Hello and welcome to your Monday! I made us the easiest marinated baked tofu bites ever.
File this one in your "things to make all the time" list of fave recipes.
This, my friends, is baked tofu. We make some version of tofu two or more times per week, and even more since both kids started eating solid foods. Jay and I both eat meat, but the meat in our food system is, let's say, dicey at best. We try to buy lots of local meat, and with that comes a higher food cost. SO, we offset that by eating vegetarian several days per week, so that when we do eat meat we feel good about it while not completely going broke on fancy groceries.
As a side note, the fact that local, responsibly sourced food is classified as "fancy" is a crying shame, and a huge problem. Like healthcare, my opinion is that healthy foods should not be something afforded only to certain tiers of society.
But, the fact is that non-sketch meats (and listen, we have plenty of food with questionable origins in this house) are expensive, and tofu is relatively cheap AND delicious AND my kids will eat it. This particular version gets a quick soy-based tofu marinade (think baked tofu teriyaki but with homemade sauce) and then is baked which I love because it means NO SPATTERING OIL THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Tofu is great because, while it's delicious hot and fresh, the quality and texture doesn't change all that much after a few days, so this is great for meal prep. I have been doing more and more faux meal prep, such as making baked tofu for dinner, making double, and using the leftovers for a salad or rice bowl later in the week.
Baked Tofu Bites
So THIS tofu. It gets a bath! In soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, and sesame oil. I keep all of these items on hand at all times and use them all the time in various Asian-style recipes.
Whisk the marinade together, then pour it over cubed tofu in a shallow dish. I use these 3-cup pyrex dishes which are perfect for one block of tofu. Let the tofu marinate for 30 minutes, or longer if you want to marinate the tofu earlier in the day.
Now, I save the marinade to use for sauces (since it's not meat why throw it away, right?), so I use a slotted spoon to transfer the tofu to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. It's not mandatory, but a nonstick surface helps make this dish even easier.
Tofu bakes at 425F for 15 minutes, just to firm it up a bit and get the edges crispy.
Done! This would be a great addition to cold ramen salad, served with packaged seaweed salad (I find it in tubs near not-great sushi in grocery stories) and rice, or over cabbage with the tofu marinade drizzled on top like a salad dressing.
In general, though, this is a fabulous all-purpose part of any vegetarian protein meal.
If I'm making this for rice bowls I simmer the sauce in a little pot while the tofu bakes to thicken it up - kind of a makeshift teriyaki sauce that is NOT gross at all.
Baked tofu all over your weekly menu - enjoy this!
Easy Baked Tofu
- 1 block tofu cut into cubes
- ¼ cup mirin
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- Whisk together the mirin, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a shallow dish. Add the tofu and marinate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 425F and transfer the tofu to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Reserve the marinade.
- Bake the tofu for 15 minutes until lightly crispy at the edges.
- Meanwhile, simmer the marinade in a small pot until reduced by about a third.
- Serve as desired. YES.