Crispy Baked Tofu!

Happy Saturday, everyone! It’s a beautiful, balmy 78 degrees here in Chicago, and I’m planning to head over to a local forest preserve after writing this post. Because tofu can be kind of difficult to work with, I think it gets a bad rap. It can be a little time-consuming to properly prepare it, but it’s totally worth it! Tofu is inexpensive and an excellent source of protein and it has plenty of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. I try to eat plant-based foods as much as possible, and tofu is very easy to customize to whatever you’re in the mood for.

I wanted to make an Asian-style baked tofu with the type of seasonings used in “General Tso” dishes. This tofu is seasoned with dried ginger, garlic, dried scallions, red chile pepper flakes, soy sauce, vinegar, onion flakes, salt, and black pepper. Depending on what you plan to do with the tofu, you need to pay attention to the consistency when purchasing it at the grocery store. For baked tofu, I find the “firm” or “extra firm” kind works best. This is only 1.99 at Trader Joe’s!

To start, I open the package and drain the container, and I slice the tofu block into smaller, even chunks.

Next (and this is one of the most important parts – this will ensure that the firmness holds up and it doesn’t get soggy!), I arrange the tofu on a layer of paper towels, cover with another layer of paper towels, and then put a plate on top of the tofu and hold it down with a weight to press all of the moisture out. It looks silly, but it works!

The tofu needs to be pressed for 20-30 minutes to make sure all the moisture is released. When the plate is lifted, the tofu should be dry. In a bowl, I added about a tablespoon of tangerine-infused olive oil and added the ginger, garlic, onion flake, red chile pepper flake, salt, pepper, vinegar, scallions, and soy sauce. This is a “to taste” sort of recipe, but I probably use about 1/2 – 1 teaspoon for each ingredient. To avoid breaking the tofu, I tossed the ingredients together rather than use a spoon.

Once evenly coated, I arranged the slices on a tray covered in parchment paper. I baked them at 400 degrees for fifteen minutes, and then I took the tray out and flipped the pieces and baked for another fifteen minutes. They should be golden-brown in color when they are done.

I think these would be excellent with fried cauliflower rice, but I served these with broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, and Sir Kensington’s “Special Sauce” dipping sauce. This sauce has eggs in it, but you could dip it in mustard or soy sauce to keep this whole meal vegan.

I enjoyed these little tofu bites so much and I am sure that I will be making them with all kinds of different seasonings. I hope you enjoy these if you make them, and have a great weekend!

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