Easiest, tastiest, caramelized baked tofu recipe EVER

Not all tofu dishes are created equal!  A staple in vegan and vegetarian dishes alike, tofu can be a bland companion to your meal unless you know how to dress it up and prep it right :).  And the extra good news is that it is beyond easy to do this.  Read on my love.

Of course that’s why we are all here together, you and me, today. Cuz just look at that tofu below and tell you don’t want some of that atop your salad or sitting among the veggies in you stir fry-yep it compliments both nicely.

You can eat it hot or cold, so it’s a great one to make extra and keep on hand to add into salads and snacks.

And remember you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to have some delicious tofu in your life, perhaps you have a meat free day or just like some meat free options.

For sure if you’re trying to get someone to try tofu this is a great recipe to start with. It’s quick, easy and delicious, what’s not to love about that?

So we know what the end product looks like, but how do we turn pale, bland tofu into a crunchy, tasty delight? Keep reading my love, it’s likely way more simple than you might anticipate.

Crispy, delicious, caramelized baked tofu. Beyond easy to make.

Let’s talk different kinds of tofu.  First things first, let’s talk which kind of tofu to buy.  I personally prefer the very firm tofu that slices rather than the softer silken tofu that tends to fall apart.  The latter is most often found in the plastic boxes with a little water in them, and the firmer tofu is sold in a firm block in see through packaging.

I buy mine in bulk from Cash & Carry.  Wildwood is a brand often found in health food stores.  Hodo Soy is a Bay Area local brand for those in this area.  Perhaps there’s a local, organic brand in your area, you never know.

But know this about tofu before you buy.  And not just any old tofu will do. This is one of the food items that should always be organic. Why you might ask, and it would be a great question.

I always say information is power, and this is powerful information to know, so do take note.

In 2014, 94% of soybeans in the US were genetically modified, making them what is commonly known as GMO foods.

By now I hope we all realize that GMO foods are not proven safe for human consumption.  Note I do not say they are not safe, the truth is we really don’t know what GMO foods is doing for our health, so in the absence of knowing it can do us good, it seems logical to pass on the GMO foods.

I will be covering more on GMOs in later posts, but for now check out this article for a little more info.  Fortunately, organic tofu is available more and more, our local Cash & Carry and Costco both carry organic brands.  Safeway also has organic tofu but mostly the softer version in the boxes, not my preferred but who knows maybe it could be yours.

Experiment with the different textures, as long as they are organic-OK, I’ve driven that point home, but before moving on it is also worth noting before I get off my no GMO soapbox, that when you eat out at a restaurant, you will, in all likelihood, be eating GMO tofu, oil and sugar-one of the many reasons we do not eat out often.

Now we know which tofu to buy, let’s get to getting it all crunchy, colorful and tasty.

Freeze your tofu for a chewier result.  I like to freeze my tofu before cooking it.  Simply take it out of the packaging, take out excess moisture by dabbing with a cloth napkin, slice and place on a baking sheet.  Frozen tofu has a firmer, chewier texture to work with.  And it can be cooked from frozen, so it doesn’t need defrosting before cooking.

Note, you can also press the water out first, many swear by this step, and it is one that I used to do, but to be honest, the freezing (for me) does the trick so I skip the squeezing!

If you want to try pressing yours simply place tofu between two napkins and place a weighted plate or tray atop the covered tofu.  Like I said, I skip this step now but feel free to try it for yourself, you can then freeze the tofu.

Now don’t do what I did the first time and slice your tofu and put it into the container it will be frozen in.  You will end up with a sliced slab of frozen together slices!  This is often how we learn what we learn right?  I will always lay it out before freezing, I just didn’t think.

Get a baking tray and lay out slices before placing in the freezer.  Once frozen you can place slices in a freezer bag, or container, and they stay separated, ta da!

Ok ,we have our frozen tofu slices, and I as I already mentioned there is no need to defrost before cooking.  Just add some sauce and get them in the oven.  But what sauce Shiv?  Read on my l0ve, this is the super simple part.

Slice and freeze tofu for a chewier texture

Let’s sauce it up!

INGREDIENTS:
Sauce:

  • 1 tbsp organic ketchup*
    dash-1tsp siracha sauce, or 1/2 tsp chili flakes
    1/2 tsp tamari or soy sauce**
    !/2 tsp rice vinegar (optional)

    1 tsp organic sugar (we use coconut sugar), set aside

    10 slices tofu

  • Heat the oven to 425 degrees
  • In a small container mix the first 4 sauce ingredients, putting the sugar to the side
  • Very lightly coat an oven tray/pan with a little oil, just enough to create a film
  • Place the tofu slices onto the tray
  • Using the back of a teaspoon spread a little sauce onto the top of each slice
  • Sprinkle each slice lightly with the reserved sugar, saving half for the other side
  • Place in over for 18 minutes until crispy on top
  • Turn and repeat sauce and sugar
  • Bake for another 10-15 minutes until desired color and crunch
  • Remove from oven, slice into think slices or thick chunks and eat with salad or with your favorite hot dish
  • Refrigerate left over slices, they can eaten cold or reheated in the oven.  I like to have a slice for a snack when I am peckish but not ready for a meal.
    * Ketchup can have up 4g of sugar per teaspoon, choose a brand that has 2g or is sugar free
    **Tamari is gluten free soy sauce.  Whether you use tamari or soy sauce, opt for a low sodium version as even that is high, bit like the ketchup we don’t use much,

Before we go, a note about the sugar:  So yes, there is sugar in this recipe, both in the ketchup (see note) and the teaspoon used on top.  I use this recipe when I am wanting some really good comfort food.  If was to go to a restaurant and have some Thai food the sugar and salt would be off the charts, so no, I don’t eat this one all the time but I do eat it sometimes, isn’t that what life is all about, finding a way to enjoy and be in joy without being out of control?

And of course you can do what I do, leave the sugar off the top when it’s just for you and you don’t have a major craving going on.

I do hope you enjoy this one and that it gives you a tasty tofu option to add to your vegan recipe repertoire.

I will be back tomorrow with our favorite way to eat salad, I have a feeling it may become yours too, even for hungry man (or child) in your life.  Until then much love for me.

Alone we can do so much, together we can do so much more.

Sat nam

Shiv