and spicy
  • Remove from heat and enjoy this delicious smoky and spicy tofu immediately with your favorite dish or let it cool and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Keyword smoky, spicy, tofu

A super simple dish that is a perfect vehicle for the smoky tofu is a breakfast scramble. One of my favorite things to make because it’s really so easy to cook and clean up since it’s a one-pot wonder. And, I have to say, I have had many a tofu breakfast scramble in restaurants that always fall short. I don’t know why, but, none come quite close to mine. Biased? Maybe. 🙄

Tofu breakfast scramble

Smoky, spicy tofu in a breakfast scramble. In addition to the tofu are roasted potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, scallions, red peppers, chopped kale and hemp seeds.

The next dish I love to use this flavorful tangy tofu is in a lunch wrap. Here I get to use tons of fresh veg in addition to my protein-packed tofu. Talk about a healthy alternative! TBH, my hubs can eat two or three of these wraps and that’s OK. We can eat A LOT of plant food and not gain weight, just nutrition. And this is why I make this tofu in big batches!

Like the dish above, whatever your accouterment desire, your options are endless when you create a wrap. My inspiration? What’s in the fridge? In this dish, you’ll see a multigrain wrap stuffed with fresh organic spinach, sauteed mushrooms, carrots, red pepper and cilantro, and I topped it with fresh leek microgreens from First Leaf Farms, one of my favorite local sprout & microgreen growers.

Smoky and spicy tofu wrap

Almost too pretty to eat! Almost! I love the endless possibilities a wrap offers and this smoky, spicy tofu is the perfect partner to any of the ingredients you may already have on hand.

The final dish is a go-to favorite because of its versatility. Do you see a pattern here? Flexibility, adaptability? We dodge and we weave at VIR! Don’t re-create the wheel, use the wheel!

If you have followed me on FB or IG then you probably know I am a noodle lover. As in, all things noodle…I love. Can’t get enough of them in all their various forms, shapes and sizes. Nutritional content, too! If you asked what my signature dish was and I did not mention the word noodle int its description, then it’s likely I have been abducted and that’s not me you are talking to. Just sayin’. I like my noodles.

Below, I use the tofu in an Asian noodle dish. There is no real recipe but rather a combination of similar flavors that I combine to build a sauce and I add the sauce to the sauté at the very end, just to coat all ingredients. This sauce is made with low sodium tamari, garlic chili paste, rice vinegar, Fysh sauce, sesame oil and a shake of powdered ginger. The brown rice noodles are tossed with the sauteed tofu, red peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and scallions. This is a foodie flavor bomb kind of dish.

Tofu and noodle stirfry with smoky, spicy tofu

The tofu has so much flavor but offers a ton of versatility and therefore can hold up to the strong Asian sauce. I found a vegan fish sauce online and it seriously brings the umami to this palate party.

Now you see why tofu doesn’t have to be so scary, especially for the vegan-curious. It may look a little sponge-like to you at first, but keep in mind that sponge absorbs a lot of flavors. And, if cooked just right, can bring a satisfying texture and taste and can add a ton of deliciousness to just about any dish, morning, noon, or night.

Tofu is my go-to…and I’d love to hear more about your experiences with tofu, bad good or tasteless, in the comments below. 😉

🍎🥦🥕


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WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

57 Comments

  1. Magan on at

    I’ve never tried tofu (to my knowledge), but your health facts are encouraging. I’m going to give it a try!

    • Jennifer on at

      Thank you for your note! I never in my life thought I would be eating tofu much less be vegan! Never say never! 😁

  2. Lee Anne on at

    This is something I could get on board with! I never really know what to do with tofu 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

    • Christina Furnival on at

      I enjoy Tofu and it’s versatility! This spicy version sounds so good!!

    • Jennifer on at

      Awesome! I have really learned to make tofu my friend! Let me know if you try it!

  3. Eva on at

    This sounds delicious! I think my super picky husband might even like this. PS: I love tofu that’s crispy on the outside.

    • Holly Bird on at

      These are really great recipes..I am not a fan of tofu but this might be a recipe that I could try and enjoy..its all about texture for me but the spice and mixture seems like something that I would like to try!

    • Jennifer on at

      Yes! If you use a hot cast iron skillet it helps! Oh, and the tofu should have as much water pressed out as much as possible, for the crust!

