8 Terrific Marinated Tofu Recipes
Tofu, the protein workhorse of vegetarian cuisine, is sometimes underappreciated. Though it has many virtues, some kitchen finesse is required to help the ingredient shine through. Because bean curd can tend towards the bland, it’s easy to see why some might consider it an acquired taste. But there’s an easy remedy: when soaked in bright, flavorful marinades prior to cooking, tofu takes on a wonderful taste and texture—one that even soy skeptics will clamor for. Most recipes require tofu to marinate for about an hour, but you’ll still add excellent flavor in 10 to 20 minutes if that’s all you have to work with.
Here are 8 terrific tofu recipes that are sure to please vegetarians and omnivores alike.
Citrus, Soy & Sesame
In this classic marinade, freshly squeezed orange juice joins soy sauce and sesame oil, bringing deep flavor to thick slices of tofu. When grilled (like in our Grilled Tofu With Snap Pea recipe shipping this August), the sugar in the orange juice caramelizes, lending savory depth—and beautiful marks—to the tofu slices.
Because of its neutral flavor, tofu makes the perfect foil for capsaicin heat. Pick your favorite chili powder, then mix two heaping teaspoons of it into orange juice, maple syrup, smoked paprika, oil, and salt, creating an addictively sweet-and-spicy marinade. Once your tofu has taken on the sweetness and the heat, it’s ready for the oven, grill or sauté pan. This Chili Roasted Tofu pairs beautifully with its accompaniment, a pomegranate relish.
(Image: Sprouted Kitchen)
Marinated and Glazed Tofu
This creative rendition makes use of the Chinese cooking technique of “velveting,” which helps proteins achieve a shatteringly crisp crust. First, tofu is tossed with soy sauce and dredged in cornstarch. After baking, the tofu cubes get smothered in a rich glaze—think of it as a post-cooking marinade—of soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar and oil. The recipe from Cookie & Kate pairs the tofu with Brussels sprouts, which also get coated with the glaze.
(Image: Cookie & Kate)
A combination of mustard, vinegar, oil, dill and red onion lends a salad dressing-like flavor to this exquisite Greek Baked Tofu that first appeared in the cookbook of Peter Berley, master tofu marinator. When cooled, the slices taste wonderful in sandwiches piled high with carrots, lettuce and avocado.
Tahini & Lemon
By thinning sesame paste with lemon juice and olive oil and flavoring it with Mediterranean ingredients like lemon zest, pomegranate molasses and dried mint, you’ll create a rich marinade that adds deep flavor and a rich, nut-buttery silkiness to the tofu.
A savory combination of smoky-sweet Aleppo pepper, earthy cumin and a tiny spoonful of yogurt gives this marinade a touch of the exotic. The yummy coating also helps the tofu puff slightly when baking, and the finished, golden slices get topped with a red pepper and walnut spread that truly evokes the Middle East. The result, Roasted Tofu with Red Pepper-Walnut Spread, is addictive.
(Image: Bon Appetit)
Fermented soybean paste, also known as miso, is full of umami, making it a dramatic counterpart to its milder soy cousin, tofu. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of soy sauce with 2 tablespoons of miso and 3 tablespoons of mirin or other sweet white wine to make the simplest-ever miso marinade, then customize the miso marinade to your liking by adding your own favorite aromatics. Here’s a basic recipe for miso marinated tofu.
Korean BBQ Tofu
The same salty-sweet marinade used on Korean BBQ favorite galbi, or short ribs, makes a divine marinade for tofu—especially if you’re planning to mimic those ribs through grilling. The basic recipe calls for soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger and sugar, but you can tweak the ingredients to make it your own. Some Korean cooks toy with the sweetener, using minced Asian pear instead of some of the sugar. Here’s The Kitchn’s recipe for the all-purpose marinade.
(Image: The Kitchn)
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