Other than making scrambles, my favorite way to eat tofu has always been to fry it. Whether it’s coated with flour and lightly pan-fried or double-dip dredged in vegan buttermilk and bread crumbs and then fried a bit deeper, I love, Love, LOVE tofu.
But it’s not the healthiest way to eat such an otherwise healthy food. And when I get it at the food counter at my favorite natural foods store or at one of my favorite Hudson Valley vegan eateries, Karma Road, I get my tofu baked. And although I can get it in various flavors like Cajun or BBQ, my favorite is just simply baked tofu in a simple marinade.
Knowing how to make a simple marinade and bake tofu is essential. There is no end to the list of things you can do with baked tofu. I like to prepare 2 blocks at a time, have one for dinner and keep the other in the fridge for an instant meal another day (or as a snack for those moments when you look in the fridge for something – it’s hard not to open the container and sneak a piece).
Cut into slices, you can use the same preparation of tofu and then top it with different sauces: maybe sauteed mushrooms, perhaps an apricot glaze or how about a tangy BBQ sauce. Once you have the foundation of flavorful baked tofu, you have an almost blank canvas to create other masterpieces with. Cut into cubes, they can be an entree on their own or you can throw them into chili or soup. My favorite thing to do with cubes is throw them in a salad in place of croutons.
My marinade is very simple, low-sodium and gluten-free. You can change it up depending on what flavors you like. Add hot sauce if you want it spicy. Add agave or maple syrup if you like it sweet. Change up the spices to your favorites – thyme, cumin and paprika are my go-tos. The best thing about a marinade for tofu is that you can save it and reuse it since it’s not touching raw meat (being vegan rules!). Whatever you choose to do with your baked tofu, enjoy!!
1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
¼ cup gluten-free, low-sodium tamari
¼ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
2 Tbs. canola oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ tsp. Kosher salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. turmeric
Press and drain your tofu. It’s very important to do this so the marinade can get into the tofu. If you want your tofu even firmer, freeze it and thaw it out and press it. Cut the tofu into cubes (or whatever shape you want). Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a deep bowl and whisk. Add the tofu to the marinade and make sure all the pieces are covered. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight – the longer, the better.
Note: since I have a TofuXpress (the BEST gadget EVER), after I press the tofu and cut it into cubes, I put it back into the TofuXpress, pour the marinade in and cover it with the lid that is attached. If you have more than one (and you should), you can stack them in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tofu from the marinade and place the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping occasionally, until the tofu is browned and as crispy as you like it. Serve however you choose.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.