Expert Recipe: How to Make Baked TofuPublished on 06/19/2023 · 6 min readUnlock the secret to delicious baked tofu with our Expert recipe. Learn the step-by-step process and savor the perfect balance of flavors and textures!
Everything you need to make baked tofu. Photo by Leo Cocchiara
Tl;dr Few people realize how quick and easy it is to bring out the best of the delicious, sustainable, and affordable protein that is tofu. In this article, I’ll show you a great recipe for baked tofu that can be used for salads, pastas, saucy dishes, and even as a stand-alone snack or alongside potatoes and veggies for dinner.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 20 Minutes
- Serving Size: 3–5 persons
- Featured Gear: Tofu Press, Baking Sheet and Cooling Grid, Sharp Chef’s or Santoku Knife
Tofu is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to add protein to your diet. Whether you’re counting calories, pennies, or the minutes in your day, this is a recipe you’re going to want to incorporate into your routine!
This four-ingredient, crispy baked tofu recipe is quick, easy, versatile, and delicious. You can make it multiple times a week and add it into an endless number of meals. While many recipes encourage you to manipulate your tofu with marinades, soy sauce, freezing and thawing, and all sorts of other instagram style hacks to make it palatable—the truth is that simple is better when it comes to bringing out the best of the king of vegan proteins!
Tofu is a staple protein in my plant-based household. We started incorporating vegan proteins into our lives in an effort to eat healthier, reduce our carbon footprint, and lower our grocery bills. It’s done all that for us, and more.
Cooking with plant-based proteins has allowed us to expand our palettes and made us more creative cooks in the kitchen. We’ve prepared tofu in all the ways you could possibly imagine, but this simple baked tofu recipe is so easy, versatile, quick, and delicious, that it’s our go-to! We enjoy this preparation for salads, pastas, saucy dishes, tofu stir-fry, and even stand alone as a quick snack or alongside our favorite carbs such as potatoes, rice, couscous, and veggies for dinner.
What You’ll Need
- Santoku or Chef’s Knife: You’ll want a good sharp knife to make clean cuts without tearing the tofu. For this recipe, I use my Shun Premier Santoku Knife.
- Tofu Press: Pressing the water out of your tofu is essential to getting a desirable texture. A tofu press is one of the best, inexpensive investments in your kitchen. They’re mess free, easy to use, save waste, and save time. If you don’t have a press, you can also use a clean towel or paper towels along with something heavy like a cast iron grill press to press the water out. Wrap the tofu block in a clean towel or paper towels and place a heavy flat object on top of it that doesn’t mind getting wet, such as a cast iron pan or a cutting board with cans on top of it. We’re going for an even press.
- Stainless Steel Bowl: I like to toss my tofu in a stainless steel bowl to evenly coat it with oil and seasoning. Plus, it helps keep the shape without causing the tofu to crumble versus stirring with a utensil.
- Baking Sheet With a Cooling Grid: Baking to Tofu on the cooling grid allows all sides to heat evenly and get crispy without having to flip the tofu while cooking.
- 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu (firm or super firm will also work well)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 1 Tablespoon Black Pepper
Step 1: Drain the Tofu and Preheat Your Oven
Assemble your ingredients and put the tofu in the press; let drain for 2–5 minutes. The longer you press your tofu, the crispier it will get. This is a good time to preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Once your Tofu is satisfactorily pressed, drain the liquid out of the press and remove the block.
Step 2: Cut the Tofu into Cubes
I find the most desirable balance of well seasoned, crispy, and pleasantly chewy comes from 1”x1” cubes. I like to start by cutting the tofu in half widthwise—giving me two blocks that are the same size as the original block but thinner. I then cut both blocks, four rows by four columns, giving me a total of 32 equal-sized cubes.
The larger you cut your tofu cubes, the longer it will take to get crispy, and the inside of the cubes won’t be seasoned. The smaller the cubes, the crunchier they will get, but they’ll lose some of their chew.
Step 3: Season the Tofu
Put your cubed tofu into your stainless steel bowl and evenly drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Gently toss the tofu around in the bowl until all the pieces are evenly coated. Make sure none of your cubes are sticking together so that they get coated on every side.
Step 4: Bake the Tofu
Spread your tofu out evenly across the cooling rack on top of your baking sheet. By baking the tofu on top of the cooling rack rather than directly on top of your baking sheet, the tofu will cook evenly on all sides. So you won’t have to flip or turn anything while it’s in the oven (told you this was easy!).
Remove when done and let cool for a few minutes before serving. I enjoy this preparation for salads, pastas, saucy dishes, and even stand alone as a quick snack or alongside potatoes and veggies for dinner.
On this day I used my Baked Tofu to top a Caesar Salad alongside toasted Ciabatta bread with mozzarella, parsley, and a balsamic drizzle. Bon appetit!
Tips & Substitutions
- Tailoring: One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that it’s so easy to tailor to your preferences. Want the tofu a little softer? Don’t drain it as long or use firm tofu instead of extra or super firm. Like it crispier? Add a tablespoon of cornstarch while seasoning to make it extra crispy.
- Spicing: Feel free to flavor this recipe with any other dried spices you want to adapt it to any flavor profile by adding in the spice along with the salt and pepper. Curry powders, garlic powder, onion powder, za’atar, cajun seasoning, paprika, lemon pepper, hot chicken, Italian seasoning, you name it!
- Boiling: For a different flavor and texture compared to pressed tofu, you can also prep the tofu using the reverse osmosis boiling method.
- Tofu to Avoid: Avoid using silken or soft tofu, as these won’t hold up well to baking.
- No Utensils: Avoid using a utensil to toss the tofu, as it tends to break up the edges.
Get Cookin’ With a Real Expert
Many people avoid tofu because they simply don’t know how to prepare it. Few people realize how quick and easy it is to bring out the best of this delicious, sustainable, and affordable protein—and this recipe is a great way to get to know it!
Here at Curated, we want to help you make the most of your time in the kitchen with the right pieces, at the right prices, with full, Expert service right at your fingertips. Give me a shout, and I’ll get you set up for success to make this recipe and more. Thanks for reading!