  4. Lisa on at

    While we are not fans of Tofu, our sister in law is. We will definitely be sharing this with her.

    • Jennifer on at

      I appreciate that! Pay the tofu forward! 🤭

  5. Brianna on at

    This is a very creative way to cook tofu! This recipe also looks delicious and easy to make. Thank you for sharing.

    • Jennifer on at

      Thanks for your note! I appreciate it! 😃

  6. Tiffany on at

    My 11yo wanted me to buy tofu yesterday at the grocery store and told him I have no idea how to use it – and now I have an idea! Thanks!

    • Jennifer on at

      OMGosh I love that! Maybe the future is plant-based! 😁🌱 Let me know if you have any questions along the way!

  7. 5 stars
    This looks delicious! And, thank you for dispelling the myths about soy and tofu.

    • Jennifer on at

      Aww, thanks. I have learned so much about tofu and the benefits of non-GMO soy it makes my head spin. Don’t even get me started on why we don’t know these benefits in the mainstream! 😬

  8. Eileen on at

    This looks great! I always buy the pre-made tofu packs because I have no idea how to make tofu taste good myself- I’ll have to try this one!

    • Jennifer on at

      I used to buy them too, but this one is so easy and no-fail! Let me know if you try it!😃

  9. Kristen Usrey on at

    5 stars
    I’ve been trying to get a good recipe with tofu to try out on my husband who doesn’t want to try it and I think I can get him to with this recipe. It sounds so good.

    • Jennifer on at

      My hubs and I did NOT eat tofu just 3 years ago at all. And one day I said I would never be vegan. Lesson learned…never say never! Tell your hubby YOLO! 🤭😁🌱

  10. Cynthia on at

    I’ve never tasted tofu-for the reasons you mentioned above. This might just be the recipe for me to try 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer on at

      Sometimes the best days are the ones where we step out of our comfort zone and find it feels pretty good! I encourage you to try it! Let me know if you have any questions along the way… 👏👨‍🍳

  11. Tracy on at

    I have never successfully cooked tofu, but I do love meal prep cooking with the option for multiple meals. I will have to try it again!

  12. Lisa on at

    This looks really good! I don’t know if I have eaten tofu before?

    • Jennifer on at

      You probably don’t know it but you eat soy all the time! It’s in so many products on our store shelves! I encourage anyone and everyone to step out of their comfort zone and just go for it. Tofu is cheap enough that if you don’t like it, it’s not a big loss. Just always buy organic/non-GMO to know you are getting the beneficial type of tofu/soy! 🤞🙌😁

  13. Liza Brackbill on at

    5 stars
    This looks DELISH! I’m a vegetarian. Can’t wait to try!

    • Jennifer on at

      YAY! Hello veggie lovin’ friend. Please let me know if you do try it! I love feedback on my recipes and pray mt instruction goes according to plan. 🤞👩‍🍳😁

  14. Jen on at

    I’ve never tried tofu, but your recipes look so delicious that I think I’ll give it a try in one of these dishes! Thank you!

    • Jennifer on at

      Kudos for stepping out of your comfort zone! I hope you do give it a go! Let me know if the instructions are clear enough! 🤞😁🌿

  15. Natalie on at

    I’ve never tried tofu (due to the way it looks, as you mentioned). I’m glad you addressed this in your post because it makes me consider trying it. 🤔

    • Jennifer on at

      Admittedly I have seen tofu before and I was like “nuh uh, not for me…gross.” The key to good tofu is that it takes time…funny enough just like a good roast or a big piece of meat. Tofu that is baked gets firmer and then the crust is developed in the hot cast iron (or hot skillet). Good luck! 😁👩‍🍳🥦

  16. jen on at

    I just cannot to fu but I have to admit this looks pretty darn tasty

    • Jennifer on at

      I understand. We all have our own paths and our own taste buds. But, if you come for dinner you’re trying this! 😉😁👩‍🍳

  17. 5 stars
    This recipe sounds amazing. We have Tempe several times a month, and have been looking to branch out to tofu. We will have to give this a try!

    • Jennifer on at

      I’m the opposite. I like tempeh but it has to be cooked just right. I cook it maybe once a month. I actually like something called hempeh…have you heard of it? The same but made with hemp. LOL I hope you will give this a try. And, I would love to get your favorite tempeh recipe! 😃👩‍🍳🌿

  18. Tricia Snow on at

    5 stars
    It looks like an amazing tofu dish and something I need to try!

