Grilled Tofu and Vegetables


A plate of soy-protein rich grilled tofu, vegetables, and a salad

Marinade: This makes enough marinade for about 15-20 servings of grilled tofu and vegetables. I make a big batch in the blender and it keeps for a month in the refrigerator.

Combine in a blender so that garlic and ginger are pulverized:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup good quality soy sauce (low salt tamari is great)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce (optional)

Tofu and Vegetables: I make enough for 6-9 servings at once, since the leftovers are so terrific. For this amount:

  • 3 lbs of tofu
  • 4 large sweet onions
  • 6 red peppers
  • zucchini, eggplant, or whatever else you like to grill

Cut one 15 ounce square of tofu into 7 or 8 slices (about 3/4″ thick). Slice sweet onions in thick slabs, thick slices of zucchini when in season, and quarter red peppers. Eggplant slices are terrific, too. Spread a thin layer of marinade on the bottom of a large baking dish and place the tofu slices on top of the marinade (the tofu is fragile and breaks apart easily when uncooked). Coat the top of each piece of tofu with the marinade, about 1 teaspoon per slice. Dip the veggies in the marinade and lay the onions on top of the tofu for added flavor. Cover and let sit for 4-8 hours.

Grill the peppers and onions first, since they need the lowest flame. Use a vegetable grill pan for the onions. Let the marinade sit in the pepper quarters while the bottoms brown, flip them for a little more cooking, and then put them on a holding tray in the grill to continue to soften while other things are grilling. Grill the zucchini at a higher flame along with the tofu which can take a medium flame on my grill, again using the vegetable grill tray for the tofu. Baste each piece of tofu, onion, or zucchini as you go. Brown the tofu on one side (takes about 5 minutes), baste, flip it, and brown the other. The tofu is less fragile after a little cooking, so turn it with a spatula.

I make grilled tofu and vegetables into incredible sandwiches. I use toasted homemade whole wheat poppy seed rolls. It’s also great with whole wheat pita, English muffins, or any rice dish. I use 2 slices of tofu per bun, a big slice of onion, and a grilled pepper. To heat leftovers, place them in a stainless skillet with a little water and the juice of the cooked vegetables and steam for about 10 minutes.

Baked Tofu

  • 2 lbs tofu
  • Dark sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Dried hot pepper flakes or dill

Cut 2 lbs. firm tofu into 1 inch squares. Drizzle with about 2-3 tablespoons dark sesame oil in a baking dish large enough to hold tofu in one layer. Bake at 400 or 425 degrees until squares are beginning to brown (1 – 1 1/2 hours). Stir with a spatula every 15-25 minutes to make browning even. In last 15 minutes add soy sauce to taste (1-3 Tablespoons) and hot pepper or dill. Soy sauce will brown the cubes nicely. You want the cubes lightly browned and chewy. Overbaking makes them tough, but still good. You’ll figure out how you like them.

I often serve these along with white or sweet potatoes or winter squash—all baked in the same oven. They are good plain or with a variety of sauces (tahini and soy sauce and garlic mixed is nice). We like leftover baked tofu cold in a lunch salad.

Stovetop Fried Tofu

  • Tofu
  • Olive oil
  • Soy sauce

Put approximately 1 tsp. of olive oil in a hot cast iron skillet or other frying pan.  Add raw tofu slices about 1/2 inch thick. As they cook, baste slices with soy sauce to taste (about 1 teaspoon for 1 lb of tofu), spreading soy sauce thinly with the back of a spoon. When one side is browned, flip and brown the other side.

We use this in sandwiches with condiments—mustard or pesto, bean sprouts, tomato, lettuce, anything you like on sandwiches. These keep in the refrig for 3 days and can be heated in the toaster oven. Leftovers can also be chopped into bite sized pieces for cold vegetable or pasta salads.

Tofu Lasagna, Manicotti, or Stuffed Shells

This filling can be used for any of the above. I’m giving the recipe for lasagna. To make manicotti or stuffed shells, make the filling a little stiffer with more bread crumbs and follow package directions for the pasta. All these dishes freeze and reheat well after being cooked.

  • 1 lb tofu
  • olive oil
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic—chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs or more (or dry quick oat flakes work well)
  • parsley
  • 1 egg (I usually do without, but the consistency is nice with an egg)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach (thawed) or other steamed and drained greens you like—or 2 bunches fresh spinach cooked (can use broccoli, arugula, chard, etc. instead of spinach)
  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles (whole wheat or white)
  • tomato sauce
  • Romano or parmesan cheese (optional)

Sauté onion and garlic (and parsley, if used) in a few tablespoons olive oil until lightly browned but not too limp.

Blend tofu in a food processor (or blender) until creamy and smooth. Blend in an egg at this point, if you want.

If using frozen chopped greens, squeeze out as much water as you can. (If using fresh greens, steam lightly, squeeze out water, and chop well. Squeeze out water again after chopping.)

Mix onion-garlic mix, blended tofu, greens, and bread crumbs. Thicken the mix by adding more bread crumbs or oat flakes. Add black pepper and salt to taste.

Cook lasagna noodles for 5-8 minutes, rinse with cold water, and lay them flat on a counter. (I do this while I’m making the filling.)

Assemble in an oiled baking pan by covering the bottom of the pan with half the noodles, carefully overlapping so they’ll hold the filling. Spread the filling on top of noodles. Add the other noodles on top of filling. Spread a modest amount of tomato sauce on top.

Bake covered at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, and another 10 minutes or more uncovered.

Cut into squares for serving. Add a small ladle of tomato sauce and parmesan or Romano cheese. I double this recipe, cut it in large squares and freeze it for easy dinners later. To reheat, thaw, cover the bottom of a pan with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a dash of water. When the sauce is boiling, add the lasagna squares and turn the heat low. Simmer until heated through.

Tofu Balls and Burgers

  • olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 T chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup (approximately) whole wheat bread crumbs or dry quick oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts or sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 3 lbs tofu
  • 2 eggs (optional)
  • 1 large grated carrot
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper (black or cayenne), to taste
  • paprika

Saute onion, garlic, and parsley in olive oil.

In food processor, grind walnuts (or seeds) and bread crumbs. Put in bowl large enough to mix all ingredients.

In food processor, process tofu and oregano until smooth and lump free.

Mix together creamed tofu, onion mix, bread crumbs, walnuts, and grated carrot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. If mixture is too wet to work, add more bread crumbs or oats.

Form into burgers and/or balls with your hands and put on olive-oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with paprika for nice browning. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes (until beginning to brown). Take out of oven and let sit 5 or 10 minutes so the tofu sets a little for easy flipping. Flip over with spatula and bake another 10 or 20 minutes, depending on how brown you want them. I make these in large quantity and freeze them. They heat well in a toaster oven.

I serve the balls with pasta and tomato sauce. I serve the burgers on whole wheat burger buns with lots of condiments—hot pepper relish, tomatoes, lettuce, raw onion slices, thin pickle slices, etc.