Smoky & Spicy Tofu – One Recipe, Three Dishes
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! 🤤
Smoky, Spicy Tofu
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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. 🙄
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.
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.
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. 😉
Certified Plant-Based Chef and Holistic Nutritionist veganizing the planet one meal at a time. Bringing fans vegan food, brand, travel & lifestyle news while offering clients personalized vegan chef services in the Tampa Bay area. For the health of it! View all posts by Jennifer