    • Jennifer on at

      I double-dog dare you! LOL Seriously, this is a no-fail recipe! Let me know if you go for it!🤭😉

  19. Suzan on at

    Yummy! I look forward to giving this one a try!

    • Jennifer on at

      Woohooo! My work here is done! LMK how it turns out! 😉👩‍🍳🥕

  20. Haley Kelley on at

    This is awesome! I love that its a 3-in-1 because there is nothing better than that!

    • Jennifer on at

      EXACTLY! I actually make two packages at once because there are 3 vegans in our house. The flavor is so adaptable so it fits with almost anything! 😉👩‍🍳

  21. Malia on at

    I just sent this to my husband (the cook in our family). We will definitely need to double the recipe! This will likely go high up on our list of go-to ways to prepare tofu. Love having it pre-made for our trips! Nicely done dispelling the myths as well (I just had hubby research estrogen in soy and the effects on people again, and we confirmed that it is mostly the processed/ soy protein isolate that is bad, not tofu or edamame!

    • Jennifer on at

      OMGosh, I applaud you and your hubs for your research and your open-mindedness! I encourage everyone to research what they are going to put into their bodies. There is a long list of reasons that soy has a bad rap including negative reports put out by the meat industry, but organic/non-GMO soy is so good for us, If you do like unbiased food research, always follow the funding source of the study and be sure to check out The China Study or Whole by T. Colin Cambell. Also, don’t forget to let me know how you like this! 👩‍🍳🙌👏🌿

  22. Thank you for posting, love tofu and will definitely try your recipe!
    Soy products such as tofu are almost always more environmentally friendly than eating meats such as pork or beef. Although we are not vegetarians – that fact alone is important 🙂 thank you for posting

    • Jennifer on at

      Someone knows their stuff! Thank you so much for doing your research and speaking facts! And for your own sustainable blog! 🙌 I hope you like this version of tofu. Be sure to let me know…🤞👩‍🍳🥕

  23. Dena on at

    I have to admit! Tofu has intimidated me a bit and I have also heard the cancer myth but maybe it is time to get brave and try cooking with it! This recipe looks great and looks like something my husband might actually eat! Thanks for the yummy recipe!

    • Jennifer on at

      Hi Dena! Thanks for the note. I do encourage everyone to do their own research on what goes into their bodies. Tofu has gotten a bad rap for so many reasons…but, if you actually look at the unbiased research you will find it organic/non-GMO soy/tofu is very good for our bodies. And, it’s really a cheap source of protein (among other things!) so, if you try it and don’t like it, it’s not like throwing away a porterhouse. 😁🤷‍♀️🥕

  24. Jody on at

    The first time I tried Tofu I did not think I would like it but it actually was really good. I may have to try this recipe out. Thank you for the idea

    • Jennifer on at

      Me neither! I honestly never pictured myself eating tofu or being a vegan just 3 years ago! Never say never, right?! Thanks for your note. 😉🤭

  25. Tara on at

    I have to agree with you that tofu has come a really LONG way since the 80’s and 90’s! I’m a meat eater, however, I do enjoy dishes with well flavored tofu in them. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Jennifer on at

      Great! Maybe give this a try on Meatless Mondays! 😁🤔🙌

  26. Jasmine on at

    I have never tried tofu but these recipes look yummy!

    • Jennifer on at

      Go for it! As my daughter always told me from the time she was 5 (she’s 21 now!)…”YOLO”! 😁🌿

  27. Lisa on at

    I’m always looking for ways to spice up tofu…thank you for posting!

  28. Jennifer on at

    Thank YOU for your comment! Let me know what you think. 👨‍🍳😃

  29. Cindy on at

    This looks amazing! I’ll have to try it. And thanks for suggesting non GMO soy products to everyone. That’s the only kind of tofu I eat.

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Meet Jennifer

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I'm Chef Jennifer! A trained and certified personal vegan chef, offering delicious and nutritious animal-free food through personalized, weekly meal-prep services. I also love advocating for the plant-based lifestyle. Changing lives, saving animals and veganizing the planet with REAL food, one plate at a time.🍎🥦🥕

Learn about me, why I started VIR and why I believe food is medicine...for real!


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