Crispy Baked Tofu with Broccoli is an awesome vegetarian sheet pan dinner that can easily be made vegan and gluten-free with a few basic modifications. It’s an incredibly satisfying meal: savory, crispy, and not too heavy. This crispy baked tofu recipe also makes excellent leftovers.
I’ve written before about how much I love tofu and wish naysayers would give it a chance, so my apologies for being a broken record. But when prepared correctly, tofu is such an incredibly tasty and economical meal!
I started ordering tofu at Chinese restaurants because I felt like many of the meat dishes were too heavy (General Tso’s Tofu quickly became a favorite). I had no idea how much I’d grow to love it and it’s now often my default choice.
If you’ve been on the fence about giving tofu a try, this crispy baked tofu might be the perfect place to start.
- Extra firm tofu
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- Honey (or agave nectar for vegan)
- Sesame oil
- Seasoned or regular rice vinegar
- Light brown sugar
How to Make Crispy Baked Tofu
- Press the excess water out of the tofu, then slice into cubes (see step-by-step photos below).
- Toss the tofu with cornstarch to create that delicious, crispy exterior. Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a small bowl, then pour over the tofu.
- Spread the tofu in a single layer on half of a sheet pan. Place the broccoli on the other half of the pan and toss it with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Bake until crisp, around 30-35 minutes.
- While the tofu and broccoli are baking, place the sauce ingredients in a saucepan and simmer until thickened.
- Serve the tofu and broccoli over your favorite grain, topped with the sauce and scallions!
- For the crispiest tofu, you want to press out as much of the water as possible. In addition to helping the outside crisp up, this will also help the tofu absorb the flavors of the marinade.
- To make this tofu recipe vegan and/or gluten-free: use light agave nectar instead of honey, and tamari instead of soy sauce. Make sure to serve over a gluten-free grain, such as quinoa or rice.
How to Press Tofu
Removing as much liquid as possible will improve the overall texture and create room for other liquids and seasonings to be absorbed. If you plan on doing this often, I’m a big fan of this press.
However, a dedicated tool is definitely not required, especially if you don’t like single task gadgets or are short on storage space. To easily remove excess water:
- Firmly wrap a few layers of paper towels around the block of firm tofu.
- Place between two plates or cutting boards, then set something relatively heavy like a can, jar, or book on top to create some weight.
- Press for at least 10 minutes, or up to one hour. I typically aim for 30 minutes.
- Unwrap, discard the paper towels, and you’re ready to go!
How to Cut Tofu
Once the water has been removed, cutting into cubes is relatively easy. You can adjust based on how big or small your cubes to be, but this is my recommended method, as shown in the above photo:
- Slice the block in half lengthwise.
- Take one half and slice it in half lengthwise. Then slice those two halves into thirds.
- Repeat this process with the other half.
This will create cubes that are perfect for pan-frying or baking. To see step-by-step photos demonstrating how to cut silken tofu into cubes, check out this post from Just One Cookbook.
How to Store Tofu
Tofu is highly perishable, so it’s best to enjoy it as soon as possible once you’ve opened the package. Here are a few tips:
- If you have any leftovers, submerge them in cold water inside an airtight container, then store in the fridge.
- Replace the water every day and your tofu will stay fresh for up to a week.
- If you notice a sour smell or taste, it’s time to throw it away.
What is Tofu
Fun fact: Did you know that tofu has been around for more than 1,000 years? It’s mentioned in a Chinese text that dates back to 950 AD, and some historians suggest that it may have been invented as many as 2,000 years ago.
If you’d like to learn more about tofu varieties, what types are best for certain recipes, how to prepare and store it, etc, check out my article: What is Tofu for more info.
Green Onions vs. Scallions
This recipe calls for scallions. Wondering about the difference between scallions and green onions? How about spring onions? Read scallions vs. green onions to learn more!
More Vegetarian Entrees
Crispy Baked Tofu with Broccoli
For the crispy baked tofu:
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon honey (use light agave for vegan)
For the roasted broccoli:
- 1 crown broccoli cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (use tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (regular rice vinegar may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup scallions, sliced on the bias (approximately 3)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
- Cooked grain of choice (such as rice, farro or quinoa)
- Remove the tofu from its packaging and wrap in paper towels. For best texture and flavor results, you’ll want to remove as much excess water as possible. To do this, place the tofu between two plates and lay a can or book on top to create a gentle weight. Leave this setup in place for at least 30 minutes (see notes).
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Lightly grease with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Slice the tofu into approximately 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium-sized bowl, then toss with the cornstarch until evenly coated. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce and honey. Pour over the tofu and gently toss until evenly combined, then spread in a single layer over half the baking sheet.
- On the other half of the baking sheet, toss together the broccoli, olive oil, and garlic. Spread into a single layer and sprinkle with salt. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, gently stirring and flipping the tofu and broccoli midway through to ensure even caramelization on both sides, and to prevent the tofu from sticking to the pan.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, water, and vinegar. Place the cornstarch in a small bowl or ramekin and whisk in 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce, then add back to the bowl along with the brown sugar and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat while whisking, and continue cooking until the sauce has thickened. It will have a strong flavor; add a bit more water if desired to lessen the intensity (but keep in mind that the sauce is meant to be used sparingly).
- Serve the tofu and broccoli over cooked grain of your choice along with a drizzle of the sauce, some scallions and sesame seeds.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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