I’ve been vegan for nine years, and I’ve been paying too much for overpriced salad bar tofu for about as long. Not anymore, buddy!
I almost never marinate my tofu. Who wants to sit around and wait for their tofu to be ready? But it turns out that having this prepped for the week was actually a huge time saver, and for about $2 per serving compared to $7 per serving at the salad bar, I might be able to learn to be patient.
Get Pressed: You’ll want to press your tofu before you start working with it. Here’s a quick tutorial video if you’ve never done that before! I’m a super lazy presser and usually just squeeze mine a bit over the sink, before wrapping it in paper towels and pressing it by hand. I think I’ve only placed a heavy object on my tofu once or twice in my life!
This was enough for me to marinate three pounds of tofu (one pound at a time), and I probably could have squeezed in one more. I don’t suggest cutting the marinade amount though, as you’ll want enough volume for your tofu to actually, um, marinate in.
- tofu (firm or extra firm)
- 1/2 c soy sauce
- 2 T coconut sugar
- 1 generous T minced or crushed garlic
- 3 T toasted sesame oil
For this version, I cubed my tofu and marinated it somewhere between 4-12 hours on each side; honestly I just let it do it’s thing in the fridge until I felt like dealing with it, but an hour should be plenty. It’ll soak up a lot of the marinade, which is why I recommend this method for a stir fry — all that flavor your tofu just absorbed is going to explode out onto your veggies. I stir-fried my veggies in a little oil first and set them aside, then cooked to the tofu, then added them all together for a couple more minutes (I usually add a big squeeze of lime here).
Cooking the tofu separately should help it keep its shape: more cubey and not so scrambley. Cooking time depends on your texture preference, but you probably want your tofu lightly browned on all sides so don’t forget to flip!
Baked tofu is definitely my favorite, because you can cook it plain and decide how you want to use it later. For this batch, I baked first, then marinated once it was cool. It won’t be as spongy this way, and takes on flavor in a way more similar to marinated chicken. Since more water cooks off with baking, your tofu will be more firm — and if you slice it thin like the photo below, you can get a slightly chewy, meatier texture. If you’re not into that, you can also do cubes, sticks, or thicker slices. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 400° oven for about 20-30 minutes on each side. Again, cook time will depend on your preferred texture and the thickness of your tofu. Marinate for about an hour on each side, then use it however you like. Served below over jasmine rice, with Sriracha, sesame seeds, and Saucy Lips zesty cilantro.